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16 April 2018Cremona and the golden age of violin making
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Cremona and the golden age of violin making Toby Faber Monday 16 April 2018

For about two hundred years until the middle of the eighteenth century, workshops in the small Northern Italian town of Cremona produced the violins and other string instruments which remain the most desirable in the world.

 This lecture traces the story of that golden age, beginning with Andrea Amati in the 1560s and following it through the generations to the death of Antonio Stradivari in 1737. It will talk about the shape of the violin, the principles behind it, the methods used in its construction and the innovations made by successive makers before Stradivari brought the form to perfection. It will address the question of why techniques have been lost and whether they can ever be recovered. And it will introduce some of Cremona’s celebrated customers: not just the most famous violinists of their era, but also Galileo Galilei and royal patrons like Catherine de Medici, Queen of France.

 Illustrated with diagrams, with pictures of Cremona, people and violins, and with some recorded music.

Toby has written two works of narrative history, Stradivarius and Fabergé's Eggs, published by Macmillan in the UK and Random House in the US, and given lectures associated with these two subjects at venues including The Victoria and Albert Museum, Bath Theatre, The Library of Congress and the Huntington Library, as well as a number of literary festivals. His career began with Natural Sciences at Cambridge and has been through investment banking, management consulting and five years as managing director of the publishing company founded by his grandfather, Faber and Faber, where he remains on the board. Is also non-executive Chairman of its sister company, Faber Music, a trustee of Yale University Press (UK) and a director of the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society.