A talented violin maker, Gavin has brought a truly international skill and perspective to the Stringed Instrument Company. Originally from Cape Town, he trained at the Newark School of Violin Making. His ability and application won him a job with the long-established and highly regarded London firm of Edward Withers, where he worked for a number of years under Dietrich Kessler and Adam Whone, eventually heading the workshop team. Gavin arrived in Auckland in 2003. With over 30 years experience as a luthier, he has contributed hugely to our expertise in all areas of making, restoration and appraisal, including baroque set up.
Having trained as a professional violinist at the Auckland University Conservatorium of Music, Cath took up an apprenticeship as a violinmaker with The Stringed Instrument Company Ltd in 1977. She has also trained internationally, with Vahakn Nigogosian at Oberlin, and with restorer Christoph Gotting of Beares, London, in Australia. Cath’s specialty and passion is restoration work.
She has performed as a violinist, and also taught violin for many years, which means she brings experience and expertise from a variety of perspectives to her work at The Stringed Instrument Company Ltd.
Born and raised in France, Sylvie started playing violin at the age of 13. Her interest in violin making began two years later, when she was given an old broken family violin. In 1990, she enrolled at the A. Stradivari International Violin Making School in Cremona, Italy. During her studies, she worked for two years with renowned violin maker Daniele Ciaccio. In 1993 she met her partner Ricardo Perez, also a violin maker, and after taking a short-term position at Wilfred Hakoune’s bow workshop in Paris, they worked in Italy for another two years. She and Ricardo then established a successful workshop in Mexico, making new instruments for professional musicians. In 2004 she retrained as a yoga and meditation teacher, working in Mexico, Canada, Spain, and now New Zealand. Recently, she discovered the Stringed Instrument Company and, with her passion for stringed instruments reignited, has taken up a part-time position in our workshops. A multi-linguist, Sylvie speaks English, French, Italian and Spanish; she still plays violin from time to time, and is also learning to play Sarangi (Indian Violin).
Alex is a skilled and creative artist who began playing violin when she moved from Switzerland to New Zealand many years ago. She regularly performs with the Auckland Symphony Orchestra and has recently graduated with a Bachelor of Music from the University of Auckland. She also enjoys teaching violin, and playing chamber music, Tango and Gypsy fiddle. Alex is our office and sales manager, a role she is sharing with Bronte Heron.
Bronte joined the Stringed Instrument Company upon finishing her studies at art school, where she worked across many fields of practise with different materials before settling on her preferred mediums of performance, painting, drawing, writing and site-specific installation. Her musical background includes classical violin and acoustic guitar; she played with various orchestras and chamber music groups in her home region of Taranaki before moving to Auckland in 2013. She shares the front of house and office duties with Alex.
Marjorie masterminds the instrument hire renewal. She comes in two afternoons a week to send out hire reminder letters, and chase up any late payments! She’s also Cath’s mother…..
Alan is Cath’s husband and is also a director of the company. Coming from an international computer business background, it is his job to drag violinmakers into the 21st century and help them to adapt to modern technology.