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 in Australia with restorer Christoph Gotting of Beares, London. Cath’s specialty and passion is restoration work.
She has performed extensively as a violinist and fiddle player, in genres ranging from early music and classical through to bluegrass and country to swing jazz. As a result, she has wide experience of electrifying stringed instruments. She 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).
Originally hailing from Switzerland, Pascal started the 4 year apprenticeship at the National Violin Making School in Brienz at 16. Finishing the apprenticeship with a diploma, he travelled to New Zealand in 1997 to start a fulltime position working for Adrian Studer Violins in Nelson. He has worked for The Stringed instrument Co in 1997, 2003, 2019, and from February 2020 he’s back again working for SIC. His circus career has taken him all over New Zealand and Europe, with 7 consecutive years at WOW a highlight.
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.