Our shop in London has its own workshop of highly-skilled craftsmen, employed to restore and repair the wide range of instruments we have for sale or have already sold. Our luthiers are recruited from some of the top violin-making schools across the world, with knowledge acquired from years of experience transmitted from generation to generation in a culture of apprenticeship.
Beare’s restorers and luthiers are internationally recognised for their expertise in restoring fine old violins, violas, cellos and bows (generally in preparation for sale). They also produce a limited number of exceptional new instruments, either to their own design or modelled on the work of the great Italian violin-makers. As part of Beare’s service to their customers, the workshop also maintains and repairs instruments that they have already sold, many of which are played in the world’s greatest concert halls.
The luthiers working in the workshop today have been repairing instruments and bows for many years: on average each one of them has worked at Beare’s for over 13 years. This makes for a collective working age of over 100 years but, in truth, the expertise has been accumulating since the workshop’s origins in 1892. With so much heritage and tradition to draw on, our luthiers pride themselves on passing on their knowledge from one generation to the next and spend a considerable amount of time imparting their expertise when welcoming new members. This way we carefully ensure that the experience from our past is carried through into the future.
Gilbert Cox started working at Beare’s bow department in 2004 and graduated from the Newark School of Violin Making. Alongside restoring and repairing bows at J & A Beare, Gilbert has run courses on violin making across the UK and has his own workshop in Brighton.
After studying violin making at Newark School, Gordon began his career in New York. He has worked for J & A Beare Managing Directors, Simon Morris and Steven Smith for nearly 25 years.
Rebekka studied at the Mittenwald School of Violin Making in Southern Germany before spending nearly 9 years working in different workshops in both Switzerland and the UK restoring and making instruments. In 2012 she took her Master’s exam in Brienz (CH) and subsequently joined J & A Beare in 2015.
Andrea Ortona has been violin maker and restorer for 30 years and began working at J & A Beare in 2010. Having trained at the Violin Making School of Cremona, he opened a workshop in Venice and now has a workshop in Oxford. He has lectured and run workshops in Italy, Austria and UK.
Beginning his career at the Newark School of Violin Making, first as a student and then as a teacher, Mark joined J & A Beare in April 1992. Alongside violin making and restoring, he has taught regularly at institutions such as the West Dean College and has written for the Strad Magazine.
Elaine learned violin making at Newark School from 1993-96. While setting up her own workshop in London, she worked for a while with Morris & Smith and taught at the Cambridge Violin Workshop. Elaine joined J & A Beare in 1997 to work in the bow department. She is a member of the Rowan Armour Brown Trust, a charity supporting student violinmakers in the UK.
Graduating from the Newark School of Violin Making in 2007, Alexandre has since worked as a restorer for many fine shops and auction houses. He joined J & A Beare in 2014.
Derek has worked in the bow workshop at J & A Beare since 2000 but began his career at W.E. Hill & Sons from the age of 16. He has taught on professional development courses in Toronto, Canada and West Dean College. He recently co-authored the book The Hill Bow Makers with John Milnes (2016), and with Tim Baker wrote the bow chapter in Musical Instruments in the Ashmolean Museum (2011).