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Asia an Extraordinary Market For Violin Investment (Bloomberg Radio)

Steven Smith, Managing Director, John & Arthur Beare and Jonathan Moulds, long term violin collector, joined Juliette Saly and Doug Krizner on Daybreak Asia. They take a dive into the world of investing in violins, discussing what makes an instrument valuable and the lack of volatility in the market.

Running time 07:52

Violin Project at International Musicians Seminar Prussia Cove

At IMS Prussia Cove the violin made by renowned luthiers and friends of J&A Beare, Stefan-Peter Greiner and Mark Jennings, in collaboration with the talented musicians in residence, was finally completed. On Sunday 24th September it made its concert debut in the expert hands of James Clark, playing at the Open Chamber Music Concert in Penryn.
Here’s a chance to re-trace the steps of this fascinating 13-day project and read what James had to say about it all.

DAY 13 : Concert debut

STRINGS Magazine: A Neighborhood Stroll

String-Instrument Resources within Walking Distance of my London Home

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Mark Robinson at J & A Beare

…”John & Arthur Beare is at No. 30, a late-Georgian building like most of the others on the block. The front door—like the prime minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street—is jet black. This lends it a particular gravitas, further enhanced by an equally distinguished metal name plate. Step inside, and if it’s a rehair, repair, or quick consultation you’re after, you’ll transact your business in the main reception area. (The repair work is done in busy workshops on the second and third floors of the building.)

But should you be in search of an instrument, continue up to the graceful second-floor showroom, with its red oriental carpets, fireplace, high windows, and wall of violins, violas, and cellos. It’s a room that speaks of tradition, and indeed J&A Beare, or Beare’s as it’s usually known, has been in business since 1892.

These days, Beare’s is run by Simon Morris and Steven Smith, who first met each other in the National Youth Symphony of Great Britain. Many years later, their violin-dealing business, Morris & Smith, merged with Beare’s and in 2012, they took the helm as joint managing directors. That year Beare’s also sold the “Vieuxtemps” Guarneri del Gesù for over $16 million, a record for a private sale.

Morris traces Beare’s history for me, describing how the shop had been on Broadwick Street in Soho for decades, but the steady transformation of Soho into a dining and nightlife destination curtailed walk-in traffic and upped the rent. In 2000, Beare’s relocated to the more spacious building on Queen Anne Street, taking with them a reputation for expertise in valuing and selling instruments at the top end of the market. As Morris notes, the job of valuing and certifying instruments is made easier by the fact that “Beare’s has records going back decades.”…

W. E. Hill and Sons

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Since 1762, the name Hill has represented a combination of craftsmanship and the highest standards of expertise that the firm continues to offer, with a long and distinguished history of instrument and bow making.

The owners and directors of W. E. Hill & Sons – Simon Morris, Steven Smith, Stefan-Peter Greiner, Derek Wilson, and Robert Brewer Young – have broad experience in expertise, appraisal, violin and bow making, restoration, and conservation.

The year 2018 marked the return of W. E. Hill & Sons to London. The new workshop is located in the historic coach house and stables of Burgh House in Hampstead, London, which dates back to 1704.

Using the resources provided by the Hill archive, access to rare instruments and centuries of experience allows W. E. Hill & Sons to provide the music world with the finest instruments, bows, and accessories.

All enquiries about W. E. Hill and Sons should be addressed to:

‘Fiddle Sticks’ exhibition opened this weekend

After the launch of the book “The Hill Bow Makers: 1880 – 1962” earlier this year, Beare’s bow restorer Derek Wilson and co-author John Milnes opened their ‘Fiddle Sticks’ exhibition in Oxford this weekend. The exhibition focuses on the story of bow making at the Hill firm and even features a recreated workshop space.


Bows at W.E. Hill & Sons

The firm was founded by William Ebsworth Hill, whose father, grandfather and great-grandfather had made violins, violas and cellos in London since around 1750. Four of William’s sons, Arthur, Alfred, William and Walter, joined their father in the family firm.

For nearly a century the Hill firm had London showrooms in New Bond Street, where the world’s musicians came to buy and sell historic instruments and bows by the great Italian, French and English makers.

The Hills also built a large workshop in Hanwell (Ealing), in West London, to make new instruments, bows and accessories. Eventually the firm employed up to 50 people in the two establishments.

This exhibition focuses on their success as bow makers in the period 1880-1962 and features their most influential bow maker: William Charles Retford (1875-1970).


The exhibition is open from 3rd – 30th September 2016 at Bate Collection, OXFORD OX1 1DB.

'Fiddle sticks' exhibition

Child Prodigy Alma Deutscher plays Carlo Bergonzi violin from Beare’s

There was more filming at Beare’s this week, this time for the BBC’s The One Show featuring child prodigy, composer, pianist and violinist, Alma Deutscher! We are delighted to be lending Alma a fine Carlo Bergonzi violin for her upcoming concert at The Henley Festival, having previously loaned her a Landolfi through the Beare’s International Violin Society.

2CELLOS borrow cellos by Stradivari and Amati for their upcoming album!

We were delighted to welcome the 2CELLOS to Beare’s last week for a tour of our workshops and to try out a selection of our finest Italian cellos in preparation for their new album with the London Symphony Orchestra.

After choosing to perform on cellos by Stradivari and Amati, they headed off to their recording at AIR Studios with conductor Robin Smith and the LSO in full force. Looking forward to hearing the album!

Timothy Ridout becomes 2016 YCAT Artist

Congratulations to Timothy Ridout for becoming a 2016 YCAT Artist and giving a wonderful performance at the Wigmore Hall last week on a fine Zanetto viola, loaned to him through the Beare’s International Violin Society.

He is pictured below with our Managing Director Steven Smith and one of our luthiers, Andrea Ortona as they made some final sound adjustments prior to his performance.

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PRESS: Benefiting from fine instruments – a partnership with Kronberg Academy

J & A Beare sponsors the Menuhin Competition London 2016

Many congratulations to all of the participants and prize winners in this year’s Menuhin Competition!

J & A Beare was delighted to be a Festival Partner of the competition in its centenary year, facilitating the loans of two Golden Period Stradivari violins.

Ziyu He, 16, from China was the young talented violinist to win the First Prize of the Senior Section. He was presented with the 1715 ‘Schneiderhan’ Stradivari violin, on loan for one year from a generous Patron of the Beare’s International Violin Society. In addition he will receive £10,000 and will be rewarded with a number of important European performance opportunities. Find out more about the violin here in our recent video with Maxim Vengerov.

As part of a brand new prize for outstanding potential, 13-year-old American/Japanese violinist and Junior Competitor Kevin Miura will also be loaned a Golden Period Stradivari violin for 18 months. The loan was made possible by the generosity of Jonathan Moulds CBE from the Jonathan Moulds Collection and was also facilitated by the Beare’s International Violin Society.

A number of participants from the competition joined us one morning for breakfast and the chance to play some great Cremonese and Venetian instruments by Stradivari, Guarneri and others. After a talk by one of our luthiers, Alexandre Valois, some of the young participants played on four Stradivari violins for some impromptu quartets.

We were also delighted to welcome the 2016 jury to our shop one evening for a small reception and the opportunity to view and play a selection of fine instruments.

For the full list of Prize Winners, please visit The next Menuhin Competition London 2016 will take place in Geneva from 12-22 April 2018.