INFO about the lectures and lecturers
Martin Shepherd (lute)
Bio: Martin Shepherd holds a Ph.D in Experimental Psychology from the University of York (1981), and worked for some time as a lecturer before becoming a full-time lutemaker in 1991. Having played the guitar since 1972, he changed to the lute in 1979. He made his first lute in 1982 while working as a postgraduate researcher at the University of Durham. He made several more lutes for his own use, then started to take commissions in 1989. In 1991 he gave up his academic career to make lutes full-time.
He has published articles on ornamentation in English lute music and various topics including tuning different temperaments and stringing. He is editor of the Complete Works of John Danyel for the Lute Society and contributes regularly to the music supplements in Lute News. He has played the lute professionally for many years, including solo recitals for the Lute Society and for the Lute Society of America in 2004. He is also an experienced lute teacher.
His lutes are played and enjoyed all over Europe, the United States and Asia. He is committed to making instruments, which follow historical models closely and continues to research museum instruments. He has a longstanding interest in historical stringing practices and continues to experiment in this field. His expertise as a player means his instruments are very carefully set up, as well as meeting his strict criteria for beauty and clarity of sound.
Lecture 1: Friday 18th 10.00h-12.00h: “Practical aspects of lutemaking”
I show all the stages of making a lute, discussing my own methods and some alternatives, and showing some of the features of lute construction, which are important but not commonly known.
Lecture 2: Friday 18th 13.30h-15.30h “Historical lutemaking and playing techniques”
Discusses historical use of proportions and barring patterns, stringing and fretting practices and playing techniques. How close are our practices to historical ones?
Bernard Michaud (tonewood)
Bio: Forestier d’origine, Bernard Michaud recherche aujourd’hui, les bois qui seront utilisés par les luthiers qui en feront violon, violoncelle, viole de gambe, guitare, clavecin …
Il a à cœur de toujours faire le chemin entre la forêt et l’établi du luthier : comprendre ce que cherche le luthier, comprendre ce que produit la forêt.
Spécialisé dans la préparation des bois européens, il parcourt les forêts du Jura, du Nord Est de la France, de Bosnie ou de la Roumanie, à la recherche de ces sujets d’exceptions, né il y a 2, 3, 4 siècles ou plus.
Gérant de la Sarl Le Bois de Lutherie, Bernard Michaud a commencé son chemin dans les forêts Jurassiennes comme bûcheron, principalement dans le Haut Jura : Risoux, forêts du Grandvaux, forêt du Massacre. C’est là, qu’il rencontre en 1987, André CAMUS puis Philippe BODART qui s’intéressent au bois de résonance. De ces rencontres, naîtra en 1992, l’entreprise aujourd’hui installée à Fertans, spécialisée dans le débit de bois pour la facture instrumentale.
Il propose depuis 2000, des stages de lutherie destinés aux amateurs qui souhaitent construire leur instrument sous la direction de luthiers professionnels. Il intervient en conférence auprès des forestiers, des luthiers, des étudiants pour faire avec eux une partie du chemin entre l’arbre et l’instrument de musique.
Lecture Friday 18th 16.00h-18.00h: Lecture topic Regarder les arbres pour le bois…// NOTE: This lecture is in FRENCH
Je ne suis pas un scientifique, ni même un luthier. Cependant, je suis intéressé par le bois de lutherie, car c’est le produit que je vends!
Je suis un bûcheron et un scieur. Je travaille spécifiquement pour les luthiers et quand je suis dans une forêt, je tente de localiser l’épicéa qui sera utilisable pour mes clients, facteurs de violons, guitares, et clavecins.
Dans les forêts européennes, je recherche aussi le bois d'érable ondé qui montrera les meilleures caractéristiques mécaniques.
Afin d'atteindre cet objectif, je me fie à mon expérience, mon sens de l'observation, mais aussi aux réactions de mes clients.
Interview avec Bernard Michaud sur www.laguitare.com (salon_de_la_guitare_a_la_bellevilloise_2015)
M. Carmen Martín (Old Wood Colours & Varnishes, Spain) Doctor in Chemical Engineering and Specialist in Coatings Technology by UCM, Madrid. Has been working in the coatings industry for 20 years and was introduced to the classical coatings for classical instruments in 2007. Is the Technical Manager of Old Wood Colours & Varnishes and has presented conferences about Classical Varnishes in Cremona (2013, 2014), has also given some lectures in collaboration with lutherie schools.
Lecture Saturday 19th 10.00h-12.00h / Topic: CLASSICAL OIL VARNISHING SYSTEMS - GROUNDS, VARNISHES, PIGMENTS -COMPONENTS AND FEATURES
A general review of Classical Oil Systems for varnishing classical stringed instruments: from the bare wood to the finished instrument, it is possible to use a wide range of products to both protect and color the wood, but also to enhance the instrument's beauty and quality. From the first step, to reach the optimum finish each product is essential. To know "how to" and "why" they use each product will improve the craftsmen's work.
Nicholas Sackman (violin)
Between 1990 and 2015 Nicholas Sackman was a member of academic staff at the Department of Music at the University of Nottingham, England. Having read Stewart Pollens’ 2010 book – Stradivari – he became intrigued by the controversy surrounding the ‘Messiah’ violin and this led to four years of research in libraries and institutions at Oxford, London, Paris, Milan, and Cremona. The book which resulted from this research, The ‘Messiah’ violin: a reliable history?, was published in 2015.
Lecture Saturday 19th 13.30h-15.30h : "The Messiah violen: a reliable history?”
In this invaluable and intriguing study, Sachman naviguates a clear path trought the complex and unrealiable history of the much admired 'Messiah' violin, examining a wide range of sources with a keen and critical eye, disentangling fact from legend and reopening the debate about the intrument's authenicity. Although he does not prove conclusively Stradivari's non-involvement in its construction, he casts sufficient doubts that will challenge curators and connoisseurs to revaluate the evidence and reconsider the views regarding the instrument's origins and dating.
Andreas Kilström (harpsichord)
Bio: Andreas Kilström built his first harpsichord at the age of 18. After having studied musicology and harpsichord playing he was employed as a curator at the Nydahl collection in Stockholm. The daily contact with some very fine ancient harpsichords lead him to a deepened study of the art of harpsichord making. In 1987 he formed Kilströms Klafvessinmakeri together with his wife, Ann-Christin. The mainstay of the Kilströms Klafvessinmakeri production has been ravalement Flemish-French harpsichords, but other models have been made as well, German, Italian and transitional English harpsichords. Andreas has also published articles on harpsichord and organ related subjects and lectured at the American Bach Society (1998) and Gent (2010). Andreas also works as an organist and is in charge of catholic services in Strängnäs cathedral. He gives recitals on the harpsichord and organ.
Lecture Saturday 19th 13.30h-15.30h:
Andreas Kilström will introduce us through the extroardinary world of decoration and regulation of early keyboard instruments. Which were the techniques the old masters used, how were they applied, which are the differences in course of time and many more questions and answers will be exchanged during this most interesting lecture. He invites us for a debate of a subject that needs to be addressed: 'is there a conflict between playability and preservation of instruments? Thanks to his many years' experience for example as the curator of the Nydahl collection of Stockholm and his vision as an early keyboard instrument builder, Andreas Kilström will guide us through.
Kilström will subdivide his lecture into three different topics:
First an introduction to the decoration of harpsichords, with a view to the techniques used by the old masters and the materials available to them. Can these same techniques be used today and is it advisable to do so.
Secondly the question of harpsichord regulation will be addressed. What constitutes a good harpsichord action and the means to achieve it. Andreas will give his views and invite to a discussion.
Finally Andreas will make an introduction to an open debate on an old controversy: Namely the conflict between conservation and playability of antique instruments. How do we balance between keeping the object as a means to study its many different aspects and its main purpose: To make music? As a former curator at the Nydahl collection in Stockholm, as a maker of and researcher into historical instruments and as a player he has given considerable thought to the subject.
Malcolm Rose studied at Trinity College of Music, London, and later worked with the harpsichord makers John Feldberg in Sevenoaks, GB. He set up his own workshop in 1976. He has mostly concentrated on harpsichords of the 16th and 17th centuries, making copies of the Trasuntino of 1531, the Theewes of 1579, and the anon. Paris 1667. The latest-dated instrument which he reproduces regularly is the Pierre Donzelague of 1711. Since 1981 he has made a large part of the world’s requirements for iron, brass and red brass strings for early keyboard instruments, including fortepianos.
In his talk he will focus the topic of soundboard thicknesses, referring both to historical examples and his own experience; he will also open a discussion on techniques for achieving them.
Thomas Munck (Gamba)
Bio: Thomas Munck is Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Glasgow, and long-standing amateur viol player. As a historian, he has worked on visual material for many years, has published on the historian's view of musical performance practice and instrument technology in pre-industrial Europe, and is Custodian of the British Viola da Gamba Picture Collection. He started making viol bridges 25 years ago, and has experimented with a wide range of bridge designs to suit different historically informed instrument designs.
Lecture Sunday 20th 10.00h-12.00h: “The historical iconography of the Viola da Gamba bridge, ca.1550-1730: can it help the instrument maker?”
This lecture will examine some of the pictorial evidence illustrating the kinds of bridges that may have been used on early viols, over different periods of time and in different cultural environments. This and other historical evidence will then be applied to the many variables in the design of actual bridges, taking into account what we know about the construction of the viols themselves before and after the introduction of the soundpost. The emphasis will be on pre-1660 instruments intended for use with historically appropriate strings (without metal windings), but reference will also be made to the late baroque French and German bass viols with overwound strings.
Shem Mackay (Gamba)
Bio: Shem Mackey has been making musical instruments for 25 years. He trained as a maker of early bowed instruments at the London College of Furniture. He is a founder member of the British Violin Making Association and founder editor of its newsletter. His research into instrument construction has been published in The Strad, Early Music and various publications of the BVMA and Viola da Gamba Society. He is much sought after as a maker and teacher, and has built instruments for many prominent performers throughout the world. In 2010 he completed a masters degree at London Metropolitan University with original research into viol construction and is a visiting tutor in viol making at West Dean College.
In 2014 he was recipient of the prestigious Fattorini award for excellence in craftsmanship.
Lecture Sunday 20th 13.30h-15.30h: ”An alternative methodology in viol construction based on primary sources and observation of original instruments”. Viol making in Europe experienced a hiatus in the late 18th century. During the following one hundred years the techniques unique to viol construction were lost. Upon its resumption in the late
19th century, viol makers borrowed heavily from other making traditions and produced working methods which continue to be used to the present day.
Using primary sources and evidence gathered from the study and observation of surviving viols, I will explain a methodology which can produce, in new viols, the character and idiosyncrasies so unique to original instruments.
Moderator: Dirk De Hertogh
Cross-over talk with the lecturers on instrument making.
The final lecture of the festival where the lecturers discuss their personal views on instrument making to see where the differences and similarities are between the different instrument types.