Christopher Germain makes award-winning violins, violas, and cellos from his studio in Philadelphia, PA. Mr. Germain graduated from the Chicago School of Violin Making in 1985. From 1985 to 1991 he worked for the Chicago firms, Kenneth Warren & Son Ltd. and Bein and Fushi Inc., focusing on restorations of rare stringed instruments. In 1995, Mr. Germain was invited by legendary restorer Vahahn Nigogosian to be an instructor at the Oberlin Restoration Workshop. Mr. Germain became director of the VSA/Oberlin Violinmaker’s Workshop in 1997, which recently celebrated it’s 20th Anniversary.
Mr. Germain has served as the President of The American Federation of Violin and Bowmakers as well at The Violin Society of America and has also served on the Governing Boards of both organizations. In 2006, he organized The American Violin, a historical perspective on the history of violin making, which took place at The Library of Congress in Washington DC. He is co-author of The American Violin (2016 AFVBM). In addition, Mr. Germain is the author of numerous other articles, which have appeared in publications and scholarly journals, such as The Journal of The Violin Society of America, VSA Letters, The Strad magazine, Strings and others.
Mr. Germain is also a member of Entente Internationale Maitres Luthiers et Archetiers d’Art and has served as judge on numerous international violin making competitions, including The Violin Society of America International Competition, the International Triennale in Cremona, Italy, the China International Violinmaking Competition and others. He has lectured on violinmaking and demonstrated his craft at venues around the world.
A statement from Christopher
During the period between 1550-1750, the arts flourished in Europe. In Northern Italy, particularly in the city of Cremona, a group of violin making families with names you’ll recognize—Amati, Guarneri and Stradivari produced stringed instruments which over time have been considered the greatest from both a tonal and aesthetic point of view. For a long time, there has been speculation that these makers were in possession of a “secret” which enabled them to produce superior instruments to makers elsewhere. I think that the explanation of a single secret is too simplistic an explanation to account for the masterpieces which were produced during this time in Cremona. Perhaps a better explanation is that these makers were geniuses, who perfected their craft in an environment which fostered the arts. It must have been an exciting time to live and work in!
Today, we live in an equally exciting time! Technology has grown at an exponential pace and we have access to greater communication and information than ever before. While science may help to unravel much of the mysterious greatness of classic Italian violins, I feel that a greater understanding comes from a thorough and systematic study of the masterpieces themselves. Since I began my career as a violinmaker and restorer, I’ve worked on, studied and documented as many classic Italian stringed instruments as possible in order to produce a modern instrument with similar tonal and aesthetic characteristics to the great Cremonese instruments. In short, my goal is to make stringed instruments worthy of the title: Modern Classics.