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Jacob Saunders and violin restoration


Jacob Saunders was born in Nottingham, England, in 1959 to the musician Janet and the violin maker Wilfred Saunders. At 16, he made his first violin under his father's tutelage.

After his A levels he studied cello at the Royal Academy of Music in London from 1977 until 1979. In 1980 & 1981 he was an apprentice at the Cantonal Violin Making School in Brienz, Switzerland.


In 1981 he moved to Munich in Bavaria where he was employed, first by Hans Zunterer, then by Wolfgang Zunterer as a journeyman violin maker.  In 1983 he moved to Bremen, Germany, where he worked as a violin restorer in the Machold workshop under the direction of Roger Hargrave.

He moved to Austria in early 1986, where he first worked for several makers, notably Gerhard Neubauer and Hans Rombach.  A year later, he opened his own workshop in 1987 in Krems an der Donau.

In 1988 he took his violin making masters exam in Innsbruck and in 1995 he was appointed expert to the Austrian Law Courts for Stringed Instruments and their Bows.  At the beginning of 2008, he moved his workshop to Sankt Poelten.  Three years later, in march 2012, he moved again to Klosterneuburg.


Wilfred Saunders, Viola Maker †

Born 1927 in Nottingham, died 2004 also in Nottingham, he was a maker particularly renowned for his violas.  He worked for many years with the then foremost viola virtuoso, Lionel Tertis, who played a "Wilf" Tertis model viola during the last ten years of his career.

He left an oeuvre of 221 instruments, consisting of 52 violins, 164 violas and 5 celli.

In 1976 he won a silver medal at the Triennale in Cremona for one of his violas and in 2003 was awarded an MBE in the Queens New Years Honour list for his contribution to violin making.

Enquiries concerning his instruments or his estate should be addressed to Jacob Saunders, his son, in Austria.