The Lark Music team enjoyed glorious sunshine during a week in Prague, supporting the Venceslav Metelka Society’s fifth International Violin Making Competition.
After an invitation from client Jan Spidlen we were proud to be involved in the competition which required contestants to submit a completely new instrument modelled on an instrument by Antonio Stradivari.
The competitors also had 12 hours to carve a scroll during the competition at the Czech Museum of Music and we were told this task would usually take a week.
The competition was judged by a panel of professionals – Peter Beare, Patrick Robin and Silvio Levaggi – and the competitors also marked each other’s work.
Peter Beare explained that alongside the artistry and workmanship, the technical precision, quality of ground and varnish plus tonal quality were all be taken into consideration.
The judging panel gave lectures throughout the week and it was interesting to watch competitors hang on their every word, eager to learn.
The week was punctated with music including a lecture recital by violinist Jaroslav Svenceny who played on a Stradivari and a Guarneri violin. He also discussed the differences between the violins‘ tone and timbre.
Lark hosted a fabulous boat party where competition organiser Dalibor Bzirský and his folk band entertained guests. There was so much dancing and fun that it felt like a party full of old friends. We really enjoyed meeting existing clients and making new friends, too.
The final gala and prize-giving night featured a recital by Pavel Sporcl and the competition winner Piotr Pielaszek, 25, from Poznań in Poland, was announced. It was really quite moving to watch Pavel performing a Paganini Caprice on the winning violin.
The atmosphere was truly special and witnessing the friendship and support between competitors made the Lark team feel that the future of violin making is looking very bright!
The spirit of the competition was summed up by a newcomer to the competition, Maarten de Keukeleire, 23, from Ghent in Belgium who told me the competition was a ‘very big experience’ for him.
He said: “I am very new in the world of violin making but I really liked how everybody seemed to know everybody in this small world of luthiers.
“It was my first competition and it was the first Stradivari violin I have made. The competition was an experience about gaining new knowledge and meeting new people so I made many new friends, learned a lot and went home with a head full of new ideas.
“The way the competition was run is much more than winning or losing. It's more about winning knowledge and friendship which also made me a winner!”
Isabella, Gemma and Fay inspecting the competitors’ work
During the scroll competition carving