For about two hundred years until the middle of the eighteenth century, workshops in the small northern Italian town of Cremona produced the violins and other string instruments which remain the most desirable in the world.
This lecture traces the story of that golden age, beginning with Andrea Amati in the 1560s, and following it through the generations to the death of Antonio Stradivari in 1737.
It will talk about the shape of the violin, the principles behind it, the methods used in its construction and the innovations made by successive makers before Stradivari brought the form to perfection. It will address the question of why techniques have been lost and whether they can ever be recovered.
It will introduce some of Cremona’s celebrated customers: not just the most famous violinists of their era, but also Galileo Galilei and royal patrons like Catherine de Medici, Queen of France. Illustrated with diagrams, with pictures of Cremona, people and violins, and with some recorded music.
Toby is an experienced lecturer and public speaker who has been accredited by The Arts Society since 2012.
His career began with Natural Sciences at Cambridge University, and he has been an investment banker, a management consultant, and spent five years as managing director of the publishing company founded by his grandfather, Faber and Faber, where he remains on the board.
He is also non-executive Chairman of its sister company, Faber Music, and a director of Liverpool University Press.
Toby has written three narrative histories: Stradivarius – Five Violins, One Cello, and a Genius; Faberge’s Eggs; and Faber & Faber – The Untold Story, as well as a novel, Close to the Edge. Of these, only the obvious one is published by the family firm.