Olympics of the violin makers

Cremona celebrates the 450. Birthday of Claudio Monteverdi. The story of the composer is closely interwoven with the stories of the greatest violin making families of the Italian city.

In Cremona the sky is full of violins. Telling a story about the city in Lombardy without mentioning the names Monteverdi and Stradivari in the same breath? Impossible! At 15. May 1567 Claudio Monteverdi is born in Cremona, the eldest son of Baldassare Monteverdi, a surgeon and barber. The father runs a small, modest business. Yet he still manages to give his two sons a musical education.

Claudio Monteverdi as the inventor of opera

Musically guided by the chapel master of Cremona Cathedral, Marc Antonio Ingegneri, Claudio Monteverdi finally leaves Cremona around 1590 and works as a viola player and singer in Mantua. To this day, Claudio Monteverdi is celebrated as the inventor of opera. His work "L'Orfeo from 1607 is considered in the music world as the starting point of the opera. A style of music that is quickly gaining popularity in Europe. In 18. and 19. In the 19th century, the music of the baroque composer fell into oblivion. But with the beginning of the 20. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Gian Francesco Malipiero brings the popular compositions of Claudio Monteverdi back to the attention of music lovers with the first edition of his complete works.

Monument to the 450. Birthday

In 2017, the city of Cremona sets a fine musical monument to its famous son. Concerts, exhibitions, conferences and many events are on the program for the Monteverdi Year until fall. Starting with the Monteverdi Festival from 5. May to 24. June. Also from May to October, there will be numerous concerts from the balcony of the Stradivari House. And in September, it will be followed by a Stradivari Festival.

Fine violins from Italy

The development of violin making in Cremona began about 400 years ago. Probably born in Cremona in 1644, there is no indication of where Antonio Stradivari ultimately learned his craft. However, there are theories that say that the master of violin making previously learned the profession of carpentry. Even in the master's lifetime, a Stradivarius violin stood as a mark of quality for a great-sounding instrument. To this day, some 150 Stradivari-style violin makers handcraft violins from the finest woods in the pretty alleyways of Cremonte's historic center. Many of the workshops can be visited.

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The best starting point is the main square in Cremona, the Piazza del Comune, with the Cathedral, the Baptistery, the Loggia dei Militi and the Palazzo Comunale. During a leisurely walk through the pretty alleys, visitors are often accompanied by music. Especially in the spring and summer, when many venues host open-air concerts. Or when the violin makers are tuning their violins. Interested parties can book a visit to the workshops through the Consorzio-Liutai.

In addition, the city of music is home to a music conservatory. Also the international school of violin making and the Ponchielli Theater with numerous singing and music schools.

The most beautiful violins from five centuries

In 2013, the "Museo del Violino" violin-making museum opened in Piazza Marconi its doors. On display are the most beautiful violins of five centuries, made under the direction of Andrea Amati and his successors Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri "del Gesù" among others were built.

Olympics of violin making

The "Olympics of violin making" is a speciality. Since 1976, the world's best violin makers have met in Cremona every three years. By the way, the next Olympics will take place already in 2018. German luthiers have consistently been among the winners in recent years. The Violinmaking Olympics are held at the Museo del Violino. In 2015, more than 460 string instruments were submitted from 34 nations. Among them 26 violin makers from Germany. A panel of ten judges evaluates both artistic craftsmanship and acoustic quality. Organizer is the "Fondazione Stradivari".

The brief history of Cremona shows once again that the city on the Po Valley is still a very attractive place to live in the 21st century. The eighteenth century continues to create an outstanding link between violin making and music.

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