Bernhard Kresse (Germany)
Lecture: Saturday, June 2 from 9:30am to 11:30am
The Viennese 19th century Guitar Making Tradition
Trained first as an architect, Bernhard Kresse later turned to making and restoring fine classical guitars - soon specializing in period 19th century guitars.
In the many years since becoming a luthier, Kresse has acquired an extensive knowledge of 19th century guitar making traditions - both by examining and restoring original instruments in his Cologne workshop which he established in 1985 and by conducting extensive research in museums and private collections throughout Europe.
Today an unusually large and impressive group of international artists perform and record on Bernhard Kresse's handcrafted instruments: Duo Arte en parte, Giampaolo Bandini, Frederic Benattar, Duo Bonfanti, Izhar Elias, Duo Ghiribizzo, Nicola Jappelli, Franz Halasz, Michael Koch, Ansgar Krause, Carsten Linck, Duo Melis, Johannes Möller, Paolo Pegoraro, Alvaro Pierri, Sonja Prunnbauer, Alexander Sergei Ramirez, Marco Schmidt, Isabel Siewers, Raphaella Smits, Paul Shigihara, Duo Sonare, Pavel Steidl, Alexander Swete, Benjamin Verdery, Adrian Walter, Brigitte Zaczek.
Bernhard Kresse writes:
In addition to conventional standard and reconditioning repairs I also carry out extensive restorations in my workshop. In most cases the aim of restoration is to provide a playable instrument for musicians. Depending on the condition and rarity of the instrument pure conservative work may be most important. This decision must be made with the owner before restoration. I see conservative work as making each step of the restoration reversible. Therefore it is of utmost importance to use only traditional soluble glutin-glues which have been used for centuries by violin makers. Another priority is the preservation of all parts of the instrument in their entirety including the varnish. The replacement of complete parts in case of destruction or worm damage is always the last and very worst option.
Due to the revival of classic and early romantic literature and interest in original performance practice, the instruments of this period are meeting with increasing interest. Besides famous names as Lacote and Stauffer you can find quite a few second best makers who built excellent instruments with a very high standard of acoustics and craftsmanship.
During the last 15 years I have restored a considerable number of instruments for customers from all around the worldwide. As a result, I am happy to say these instruments are being used now in concerts and on recordings. (Learn more).