Born in Dublin in 1976, Brian’s passion in life has always been the violin. Initially, at age eight, he began studying classical violin but after three years transgressed to more traditional styles of music. Tutored and inspired by some great players and teachers around north County Dublin such as Antóin Mac Gabhann, Kathleen Smith and Brendan Lynch.
Lucky enough to have done various workshops and tutorials over the years with some of the greatest Traditional players such as Tommy Peoples and his daughter Siobhan, and the late great Francey Mooney.
After completing year one of a two year diploma in Traditional Irish Music in Falcarragh Co. Donegal in 1999 Brian decided that his skills as a carpenter fused with his intimate life long passion for playing the violin would be best put together by training to become a Luthier.
Brian enrolled in the Antonio Stradivari violin making school in Cremona, Northern Italy.
While attending the School he had the benefit of real hands-on experience working for other well-known master luthiers in the town of Cremona such as Giorgio Grisales and Marco Pedrezini, amongst others. On receiving his diploma from I.P.I.A.L.L in 2005 Brian later went on to work with and for other makers and restorers throughout Europe.
Brian was fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with some of the very best in the business and learned so much invaluable expertise from colleagues and friends such as Loeiz Honoré, well known for his fine Cellos and renowned for his instrument set-up. Brian was fortunate to have been given the opportunity to examine at first hand and up close some of the world’s finest, rarest and most beautiful instruments.
The following is a list of instruments, of which Brian was fortunate enough to have been given the chance to study carefully and take notes on;
- A Joffredus Cappa Saluzzo 1690.
- A Hannibal Fagnola Torino 1907
- A Giuseppe Pedrazzini fece a Milano 1907
- 2 (Guadagnini’s) one a Joanne’s Baptista, Piacentinus fecit Mediolani 1752.
- A Giovani Batista Guadagnini, Cello, chez Loeiz Honoré one afternoon in Cremona in 2012 (pictured above).
Brian’s own instruments are, not surprisingly, all very characteristic of the Italian school. They are all made entirely by hand, from start to finish. Brian uses the internal method of construction and a Spirit and Oil based varnish.
As a result of his absolute fluency and supreme proficiency in playing the violin from such a young age Brian has an intimate understanding of the importance of the extremely high level of attention to detail needed to optimize the sound and play-ability of any instrument and the absolute necessity of having the correct set-up, while at the same time also very importantly respecting the very soul of each individual instrument, as no two are alike.
Brian always respects and takes into account the players own wishes, expectations and individual requirements, Understanding the very strong and personal bonds players can have with their own instruments is vital in the process of creating or restoring any Instrument.