About the Maker . . .

I was born in Hawaii in 1952 and came to Chicago in 1970 to attend the University of Chicago, graduating in 1974. During my years there I studied with Italian sculptor Virginio Ferrari and with musicologist Howard Brown. This combined interest in music and wood-sculpture led to my traveling to Cremona, Italy in 1976 to train at the Institute of Violin Making under Scarpini, Bulfari, Conia and Morassi.

I returned to Chicago in 1979 at the invitation of William Harris Lee to found and develop a violin-making workshop there. During my twelve years with Lee, I personally built more than 400 violins, violas and cellos, as well as training and supervising nearly twenty violin-makers from around the world. I was also privileged to bring into the shop such fine makers as Tetsuo Matsuda, Gary Garavaglia, Bernardo Gutterman, and Michael Darnton.

My location in Chicago also led me to a friendly association with world-class violin experts and dealers who have generously made their collections of great classical Italian instruments available to me for examination and study, as well as sharing their wealth of observation and knowledge. The continued growth in the quality of my work is due in large part to my growing understanding and appreciation of these magnificent antique Italian instruments.

Since 1992 I have worked independently in my own workshop on Chicago's North Side, focusing primarily on building cellos in response to growing demand from players and teachers. I have now completed more than 200 cellos, 275 violins, and almost 300 violas. The tone of my cellos meets with high praise from cellists and teachers around the world, including Alan Harris, Stephen Kates, Franz Helmerson, Hans Jorgen Jensen, Yehuda Hanani, Owen Carmen, Tanya Carey, Helga Winold, Richard Hirschl, and others. They are sought by students and professionals from Korea to Norway, and from Canada to Mexico.

When I am not busy with the family or at my workbench, my wife Holly and I play the violin in a traditional Cajun dance band, the Chicago Cajun Aces, playing centuries-old tunes and rhythms and singing traditional songs of life and love in the Louisiana Cajun French Language.

If you would like to try one of my instruments for yourself, please contact me via email  Will at whedbeeviolins.com 

For an interesting series of photos showing an instrument being built just as I build them, visit Darnton Violin's website at www.darntonviolins.com

Thank you for your interest in me and my work. I look forward to hearing from you, and hope you have enjoyed this website. Let me know what you think!



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Copyright 2001-2004 William Whedbee