I specialize in the construction of fine violins and violas for discriminating musicians. I’ve maintained my Seattle workshop for over 30 years where I provide services to both modern and baroque musical communities.
In my late 20’s, with college and a variety of endeavors behind me, I discovered violin making. Through the nexus of a keen musical ear, an aptitude for patience and precision when working with my hands, a steady curiosity of history and the methods and materials of historical craft, and the catalyst of a 4 year course of studies at the Violin Making School of America, a foundation for the work I love was formed. Upon graduation from the VMSA in 1983 I moved to New York City to work with William L. Monical and Son, where I expanded my understanding of bowed stringed instruments and developed skills in repair and restoration. Working with and studying the fine historical instruments passing through the Monical workshop concentrated my understanding and appreciation for violin making.
In 1987 I returned to Seattle to wed my wife and establish my workshop. I continue to study fine instruments and violin making techniques on my own initiative, collaboratively with colleagues, musicians, and through resources of the Oberlin Violin Makers Workshop and the Violin Society of America.
I build all of my instruments myself, adhering closely to traditional methods, materials and forms of the classical masters. My instruments are used by professional and amateur musicians across the US, Canada, Asia and Europe.
I draw from a large stock of fine aged tonewood acquired throughout my career, and I make my own varnish using natural resins and drying oils. By the very uniqueness of every piece of wood, each of my instruments has its own voice and subtle character, but all are built to a high professional standard, with obedient and even response, and a rich pallet of tonal colors. My instruments are often available for audition through one or more fine violin dealers in the US or directly through my Seattle workshop. I often work directly with musicians seeking specific physical or tonal requests. While the majority of my instruments are built and set up for modern performance practice, I have a special fondness for constructing baroque and classical violins and violas for members of the early music community.
After more than 35 years of violin making I continue to practice and improve my understanding of my craft. I have a love and passion for my work and expect to continue building fine violins and violas for many more years to come.
I welcome your interest in the work I love so dearly. Please be in touch.
David Van Zandt — (206) 478-9603