First of the Konya makers of Hungary. Initially a photographer, then taught himself to make violins in the 1960s. Later studied in Cremona and was asked to make violins for the Menuhin School in the UK. Won various medals. His two sons, Istvan II (who later Italianised his name to Stefano Conia) and Lajos both became makers.
Mathias Albani is a fascinating and mysterious maker of the old Tyrolean school, whose influence on some of the greatest Italian luthiers should not be underestimated. His authenticated work is subtle and beautifully proportioned, with a varnish that is quite equal to the best of the Venetians. It owes nothing to Stainer, but much to the Amati, yet is still entirely personal and distinctive.
He was born in St Nikolaus in Kaltern, a village on the northern shore of the Kaltern lake in southern Tyrol 1621, but at some early stage moved a short distance north to Bozen. The region was at that time Austrian, and remained so until the end of the First World War. It is now Italian, and the towns have dual names; Kaltern is Caldaro in Italian, and Bozen is also known as Bolzano. It is a lushly forested area, with ample supplies of the tone wood which made the whole Tyrol such fertile ground for instrument makers in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. A little to the north of Bozen is Bressanone, the birthplace of Matteo Gofriller. Jacob Stainer's birthplace, Absam lies further north and Brescia is roughly an equal distance to the south. The link between these towns is the Brenner Pass, the most important trading link through the alps since Roman times.
Born to an artistic family in Los Angeles on January 30th, 1957, Gregg Alf is widely regarded as one of today’s leading violin makers. Musically inclined, he studied the violin as a child and made his first violin in 1975.
At age 19, he moved to Cremona, Italy where over eight years he graduated from the International Violinmaking School in Cremona and earned a growing reputation for his work. He returned to the USA in 1984 and with his friend, Joseph Curtin, founded the violinmaking studios of Curtin & Alf. From that collaboration grew ALF STUDIOS which continues to this day in Ann Arbor, Michigan.