Curriculum Vita
Roger Graham Hargrave
Born in Leeds, England, 19-01-1948


Roger Hargrave was born in Leeds England in 1948. He initially studied fine arts and for a time taught painting in English state schools. In the 1970’s he made harpsichords and spinets, before retraining as a violinmaker at the Newark school in England. From the Newark school he joined the workshop of W. E. Hill & Sons London, where he worked as a restorer of fine Italian instruments.

 In 1981 Hargrave moved to Bremen in Germany as manager of Geigenbau Machold’s workshop. At Machold’s he was responsible for assembling one of the largest and most distinguished teams of bowed stringed instrument restorers in the world.

 Although Roger Hargrave’s reputation was founded upon his ability to create instruments with exceptional tonal qualities, his work as a restorer of fine instruments has also given him a singular insight into the secrets of their aesthetic beauty. In 1986 he established his own business specialising in detailed reproductions and modern instruments inspired by the classical Italian tradition. For many years he has been recognised as one of the world’s leading copyists and he has won many awards, including a coveted gold medal at the International Triennale in Cremona, Italy. His instruments are played by some of the world’s leading professional musicians including many concert masters and several world renowned soloists.

 Quality violins begin and end with quality materials. Hargrave’s instruments are made from the finest selected materials. Much of his tone wood stock is over 100 years old; some is more than twice that age. Every instrument is mounted with the finest handmade boxwood or ebony fittings. His fingerboards are of premium quality aged ebony, which although expensive resists ware far longer than the inferior stained woods that are available today. During the working process all of these materials are constantly subjected to quality controls. They are worked with all the tradition and experience that Hargrave’s almost forty years in the business can muster, however Hargrave does not neglect the various possibilities proffered by modern scientific equipment. 

 Since the mid 1980’s Hargrave has been much in demand as a judge and lecturer at international violin conventions. For more than twenty-five years he has been a regular contributor to the ‘Strad’ magazine. In the early 1980’s he instigated the famous series of ‘Strad Posters’ and has been involved in their production ever since. Hargrave has published numerous books and articles dealing with the history and working methods of the classical Italian violin makers.

 In 1994 Hargrave was instrumental in organising an exhibition of works by the Cremonese maker Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu, which was staged at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Following this exhibition two volumes on the life and works of Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu were published in 1998. These books are lavishly furnished with technical and explanatory drawings by Hargrave, and together with his dissertation on the stylistic development of Guarneri del Gesu and his reconstruction of the masters working methods, they form a major part of this definitive work. Much of Hargrave's contribution has been reproduced on this web site. (See ‘Library’) Hargrave is now recognised as the leading authority on the construction of classical Cremonese violins and baroque instruments have become an important element of his production. Apart from his day to day instrument making, Hargrave is writing a comprehensive work about the violinmakers of the Cremonese school. Unfortunately since the turn of the century Hargrave’s making and academic work have left no time for instrument restoration.


Membership: Entante Internationale Des Maitres Luithiers Et Archetiers D'Art.
(Internationale Vereinigung der Geigenbau und Bogenbaumacher-Meister). EILA.
British Violin Makers Association. BVMA.
Violin Society of America. VSA.
Verband Deutscher Geigen und Bogenbaumeister VDG.
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Violin-maker Roger Graham Hargrave, Entenfang 18, 28790 Schwanewede; Tel.:04209/2591 Fax 04209/2591
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