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Florian
Leonhard
Fine Violins

Violin Maker, Expert & Restorer

Video

Biography

Florian Leonhard is considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on Italian stringed instruments. As such, he acts as specialist consultant to many leading soloists (including Maxim Vengerov, Leonidas Kavakos, Julian Rachlin, Nicola Benedetti, and Natalie Clein), orchestras (such as the London Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, Tonhalle, Concertgebouw, and Berlin Philharmonic), and financial institutions. He also sits as jury member for numerous international competitions including the Wieniawski, and is a Board Member of the Philharmonia Trust.

Working with W E Hill and Sons in London during the 1980s, Florian was rapidly able to hone his restoration skills under Hill’s uncompromising methodology, ultimately as Head Restorer, constantly studying fine authentic examples.

In 1995, he established his own company, which quickly developed a strong reputation for expertise, restoration and authentication. The wide-ranging instruments offered to clients are rigorously chosen for their sound, authenticity and condition, and the “superb selection, service and integrity” (Daniel Hope) have strongly established Florian Leonhard Fine Violins as one of the world’s top dealerships of fine string instruments.

Reviews

The world’s leading expert.
- The Telegraph
The world authority on fine violins.
- Financial Times
A violin expert should respect the instruments, and honour both the makers for whom the instrument is the essence of their art, and the musicians who use them as an expression of their soul.  He also has to have the eye and instinct to guide and advise.  Florian Leonhard is one of the very few in the world who fulfils this profile.
- Leonidas Kavakos
 (solo violinist)
Thanks to Florian’s restoration and fine tuning, my Stradivarius has a more developed and focused bass…it is more responsive and powerful, allowing me to achieve the optimum sound.
- Maxim Vengerov
 (solo violinist)
Florian Leonhard Fine Violins offered superb selection, service and integrity throughout the process of choosing my instrument.  In the complex and unusual world of fine violins, it can be daunting for a performer in search of the ideal instrument.  Florian not only found my Del Gesù for me, but facilitated the process of acquisition greatly.
- Daniel Hope
 (solo violinist)
For me a violin becomes a fine violin when it projects a sound full of character and colour, has its own personality but allows the player’s style to emerge properly, and of course it must be adjusted in such a way that it can provide those characteristics in the long term.  Florian Leonhard has the rare ability to understand the needs of the musician and the instrument equally, and to serve both to achieve the perfect match.
- Guy Braunstein
 (Former Concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic)

True Copies

Florian Leonhard Fine Violins take an expertise-led approach to their violins. The very same processes used in their authentication and restoration are applied to the process of making. Over several decades, their processes have been refined to a point where it can take an internal ‘Florian Leonhard’ brand mark to tell the difference between our copy and the original.

The level of precision and accuracy applied throughout the making process sets Florian Leonhard’s True Copies apart. Rather than referring only to photographs and measurements, their makers have the original instruments to hand. This allows an unrivalled degree of study, and results in a copy which closely matches the original in appearance, character and sound.

Instruments made by the Old Italian Masters are some of the most sought-after in the world. Florian Leonard has spent years studying these instruments, and has perfected the craft of new making to the point that distinguished soloists have commented on how much Florian’s violins sound and feel like the originals to play.

The selection of materials is a rigorous process. Florian’s team travel far and wide in search of the perfect wood; not only must it have certain aesthetic properties, but also the optimal qualities in terms of density, weight, strength and flexibility. Decades of experience guides them in making the crucial decision when it comes to choosing the right wood.

Decades of experience in violin expertise, making and restoration have informed Florian Leonhard Fine Violins’ new making, and this is likewise a discipline in which they are absolutely uncompromising. Though not designed to deceive (clearly marked internally as copy instruments), these True Copy violins are regularly mistaken for the originals by both musicians and experts! However, their highest accolade is that distinguished soloists have commented how much these violins sound and feel like the originals to play – reflecting the care and attention to detail that goes into the new making of True Copies at Florian Leonhard Fine Violins.

Some of the True Copies available to order to date include:

Gasparo Da Salò, Brescia, c1580 (viola)
Antonius and Hieronymus Amati, Cremona 1629
Stradivari ‘Falmouth’, Cremona 1692
Stradivari ‘Wieniawski’, Cremona 1717
Stradivari ‘Rieffenberg’, Cremona 1717
Stradivari ‘Marlboro’, Cremona 1718
Stradivari ‘Abergavenny’, Cremona 1724
Stradivari ‘Kreutzer’, Cremona 1727
Guarneri del Gesù ‘Ricci’, Cremona 1734
Guarneri del Gesù ‘Lipinski’, Cremona 1742
Guadagnini ‘Ex-Kavakos’, Turin 1785

For further information, please contact Alexandra Knight.

Photos

Antiques & Other Services

Antique Instruments
With a constantly expanding stock, from high quality German and French instruments to the very finest examples of Stradivari and Guarneri ‘Del Gesù’, Florian Leonhard Fine Violins offers extensive options at every level. The limited number of high-end instruments available in the world means the demand is constant, and Florian Leonhard Fine Violins take pride in their ability to deliver outstanding violins, violas and cellos of superb all-round quality to their clients at all times.

Exceptional Services
Florian Leonhard Fine Violins offers a variety of services as part of its role in the acquisition and care of fine stringed instruments and bows. These include providing expertise; consulting with respect to condition, authenticity and historical significance; restoration, repair and sales. The impeccable service they offer to their customers also includes regular inspections, necessary adjustments and re-valuation of instruments.

Certificates & Valuations
Florian Leonhard Fine Violins provides an authentication and valuation service recognised worldwide by all major institutions. Their Certificate of Authenticity accompanies all of their instruments. Also provided is a valuation service which is informed by the most accurate and current data collected from across the entire spectrum of violin markets, including those in North America and the Far East. The research carried out by the company has been utilised as benchmark information in articles by Bloomberg, The Times, the Financial Times and The Economist.

Restoration
Florian Leonhard Fine Violins boasts one of the world’s few large-scale restoration workshops. Florian Leonhard leads a team of specialist restorers, applying techniques finessed over centuries to preserve and restore instruments in the most conservative manner. The company’s restoration practices are of the highest quality, precision and craftsmanship. Florian’s expertise in fine violins allows the workshop to restore instruments down to the smallest detail in the precise style of any given maker.