This instrument is part of our fifth annual Contemporary American Makers Exhibition, 2022
The viola is a copy of a viola made by Pelegrino Zanetto in Brescia ca 1580, in the possession of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and played at the moment by the Principal violist Teng Li
Michael Fischer was born and raised in the South of Germany. At the age of 18 Michael decided to learn the art of violin-making, which offered him a fulfilling mixture of craft, visual arts, and music.
He attended the Violin Making School in Mittenwald, Germany; and after graduating, continued on to London to make viola-da-gambas and baroque instruments for Dietrich Kessler at Withers. While in London he also worked for the internationally renowned Charles Beare, performing complex restorations and studying the many fine, old instruments in the Beare’s shop.
In the early 1980s Fischer moved to Los Angeles to work at Hans Weisshaar’s shop. In 1984 he opened his own shop with a concentration on restoring instruments. This year he celebrates his 36th year in business.
While restoring a severely damaged Mateo Gofriller violin built in 1697, he thought to make a copy of it “just for fun”. When the two violins were finished, he offered them together and to his surprise, most musicians preferred the sound of his copy.
Since then, he has made and sold nearly 300 copies of specific instruments, while also continuing the more traditional work of restorations and sale of fine old string instruments and bows. His instruments are played by professionals all over the world. He has received testimonials from some of the finest musicians and soloists, like Gil Shaham and Gidon Kremer, about the performance of his instruments.
American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers [AFVBM]
Entente Internationale des Maitres Luthiers et Archetiers D'Art [EILA]
Verband Deutscher Geigenbauer und Bogenmacher e.V. [VDG]