I was born in 1971 in Waldbroel, Germany, amid a landscape filled with valleys, woods, rivers, and lakes. At the same time, this area is located in one of the oldest industrial regions in Europe, and this contrast has always fascinated me. I was then, and still am just as excited about craftsmanship and precision, to a thousandth of a millimeter. I was trained as a mold maker for the tool and die industry and, as extensive as that course of study is, it still only left me partially satisfied. While my enthusiasm for occupational precision was rather intellectual, my passion for wood was, and still is an emotional undertaking for me.
It’s wonderful to be at work and feel the strength and the resistance of the wood, but also its pliability and suppleness. Wood has a natural beauty; it feels good, it smells good, and its resonance is warm and welcoming. I don’t know of any other objects, whose attributes are so distinctly embodied the way stringed instruments are. The cello, in particular, with its robust tone, its size and strength, and it’s still distinct melodious agility has invariably struck a chord in me. I therefore learned the craft of violin making with the focal point specializing in cellos in the region where I’m from, and in Mittenwald, Germany.
In a sense, I’m still a mold maker today because the work I do on every new line of instruments begins with the accurate design of the body. In turn, I intuitively carve out the detailed elements of the cello by hand from naturally grown material, which I select in advance with the greatest care. With every endeavor, I fit the top, the back, the ribs, and the neck together to build an instrument which should satisfy even the highest standards. As a luthier, I ultimately even want to be like one of the instruments of the master builders; and with time, I’ll just get better and better.
picture: Ingo Kasten