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Basil de Visser

For more than twenty years I have been making historical bows in my atelier situated in the heart of Amsterdam, my hometown. I began playing the violin at the age of 12, and later went on to study violin with Jaap Schröder at the Amsterdam Conservatoire. It was his beautiful Baroque violin playing which first sparked my interest in this wonderful instrument. After my graduation I spent three years studying Baroque violin with Lucy van Dael.

In 1988, I was invited to join the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in Toronto, Canada. It was there that I began making historical bows under the guidance of Stephen Marvin, who learnt the craft from the celebrated master bow maker William Salchow in New York. Two years later I returned to Amsterdam, where I now work as a bow maker and Baroque violinist.

Being an active Baroque violinist gives me the opportunity to test and fine-tune my bows in a professional context. So I am able to combine my knowledge and skills as a bow maker with my ‘hands-on’ expertise as a player. This enables me not only to reproduce the precise measurements of the original bow but also its exact response and ‘feel’. My musician colleagues also serve as an invaluable source of inspiration, information and feedback. I have had the good fortune to see and copy many interesting original bows owned by professional string players.

My bows are used by professional musicians active in the international early music scene, from Europe to the US and Japan.

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