Maison Bernard, the highest level of violin-making excellence
For more than a century and a half, the Maison Bernard has brought joy to its large clientele of professional and amateur musicians attracted by beautiful bowed instruments.
This Brussels-based family business, which specialises in the manufacture and repair of violins and is a preferred partner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition, has won the first international "Family is Sustainability" prize. Thanks to bow maker Pierre Guillaume and stringed instrument maker Jan Strick, the brand has become synonymous with excellence in the international music world.
It was in 1868, in Liège, that Nicolas Bernard, instrument repairer and music teacher, opened his workshop. He sent his three sons to study piano and violin in Paris. One of them, André, also deepened his knowledge of violin making and opened his own workshop in 1898. He in turn trained his son, Jacques, who left no descendants but became the mentor of Jan Strick, a young man from Limburg with a passion for archaeology and violins. In the '80s, Jan moved to the capital and set up the famous brand in Sablon, near the Brussels Conservatory, in collaboration with bow maker Pierre Guillaume.
Nowadays, 5% of violins are still made by hand, and a professional violin maker makes an average of a dozen stringed instruments per year. But in addition to its creative activity, the Maison Bernard also restores old violins such as this Stradivarius entrusted to it by an investment fund. The restoration took a year, but its current value is close to six million euros.