Violin making at Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music – The Strad

Gao Tontong teaching a student

The following extract is from The Strad’s July issue feature on violin making schools in China. To read it in full, click here to subscribe and login. The July 2021 digital magazine and print edition are on sale now

Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music (CCOM) established its violin making and research degree programme in 1989. It now boasts 49 violin making students and more than 10 resident teachers, with 6 to 8 new students recruited every year. They can enrol from the age of 15 and the course can last for 10 years if they stay on for graduate study. CCOM offers three different areas of study: violin making, bow making and violin restoration, although other modules include: violin maintenance; varnishing; acoustics; draft drawing; the history of stringed instruments; wood science; and instrumental playing. All lutherie students are required to be able to play a stringed instrument to a reasonably high standard, and the entrance exam assesses their ability to make a violin head, carve a plate, or something else related to the craft.

Read: Violin making at Xinghai Conservatory of Music

Read: Violin making schools in China: The way of the future

CCOM’s Violin Making and Research Centre provides all students with the wood they need to make their own violin, which will be kept and collected by the conservatoire. As deputy director Gao Tongtong states: ‘Those instruments