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Leo Aschauer Viola, 16 1/2 inch, Mittenwald, 1962

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This viola was made by Leo Aschauer especially for the great Philadelphia violin shop, William Moennig & Son, in 1962. Displaying excellent balance, with a clear, resonant and responsive tone. Confident, precise workmanship, with a pattern inspired by the model of Aegidius Kloz. One-piece maple back with narrow flame, cut on the quarter. The top is of straight-grained spruce of medium width grain. Varnish is red-orange over a golden ground. This viola can be considered a benchmark of the quality of Mittenwald violinmaking.

The connection between Aschauer and Moennig was far more than just a business relationship; William Moennig Jr., son of the founder, studied violinmaking in Mittenwald under Aschauer himself, who served as the director of the school for 37 years. In the years that followed, William Moennig & Son became known for importing the finest violin-family instruments the world had to offer, with Leo Auschaer’s at the top rank.

Price: $10,000

Size: 4/4

Tonal Profile:

Country of Origin

German Violin Making

The German Violin Making Tradition

As with most industries, the history of German violin making can be traced to the history of Germany itself, with its twists and turns of economic and social trends, influence of outsiders, emergence of new technologies, and access to natural resources and trade routes. Long-standing German traditions of high quality, efficient production processes and savvy evaluation of and response to market demands, combined to create a unique industry, with today's markets continuing to rely on the quality instruments produced in Germany long ago.

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Markneukirchen: The Center of Violin Making in Germany

In the Vogtland region of eastern Germany, on the Czech border, lies the town of Markneukirchen. Ideally situated in a region that abundantly provides the timber required for instrument making as well as the infrastructure for transportation and trade, Markneukirchen has enjoyed a prominent position as a center of fine craft as well as efficient production. With a legacy that goes back centuries, Markneukirchen today has a reputation for fine, handmade stringed instruments, and is called by many, "The Cremona of Germany".

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The Bavarian town of Mittenwald, in southern Germany, has been an important trade center for centuries because of geography – it is in a low lying valley in the northern Alps, conducive to transportation. In what would prove to be the key to Mittenwald's emergence as a center of violin making, Italian trade increased sharply through valley in the 17th century, enabling export of Mittenwald's fine carved statuary, and import of Italy's violins. By the latter 17th century, violin making was firmly established in Mittenwald, and was further bolstered by the emerging guild system.

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Explore the workshops of E.H. Roth, Heberlein and E.R. Schmidt.

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