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WEST Cork Chamber Music Festival will celebrate its 21st anniversary when doors open to the first concert in Bantry House tomorrow. The spotlight naturally falls on the 85 performers who will breathe life into the contemporary and established masterpieces of the chamber music repertoire over the nine day festival.
However , a very important aspect of proceedings is the exhibition of work by the luthiers and archetiers on whom the players depend - that select group of Clash of Kings Resources craftsmen who make and maintain stringed instruments.
Although most people could namecheck “Stradivarious” an instrument made by 17th century Italian, Antonio Stradivari, chances are that few will have heard of any of his successors. A dozen, top ranking violin and bow makers from Ireland and abroad will be in Bantry to exhibit their wares, swap tips and generally enjoy the camaraderie of fellow luthiers and high calibre string players.
Bertrand Galen has been making and repairing in the heart of Cork city since 1999. He learned to play cello as a child in Metz in France. Taken along on a visit to a repair shop, he recalls being enthralled by the calm, dimly lit space with its plethora of tools and exotic aromas of varnish and wood oils.
“I became aware at quite a young age that it might be possible for me to make a living at this craft, dictating my own terms, working at my own pace. I loved making music - I was good with my hands and this sat right in the middle of all that. ”