Jacob Stainer, the "father of the German violin"
was born ca. 1617 the son of a Hall salt-miner. We know hardly anything about his childhood and youth.
It is assumed that he was a "choirboy", and then learned the carpentry trade, before moving to Italy, almost certainly Cremona − the centre of violin-making at the time − where he received a strong grounding in the required special skills.
He married in 1645 and set up a workshop in Absam. He supplied several instruments of excellent quality to the Innsbruck court, ruled at the time by the music and theatre-loving Archduke Ferdinand. He awarded Stainer the title of "servant of the Archduke"; Leopold I later upgraded him to "servant of the Emperor". By this time Stainer had already acquired a reputation as a superb violin-maker. He sold his sweet-sounding instruments to large monasteries and abbeys: to the court musicians and cathedral orchestras in Innsbruck, Munich, Salzburg, Kremsier (Olmütz), Brixen, Bolzano, Merano, even the Spanish Royal Court.
Stainer left behind no apprentices or pupils, because he wanted "to remain alone and without an heir or an apprentice, so that the art of violin-making would die with him and his violins would later be more highly regarded". However the art of violin-making has remained alive in our region. The Hall-based violin-maker, Arnold Posch, continues the tradition. If you take a guided tour of his studio, you will discover a great deal about craftsmanship and the history of violin-making.
Master violin-maker Arnold Posch
A-6060 Hall in Tirol
Tel: +43 (0)5223-54 290