B I O G R A P H I E S
Robin Aitchison developed a deep desire to become a luthier while learning to play the cello as a child. After working in engineering and business for ten years, he spent three years training at the Newark School of Violin Making, from which he graduated with Distinction in 1996. He then spent two years as Assistant Instrument Custodian at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he worked to maintain its renowned stringed instrument collection. At the Academy he benefitted as a maker from access to world class instruments and gained a profound insight into set-up and sound adjustment.
Robin now runs his own workshop in Ely, Cambridgeshire, where he makes cellos to commission. Robin also takes great pleasure in working on set-up and sound adjustment with cellists from the UK and throughout Europe.
Every summer he joins the renowned Violin Society of America workshop in Oberlin, Ohio where he and other luthiers share ideas and develop their expertise. Robin has appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme and on BBC and ITV television and radio news. He has also given pre-concert talks for the Academy of Ancient Music at the Wigmore Hall, London and West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge.
Sarah Mnatzaganian studied the cello as a child and read English at St Hugh’s College, Oxford and Byzantine History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. She has a genuine understanding of the aspirations and needs of cellists and works closely with Robin to provide customers with a considerate and comprehensive service.
IJmkje van der Werf is Robin and Sarah’s full time assistant in the workshop. She graduated from the Newark School of Violin Making in 2008 after studying musicology in the Netherlands. She regularly attends lutherie workshops and seminars and has had work experience in the workshops of Guust François, Helen Michetschläger and Matthew Wing. IJmkje also makes and repairs violins and violas in her own time.