My Space: Jordi Pinto

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The luthier’s workshop in the centre of Barcelona has always been a family-run business

The Casa Parramon workshop is right in the centre of Barcelona, in one of the main shopping streets and around 300 metres from the Liceu opera house. The business was founded in 1897 by Ramon Parramon, and in 1909 he relocated to this building, where it’s been ever since. He died in 1961 by which time the workshop was being run by my grandfather. So it has always been a family-run business. Ramon Parramon was also a composer, and he made the instrument on the back wall; it looks like a small cello but is in fact a ‘viola-tenor’, which he invented himself. It was designed to be played like a cello with a very long endpin but it’s tuned like a viola. It became quite popular in Spain in the 1930s, partly because it was championed by Pablo Casals. A full 55 of these instruments were made at the workshop between 1932 and 1936, but after that came the Spanish Civil War, which caused a lot of changes in Spain’s cultural life, and the demand for viola-tenors disappeared. At that time, Casa Parramon refocused its work on repairs and restoration, which still makes up the vast majority of our work today…

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