My Space: Rainer W. Leonhardt

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A Mittenwald luthier with an almost 100-year family tradition

My grandfather set up the family business in Markneukirchen in 1926, and moved it to Mittenwald in 1950 after the Iron Curtain came down. He built this workshop in 1952, where we’ve been ever since. In 1968 he passed it on to my father Wilfried Leonhardt, who in turn passed it over to me in 1997. Now I work here with six other people, including my daughter Julia, who represents the fourth generation of instrument makers in our family. Things have changed a lot since I graduated from the Mittenwald Violin Making School in 1982 – in those days there were more than 20 luthiers in the town, but now it’s more like 6. The school still attracts dozens of students from all over the world, but I think it’s been years since someone born in Mittenwald studied there…

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