Meet the Workshop Team
The Cambridge Violin Makers began life in 1960 as evening classes at the Cambridgeshire College of Arts & Technology. In 1973 one week courses were started; in 1986 activities outgrew the college facilities, and The Violin Workshop was created on the premises it resides at to this day.
All our instructors are independent professional craftsmen and many of them have been teaching the courses for several years; one or two started their careers in the classes. With a 7:1 average pupil to teacher ratio, the instructors are able to provide students with substantial individual attention.
Juliet Barker (1934-2022)
Juliet Barker was the founder of the workshop and is very missed by all of us. She bowed out in the summer of 2022 and is now looking after the stringed instruments in heaven. Despite no longer being with us she will always have pride of place on our website.
Having trained in violin making at the Bavarian State School in Mittenwald, Germany, Juliet returned to Cambridge in 1956 and set up as Cambridge's first independent violin maker. In 1960 she was approached by the director of the Cambridge College of Arts & Technology (now Anglia Polytechnic University) to run an evening class in violin making. By 1986, the classes had expanded to such a degree that new premises were required, so The Workshop was founded by Juliet as a permanent home for the Cambridge Violin Makers.
Juliet officially retired from teaching in 2005 although she still contributed an awful lot to classes through her great passion for instrument making until the last few years of her life. She specialised in the making of violas and small size instruments, and was a keen player of the viola, especially in chamber music. In 2006 she was awarded an MBE for services to music and violin making.
Trained in Violin Making with Juliet Barker, his mother, completing his apprenticeship in 1993, and now the full time owner and manager of The Workshop. Outside of his teaching commitments at The Workshop, Chris specialises in the repair and set up of cellos but is also very happy to work on and repair violins, violas and basses as well as the occasional simple guitar repair. Over the years in his spare time he has made guitars and has been a keen musician, playing cello, guitar, keyboards and bass. In the past he has written and recorded a variety of material. In the past he also played for and then ran a local Sunday League football club. In more recent times he now spends his time building model railways and is a very keen amateur photographer - he has a Flickr page where some of his photography can be seen.
Nicole joined the workshop in the autumn of 2014 having graduated from the Newark school of violin making. She has joined primarily to help with teaching but also carries out repairs and restorations for the workshop. She is a fantastic violinist playing a variety of styles including classical, folk, jazz and blues. She plays in a band, Morganway, who have been well received by the public and reviewers, a rare combination indeed!
Marina Castellanos Rubio
Marina joined the workshop team in August 2019 after completing the course at Newark. She will be teaching classes and repairing and restoring violins and violas. She is a very good violinist having previously taught the violin before training to become a luthier.