From his workshop in the Orkney Islands in northern Scotland, Colin Tulloch creates violins and violas which, although firmly rooted in the Italian Cremonese style, have a distinctly Orcadian spirit. Colin's instruments have found their way to all corners of the world and are enjoyed by musicians for their rich, full-bodied and even tone. The unique clarity and intensity of sound of Colin's instruments has become a trademark of his exceptional workmanship, with his elegant Cremonese-inspired design and meticulous construction ensuring the perfect combination of beauty and reliability.
Colin Tulloch has been making violins and violas since 1994. After leaving school, Colin began a career in engineering contrary to the advice of his art teachers and his father who recognised a promising talent in another field: woodworking. Fortunately this talent was not forgotten and Colin soon combined his woodworking skills with his life-long interest in stringed instruments. The result put Colin firmly on a new career path.
In 2002, Colin met renowned American violin maker Kelvin Scott through a mutual friend in North Ronaldsay, the most northerly of the islands of Orkney, and the ancestral home of both families. Kelvin immediately recognised a meticulousness of craftsmanship in Colin's instruments. He knew that this natural talent, as well as Colin's deep understanding of the materials involved in the instrument building process, would benefit greatly from more formal study of the art of violin making.
Colin was awarded a Scottish Arts Council grant (now Creative Scotland) in 2005 enabling him to undertake an intensive period of study with Kelvin Scott at his studio in Knoxville, Tennessee. Colin has since maintained a close relationship with Kelvin, and both are currently planning joint instrument-making projects to promote their connections with Orkney.
In September 2008, Colin travelled to Cremona, Italy, to attend the Cremona 1730-1750: Nell'olimpo della liuteria exhibition. Here Colin was able to study over 30 Guarneri Del Gesù violins as well as instruments by Stradivari and Bergonzi. Colin also travelled to north Italy to find out more about the wood used by Stradivari and Guareneri, and to source timber for his own instruments. Now, nearly twenty years since becoming a violin maker, Colin is achieving significant success with his instruments. The unique clarity and intensity of sound in each finely crafted instrument is recognised by all of the many musicians who now play a Colin Tulloch violin or viola.
In his constant strive for perfection, Colin regularly travels to London to attend violin seminars and exhibitions. A recent noteworthy event was the annual British Violin Making Association (BVMA) Makers' Day 2010 where over 40 makers from around the world exhibited their finest instruments. Steven Crichlow, violinist from The Kaxan String Quartet, selected a Colin Tulloch violin for use in the BVMA concert. Colin was also fortunate to spend many hours at the Royal Academy handling and studying the famous Viotti Stradivarius, an experience he will never forget.
Colin is a member of the following groups and associations:
Endorsements of Colin Tulloch instruments
The following is a list of endorsements from well-known musicians who play—or have played and fallen in love with—a Colin Tulloch instrument:
- Steven Crichlow from The Kaxan String Quartet.
- Kristan Harvey (pictured), winner of BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2011.
- Jeana Leslie, winner of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards 2008 and MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 'Up and Coming Artist of the Year' 2008.
- Aaron McGregor from The Eris Quartet.
- Douglas Montgomery from Saltfishforty and The Chair.