Established in 1984 by Christopher King, Cardiff Violins started life as a small workshop in Cardiff Bay, primarily servicing the Welsh National Opera, BBC Orchestra, amateur players, teachers and college students. Prior to this, Chris had worked as a violin repairer for many years in Kent, and then studied making at the Welsh College Of Instrument Making and Repairing, where he met Michael Quinn, one of his most talented students, who joined him at the end of his studies. They have remained joined at the hip ever since!
As its reputation for quality workmanship spread, Cardiff Violins as it’s known today opened in Castle Arcade in 1993, with Chris’s wife, Cécile Limon running the shop. Since then, the shop has more than tripled in size, with expansions in workshop space, trying out rooms, and additional staff. Chris’s son Dan joined the family business in 2009, training under Chris and Mick’s guidance and is now a fully trained violin maker and repairer. Joe Roach, another long-term member of staff who started many years ago as a shop assistant has also joined the workshop team and trained as a maker and repairer. Meanwhile, the shop grew from strength to strength to offer a large range of violins, violas, cellos and bows to customers worldwide. In the shop, Cécile, and Chris are assisted by Mark Loveday, who graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and went on to further his education in the Oslo Conservatoire in Norway. Part time members of the team are Angharad James, a graduate cellist from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and Amy Price, a violin student also at the same Conservatoire. Our most recent addition to the team is Lucie Caston, who has studied the cello at the Royal Academy of Music in London and is now attending the Royal College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. Katja Cross, formerly Cardiff Violins’ senior cellist for 7 years is still a part of the team, although at a distance. She now lives in her home town of Bath, and works on Cardiff Violins’ website, and occasionally in the shop.
Cardiff Violins’ team of luthiers specialise in all areas of repair, restoration and set-up. With nearly 40 years of experience working with stringed instruments, Chris has acquired much knowledge and devised several unique methods for making an instrument sound at its best. Cardiff Violins’ set-ups are particularly popular and customers from all over the UK and abroad visit the shop especially for these.
Whether you need repairs, restoration or maintenance, or are looking for a new violin, viola, cello, bow or accessories, you are welcome to visit and meet a member of the team, discuss your needs, and spend time trying our instruments in one of our private trying-out rooms.
Please call us on 02920 22 77 61 to book an appointment.
We look forward to welcoming you!
The Cardiff Violins team