Luthier and Instrument Seller Tom Blackburn has Died, Aged 77

(Photograph courtesy: Blackburn Stringed Devices)


Tom Blackburn was born in West Ham, London, in 1944, and studied with Hungarian violinist Marta Eitler. A few years later, Eitler would turn into one in every of Blackburn’s first clients.

A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, the place he studied piano, organ, composition, and violin, he performed in quite a few West Finish exhibits and carried out/taught as a contract violinist within the early Nineteen Sixties.

Blackburn’s curiosity in stringed devices led him to Good, France, the place he skilled as a luthier. He determined to dedicate his profession to violin making, opening Blackburn Stringed Devices in South Kensington in 1969. He ran the enterprise for over 50 years, and as of April of this 12 months, its web site reviews that it’s now not buying and selling.

A few of his famed clients included violinists Lydia Mordkovich, Dona Lee Croft, and Maurice Hasson. Amongst notable gross sales embody the negotiation of a 1570 Gasparo da Salò viola, now performed by Berlin Philharmonic principal violist Amihai Grosz.

“Restoration is intriguing in all of its types, and one by no means stops studying or discovering new methods to achieve an answer,” stated Blackburn. “Restoration has an ethical element. Do as little as potential; don’t attempt to enhance on the work of the producer. The setup of devices is one in every of my favourite issues to do… We should stay as impartial as potential right here, however having spent so a few years as an expert violinist offers you that additional inside understanding.”

Our condolences to Mr. Blackburn’s household, buddies, and colleagues.