Atelier Groppe was created in 1978 by my brother René-William Groppe and myself… Hence the name “Atelier” that I have kept ever since. This creation is the result of a particular interest in ancient music that was in full renewal thanks to some pioneers, whom we eventually met. The search for a historical interpretation of the 17th and 18th century repertoires required adequate tools… everything had to be rediscovered! So we embarked with delight on the adventure of violin making and archery… as we practiced it in these remote times!
Our training was completely self-taught since at that time there was no one who could teach this trade in this specialty anyway. The first act was to make a few visits to the various European museums in order to survey historical instruments and bows. They “slept” in the reserves of these institutions waiting for a “prince charming” to come and wake them up, especially the Brussels Museum, particularly rich in 17th and 18th century bows… The second act was to find the tools, most of which were made by our custom care. The third act, the most complicated was to find the raw materials, especially the wood of violin and archeteria. The first in Europe was more a problem of finance than availability, but the second coming from South America was much more difficult to identify and unearth… The beginning of a long course of the fighter, but how exhilarating!

     The last act was of course the hardest, to get in touch with customers! It took many years and many trips, the end of concerts, workshops and salons, to make a name for ourselves in the world of early music… goal that I think without undue false modesty, have achieved since!

     The fact that we were two brothers allowed us to progress quickly because we were «fierce» and without concessions with each other on the result of our respective achievements. The gaze of the other is often essential to move forward… especially when it comes to his brother!

    After ten years of pure violin making, we turned to the bow, which was a “terra incognita” and was sorely lacking in ancient music. We have built a reputation over the years, working with and for all the major orchestras in Europe as well as many soloists around the world. Discovering the universe of the bow was a revelation and a source of unexpected pleasure… and became our specialty!

    I would add that we followed the tradition of the 18th century by not signing our bows, the connoisseur eye will recognize them… We are not modest but humble!

    Since the death of my brother René in 2013, I have been the sole producer with the same concern for quality and respect for traditions, which I hope to continue for many more years…

Michel Groppe

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