My interests in lute building emerged amid the vibrant early music scene in Vancouver during the 1990s. Unable to afford a lute for myself, I cobbled together an instrument from an cast off English lute kit. From the perspective of a recent philosophy graduate, lute-making was not only a fascinating hobby but also an eminently practical career path.
My skills evolved under the tutelage of such pioneering local lute makers as Robert Lundberg, Ray Nurse and Grant Tomlinson, and a grant from the Canada Council enabled me to study with Malcolm Prior in the UK. In an effort to gain a deeper understanding of lutes and lute-making. I pursued graduate study in the history of art and design at the Bard Graduate Center in New York. My academic research focused on the cultural and social significance of stringed musical instruments through history. An internship with the Musical Instrument Department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art allowed close access to important original instruments for inspection, conservation and restoration. Since my training in the late 90s, I have been building lutes and early guitars for amateur and professional players throughout the Americas, Europe, and Australasia.
I aim to build instruments that blend acoustic resonance and visual elegance while retaining the essential structural integrity to withstand the demands of the 21st century lutenist. All my instruments are constructed from top-grade materials, assembled using traditional hide glues, and finished with natural oil resin and spirit varnishes. Although most of my instruments are based on surviving historic examples, I also rely on evidence from period iconography, personal musical experience, and my own aesthetic instincts. While I understand and respect the lute-making traditions of the last 500 years, I also believe there is potential for further creativity and innovation within the craft.