We are profoundly saddened to share that violin maker Francis Kuttner, creator of the Ellen M. Egger quartet of instruments and a member of the ASQ family, passed away on June 3, 2023.
As we struggle to wrap our heads around this abrupt parting, we are thinking of Francis’s wonderful and close family, as well as his many friends and colleagues worldwide. Strings magazine’s David Lusterman has posted a lovely remembrance of Francis:
“Violin maker Francis Kuttner, builder of the acclaimed Ellen M. Egger quartet of instruments and dear friend to scores, no—make that hundreds—of colleagues in the music world, passed away in his sleep early in the morning of Saturday, June 3, 2023 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he had been living for nearly two years while receiving treatment at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Born in Washington, DC, on March 2, 1951, Kuttner attended schools there and in New Haven, Connecticut, before studying art history at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He built his first instrument, a dulcimer, while attending Antioch and pivoted briefly to guitar making before attending the Scuola Internazionale di Liuteria in Cremona, Italy, and devoting himself to violin making.
After working privately with Cremonese violin maker Francesco Bissolotti, Kuttner established his workshop in 1978 in San Francisco, joining a community of young builders that grew to include David Gusset, Stephen Lohmann, Sigrun Seifert, Joseph Grubaugh, Carla Shapreau, Jay Ifshin, Boyd Poulsen, and Roland Feller, many of whom rose to prominence as makers, restorers, and dealers.
Kuttner soon earned numerous gold and silver medals for his violins, violas, and cellos in international competitions in New York, Ottawa, Cremona, Manchester, and Paris. He later served as resident luthier at many European chamber music festivals and as a judge for international violin making competitions in Mittenwald, Paris, and Cremona.…—David Lusterman