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Fabienne Gauchet

Fabienne Gauchet

Making her dreams a reality, one instrument at a time 

Many violin makers talk of the lasting impressions they had after visiting a maker’s shop for the first time — the peace and tranquility, the smell of wood and varnish, the tools on the benches and the walls, and the focused work taking place there — and it was no different for Fabienne Gauchet. Fabienne played the violin as a child, which she enjoyed, but what stayed with her were the visits to her violin maker’s shop in France. 

A warm, inviting atmosphere 

“I used to visit my violin maker with my parents. He had this nice, old workshop, with a warm inviting atmosphere. I didn’t know that you could do this for a living, and since I was also into crafts at the time, it got me thinking that this would be a good job to do when I got older.” Little did she know that this dream would announce itself to her again when she was 18 years old. Thankfully, her parents were encouraging and supported her decision, which made it seem real and valid, according to Fabienne. 

She was accepted to the Newark School of Violin in the U.K., where she graduated successfully in 1998. Fabienne continued her training through apprenticeships, mainly in France. She came to Canada in 2000 and worked at Wilder & Davis Luthiers in Montreal for 15 years. While at Wilder & Davis, she had the opportunity to work on restoring fine instruments and to meet many talented musicians.  

But hanging on to her early childhood dream, she always wanted to focus on making. “I started at Wilder & Davis for four days a week, then I would make instruments at home one day a week. Then I moved to three days a week at Wilder, and spent two days making. It took some time before I ventured out on my own.” 


Enriching experiences 

Enriched by those experiences, she now devotes all her time to making instruments. “We are very lucky to have a nice community of makers in Montreal. Before COVID, we would get together and show each other our work. Everyone wins when we all work together to improve our expertise,” says Fabienne. Making is the best part of her vocation, says Fabienne. “I don’t do repairs any more, but do spend some time on adjustments. I go to my shop, sit on my bench, and start working on instruments.” 

And her work is being recognized. She has been awarded VSA Certificates of Merit for Workmanship for a cello in 2014 and a violin in 2016, a Certificate of Merit for Tone for a cello in 2018, and a double Certificate of Merit for Tone and Workmanship in 2018 for a viola. She was also finalist at Viola’s 2016 and received an honorable mention for a violin at the XVth Triennale in Cremona in 2018. 

“It’s been very inspiring to have my work recognized and acknowledged; it makes me want to keep going and pursue the dreams I had as a child.”