Charles RUFINO Violin Maker




Viola Photo By Rick Young Photography Inc., NYC

Viola 1999

I have been a violin maker since 1974. For years I studied the great instruments of antiquity while working as a restorer in fine shops. Today I bring that knowledge to my own creations as I concentrate exclusively on making new instruments.

The demand of today's growing numbers of violists has led to a renaissance of viola making as the need for fine instruments has increased. If you want a viola with classic Italian tone for a fraction of the price of an antique instrument, or dream of a viola that is comfortable to play, you should consider one of my instruments.

My sixteen inch viola has a crisp powerful C and a rich, fat A-string that will blend with any ensemble of fine instruments, and is exceptionally easy to play. The neck is shaped for maximum player comfort and feels like a much smaller instrument. It is favored by violinists who need to switch back and forth between the two instruments.

If you require the stronger tonal fundamentals only available from a larger instrument, my sixteen and one-half inch viola should meet your needs while being as easy to play as a much smaller instrument. If you are looking for a different body size, please contact me so we can discuss your particular needs.

My original instrument designs are inspired by Guarneri Del Gesu, and have the warm, full-throated voice of his best work. Their lively sound, even throughout the range of the instrument, is flexible, rich, and complex, with a wide-spectrum palette of tone color. You will find responsiveness, clarity, and focus at your disposal, whether at ppp or FFF. Along with their sweet smoothness, my instruments have the power and projection appropriate for a range of musical needs, and are being played in chamber, orchestral, and solo settings. While no one instrument can do all things perfectly for all players, if you tell me your needs I can create one that will match your specific situation.

Players fall in love with my instruments for their elegant sound and also their playability. The seamless comfort of my setup and neck work will give you unparalleled security and freedom in performance. They are an excellent choice as a primary instrument or as a companion to give your antique instrument a rest.

Did I mention that they are also beautiful to look at? I search the world for the finest materials to create my instruments and varnish them with an oil varnish I make myself to achieve maximum tonal and visual beauty. The result is a one-of-a-kind work of art, handmade with love, to be cherished for lifetimes.

Now that you have an idea of my work, I hope you will visit me and hold one in your hands. If a picture is worth a thousand words, playing one will be worth a thousand pictures.

If you would like to arrange to play one of my violas, or have any questions, please e-mail me at or call me at 212-581-6226.

Yours Faithfully

Charles Rufino