Dmitry Gindin: Expert and consultant in fine stringed instruments


The Gaddas

My favourite chicken-and-egg story in violin making was told to me by Mario Gadda: as a teenager, Gaetano would pedal the 15km from his native village of Sorg̀ to Mantua to deliver both chickens and eggs to Stefano Scarampella. Scarampella, having previously refused all other aspiring apprentices, recognised Gadda's genuine interest in and aptitude for violin making, and offered to take him on as his sole pupil.

Gadda left his father's farm and moved to Mantua to work for Scarampella in 1919. He made remarkable progress, soon graduating from an apprentice to a maker collaborating with his master. Indeed, Scarampella does not seem to have made instruments on his own after 1920. In 1924 Scarampella signed an agreement stating that Gadda would acquire his tools and moulds in exchange for completing one violin a month for his master until the end of the latter's life. Alas, the contract was short-lived, as Scarampella died less than a year later.