Ronan Martin Associates.

An introduction to Colin Tulloch


Colin Tulloch has been making violins and violas since 1994. After leaving school, Colin began a career in engineering contrary to the advice of his art teachers and his father who recognised a promising talent in another field: woodworking. Fortunately this talent was not forgotten and Colin soon combined his woodworking skills with his life-long interest in stringed instruments. The result put Colin firmly on a new career path.

In 2002, Colin met renowned American violin maker Kelvin Scott through a mutual friend in North Ronaldsay, the most northerly of the islands of Orkney, and the ancestral home of both families. Kelvin immediately recognised a meticulousness of craftsmanship in Colin's instruments. He knew that this natural talent, as well as Colin's deep understanding of the materials involved in the instrument building process, would benefit greatly from more formal study of the art of violin making. (Read more in the Living Orkney article from May 2007.)

Colin was awarded a Scottish Arts Council grant (now Creative Scotland) in 2005 enabling him to undertake an intensive period of study with Kelvin Scott at his studio in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Read the feature in Hi-Arts Journal.) Colin has since maintained a close relationship with Kelvin, and both are currently planning joint instrument-making projects to promote their connections with Orkney.

In September 2008, Colin travelled to Cremona, Italy, to attend the Cremona 1730-1750: Nell'olimpo della liuteria exhibition. Here Colin was able to study over 30 Guarneri Del Gesł violins as well as instruments by Stradivari and Bergonzi. Colin also travelled to north Italy to find out more about the wood used by Stradivari and Guareneri, and to source timber for his own instruments.

Now, nearly twenty years since becoming a violin maker, Colin is achieving significant success with his instruments. The unique clarity and intensity of sound in each finely crafted instrument is recognised by all of the many musicians who now play a Colin Tulloch violin or viola.

In his constant strive for perfection, Colin regularly travels to London to attend violin seminars and exhibitions. A recent noteworthy event was the annual British Violin Making Association (BVMA) Makers' Day 2010 where over 40 makers from around the world exhibited their finest instruments. Steven Crichlow, violinist from The Kaxan String Quartet, selected a Colin Tulloch violin for use in the BVMA concert. Colin was also fortunate to spend many hours at the Royal Academy handling and studying the famous Viotti Stradivarius, an experience he will never forget.

Colin is a member of the following groups and associations:

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