Brian Lisus has been making string instruments professionally in South Africa for the past seventeen years, after completing his training at the Newark School of Violin Making in England. His instruments are used by top professionals in Canada, England, USA, Taiwan, Chile, New Zealand & South Africa.
As an individualist Brian creates and designs his instruments from his own perspective drawing on the great Cremonese School for inspiration.
." I keep changing the finer details as my insight advances. This is all done with the tonal qualities in mind. I do keep detailed records of all the instruments I have made : arching heights, thickness, weights, etc. So as I look back over the years I might like the lower register on a violin made 15 years ago and compare it with one of similar qualities made 5 years ago, to see if there are any corresponding measurements and apply the correlation to my current instrument. This has all been possible as I have maintained the same "system" for making all my instruments . The final finishing though is still done entirely by feel. "
He uses only the finest wood imported from Europe and makes his varnish from natural materials available in the 17th century. Brian adds an African touch to his instruments by using " stinkwood " for the purfling.
"I took off half of last year to further my
research, realizing that to get close to Cremonese instruments is only
possible using 17th century materials. This led me on a
wonderful adventure : constructing a primitive distilling plant,making
traditional Indian Yellow
( collecting urine from cows fed on mango leaves), contacting Kirstenbosh Botanical Gardens about " Weld" and going into the mountains in search of this plant, stopping on the highway at night to pick an aloe leaf. "
Brian has been well suported by the
international string community who appreciate top quality instruments
at reasonable prices. He has been able to maintain these prices
by selling his instruments directly to the musician , avoiding
dealers, as well as favourable South Africa Exchange
( See his web page for more details)
"Nearly all my commissioned instruments have involved the musician, sharing in the whole process, choosing a name , personal set-up preferences , etc. I sometimes feel as if they are right there in the workshop ( even if our only correspondence has been at the other end of the world via fax ), as every instrument somehow turns out to have the exact quality of sound they desire. This is still a great mystery to me, as working more by feel than science one can not analysize this logically. "
Brian has his own Award Winning Web Page , including - informal chat about his violin making career , reviews by acclaimed musicians who play his instruments, clear, detailed photographs and numerous high quality sound clips in wav and MP3 format.
studied at the Royal College of Music in London where he won the Tagore
Gold Medal. His concert performances include appearances in
Italy, London Barbican, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Royal Albert Festival Hall. He is currently concertmaster of the London Mozart Players.
" When I
commissioned my violin from Brian Lisus we spent some time talking
about what I was looking for in an instrument. Six years on I have to
say I am delighted with the outcome of our discussion. I have played my
Lisus violin in both orchestral and chamber groups and have found it to
be an instrument of great character, combining a flexible sound with
real carrying power. It is a responsive violin with a tone that is even
and rich throughout it's range. As I expected of a superb craftsman, he
has produced a fiddle that is easy on the eye as well as being most
rewarding to play "