The road one walks as a violin maker is singularly his own, in the same way as his instruments bear a personality and character distinct from all others. This is even more so than others in the music profession, due to the master-apprentice relationship that goes back centuries to at least the time of Amati – the maker that brought us Stradivari, and who continues to inspire the work of Malaysian luthier Tan Chin Seng.
Trained first in Han Zhao Sheng’s workshop as an apprentice in 2010, Chin Seng then learned under maestro Bertrand Yves Delisle, who spends time in Kuala Lumpur every summer. His experiences with maestro Michele Mecatti, Paolo Sorgentone, and Gianluca Montenegro in Florence, Italy, has enabled him to further discover his own style.
Chin Seng’s work typically begins at eight o’clock in the morning, and – in bringing the modern to a time-honoured craft – he can occasionally be in a live Facebook feed bringing a new instrument to life. Wood for these instrument include maple from Italy, Switzerland, and Romania, with spruce from Italy’s Val di Fiemme. In addition to his own craftsmanship, Chin Seng continues the master-apprentice tradition, with students from all walks of life – some in other professions but who have the passion to create an instrument of their own.
“The instruments made by Tan Chin Seng are works of art that come alive,”