At the age of nine, Brenton fell in love with the violin and has played violin & viola ever since, exploring mainly the chamber music and solo repertoire.
In 1986 Brenton established The Violineri in Burke Road, Camberwell; in 1989 he moved his business to Richmond. For the next 23 years his eye-catching shop remained an icon in Bridge Road, frequented not only by musicians but by photographers, film makers and even tourists. In 2012 Brenton moved his business to its present address in Box Hill, where once again he has created that special ambience which is the hallmark of The Violineri.
During one of his trips to the UK to attend the London instrument sales, Brenton commissioned a viola for himself from Newark instructor and luthier Paul Harrild. Brenton plays on this fine English viola using a bow he commissioned from Melbourne bow maker Paul B. Shields.
Over a lifetime of playing, handling and repairing violins, violas, cellos and basses, Brenton has developed extensive skills in assessing, valuing, repairing and restoring stringed instruments. His expert set-up ensures that each instrument will then play at its best. And his memory for the details about every instrument that has passed through his hands is legendary!
Paul B. Shields
Paul began learning to play the violin as a boy and became interested in violin repair at the age of 15. After initially training as a joiner, Paul met Brenton in 2005 and moved into string instrument repairs. Having worked with Brenton for 3 years, he then refined his interest to focus on bow repairs & bow making.
Guided by renowned Australian bow maker Lennox Holt, Paul has crafted violin, viola and cellos bows. Each of his bows is completely handmade – not only does he make the stick, but he also makes his own frogs out of ebony and does all the silver-work himself. Paul welcomes commissions and is able to produce a bow crafted to your personal taste & requirements.
Paul has also undertaken intricate and extensive repairs to the fine antique bows of Australian & international musicians. His passion and knowledge of fine bows is infectious!
Martin began learning the violin as a young child and pursued his passion for playing both violin & viola. Having gained his Bachelor of Arts in classical studies at the University of Melbourne, he completed his Bachelor of Music with Honours at Monash University in 2010. In his final year of study he began working at The Violineri & has since developed his instrument repair & setup skills under the guidance of Brenton & Paul.
Martin is an active performer of solo, orchestral & chamber music in Melbourne, playing with groups such as Orchestra 21, Arcko Symphonic Ensemble, The Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra, Nicholas Chamber Orchestra and Camerata Orchestra. He has taught violin & viola in schools and currently teaches through a private studio.
In 2016, Martin studied with John Gosling at Chapel Violins in the United Kingdom, taking a course in Advanced Restoration Techniques. Under John’s guidance, Martin further developed his skills in restoration – including such areas as patches, cracks, replacing corners, neck grafts, peg bushings and plaster casts. A particular area of Martin’s interest and expertise is varnish retouch – you can see examples of his work on the Restorations page.
Martin’s mix of skills makes him well equipped to demonstrate the capabilities & offer advice on the suitability of the instruments for sale in the shop. His restoration skills enable him to offer the finest level of restoration and advice on your quality instrument.