Carlo Bergonzi (luthier)

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For the Italian opera tenor, see Carlo Bergonzi (tenor).
Carlo Bergonzi – Double bass

Carlo Bergonzi (21 December 1683 – 9 February 1747) was an Italian luthier who apprenticed with Hieronymus Amati, collaborated with Joseph Guarneri, and is considered the greatest pupil of Antonio Stradivari.

Bergonzi is the first and most noted member of the Bergonzi family, an illustrious group of luthiers from Cremona, Italy, a city with a rich tradition of stringed instrument fabricators.

Early life and career[edit]

Bergonzi's parents lived next door to Stradivari in the Piazza San Domenico in Cremona. Bergonzi apprenticed under Stradivari and eventually was given all of Stradivari’s repair business. Since his repair services were in high demand, Bergonzi was unable to devote the time to producing many of his own instruments. Bergonzi violin designs were based on the Stradivari and Guarneri templates.


Bergonzi labels vary, but typically record date, name, and location:

Anno 1733, Carlo Bergonzi
fece in Cremona

In 1740, he created one of his finest violins, the Kreisler Bergonzi, which was subsequently named after violinist Fritz Kreisler. At one time it was also owned by violinist Itzhak Perlman. Both Kreisler and Perlman performed and recorded with it.

It is known that many instruments that bear his label are inauthentic. A cello once owned by Pablo Casals was for many years thought to be a Bergonzi because of the label it bore indicated: "Carlo Bergonzi . . . 1733." It was later found to have actually been made by Matteo Goffriller. In 1881 a sensational court case was held in London over claims that the well-known luthier Georges Chanot III had given a fake Bergonzi label to a violin and then sold it as genuine. His deception was discovered by violin-maker William Ebsworth Hill but Chanot qualified his admission of guilt by claiming that this was common practice in the violin-selling business; the court was unconvinced by his explanation and found him guilty.[1]

Bergonzi family of luthiers[edit]

  • Michele Angelo (ca. 1722–1758), eldest Son of Carlo I.
  • Zosimo (ca. 1725–1777), younger Son of Carlo I.
  • Carlo II. (1758–1838 Cremona), younger son of Zosimo
  • Nicola (ca. 1746–1796) eldest son of Zosimo



  1. ^ Chanot biography on the Corilon website
  2. ^ Dmitry Gindin: "The Late Cremonese Violin Makers" Edizioni Novecento, 2002