Klotz (violin makers)

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Matthias Klotz memorial in Mittenwald

Klotz is a family of violin makers. Members of the Klotz (or Kloz) family have made violins in Mittenwald, Germany from the mid-17th century to the present. The Klotz family taught other families of the village the violin trade, and Mittenwald prospered and became well known for its violins. In A Dictionary of Music and Musicians 1900, the contributor Edward John Payne writes: "Nine-tenths of the violins which pass in the world as 'Stainers' were made by the Klotz family and their followers." [1]:65 In 1856, the Bavarian government founded a school in Mittenwald to continue the violin trade.[2] Dictionaries of violin makers list more than 25 artisans by this name.[3]

Matthias I (1656–1743) founded the Mittenwald school of violin making after study with Giovanni Railich in Padua from 1672-1678,[4] Jacob Stainer[5]:49 and Nicolo Amati. He has been criticized for exercising insufficient skill or care in the selection of his wood.[6] Typical labels:

  • Mattias Klotz Geigenmacher zu Mittenwald an der Iser 1697
  • Mathias Klotz Lauten und Geigenmacher in Mittenwald an der Iser Anno 1695
  • Mathias Kloz Lautenmacher. A label of the family [5] in Mittenwalt Anno 1725.

Instruments by Sebastian I (1696–1768) are probably the most admired among the many existing examples by this family. Some instruments which have been identified as Sebastian's work bear his father's label. Typical labels:

  • Sebastian Klotz in Mittenwald an der Iser 1734
  • Sebastian Kloz, in Mittenwald, an 1743
  • Seb. G. Kloz in Mittenwald, 1732
A copy of a violin made by Joseph Klotz in Germany in 1794

Joseph (1743–1819), son of Sebastian, worked in a manner similar to that of his father.

The quality of their instruments varies enormously, and many inferior, unauthentic examples have labels bearing the Klotz name.


  • Geigenmacher: violin maker
  • Lautenmacher: lute maker
  • See also Luthier


  1. ^ Payne, Edward John. A Dictionary of Music and Musicians (A.D 1450-1889), Vol 2of4, London, Macmillan And Co.,Limited. New York, The Macmillan Company, 1900. Reprint Forgotten Books ISBN 1440086060, 978-1-4400-8606-9. "Google Books" [1]
  2. ^ Peterffy,Ernest. Music and Youth, April 1926, cited in The Rockford Register-Gazette, May 17, 1926. Helen Fish, "Klotz First of Violin Makers of Mittenwald", p. 15. "Search Klotz Violin Illinois" [2]
  3. ^ Abele, Hyacinth, and Geoffrey Alwyn. The Violin & Its Story: Or the History & Construction of the Violin. London: "The Strad" Office, 1905. Print. "Google Books" [3]
  4. ^ The Violin: A Social History of the World's Most Versatile Instrument. David Schoenbaum. p. 74
  5. ^ Pearce, Joseph. Violins and Violin Makers: Biographical Dictionary of the Great Italian Artistes, Their Followers and Imitators, to the Present Time. with Essays on Important Subjects Connected with the Violin. London: Longman and co, 1866. Print. "Google Books" [4]
  6. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Gilman, D. C.; Thurston, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "Klotz, Matthias". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead. 

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