In one of Melbourne’s most vibrant precincts, an area famed for its cafés, curio shops, and galleries, Alex’s workshop attracts musicians eager to try new or antique violins and bows or to discuss the repairs or restoration of their own treasured instruments.
Born in the Highlands of Scotland, Alex participated in music making from an early age. He was given his first violin at the age of four and although he gained some playing skills, it was the construction of the instrument that fascinated him and, in his teens, he was repairing his own and other local musician’s instruments.
After marrying Marina, his New Zealand born wife, Alex moved to Wellington where he apprenticed in the early 1980s, here he had the opportunity to work with other talented luthiers and, over six years, to develop his skills, making several new instruments whilst also restoring for the capital’s musicians.
Formal training was undertaken at the Welsh School of Violin Making; an intensive three-year course studying the Italian method of violin construction in the lovely old college located in Mid-Glamorgan. Alex still loves the creativity of making new instruments and although opportunities to indulge in new making are few, he always keeps one or two projects on the go.
Alex headed the workshop of Classic Violins, one of the UK.’s leading dealers to the trade in the London area and in 1992 was invited to head the workshop of Sandra Wagstaff Violins in Hong Kong. The years in Hong Kong were memorable for both the exceptional instruments he was entrusted to restore and the many international artists who frequented this wonderfully frenetic city. Alex has worked on several of the great master instruments, and complex restorations, with a particular focus on conservation, are a deeply held passion.
In 1996, Alex and Marina moved to Australia to open Alex Grant Violins where first class workmanship with a focus on conservation and efficiency, has placed his restoration skills in great demand, this being testimony to the uncompromisingly high standards which are maintained in the workshop.
As an amateur musician, Alex understands the peculiarly strong bond that links musicians to their instruments and nothing gives him more pleasure than working with customers in their quest to find just the right instrument or bow.
Alex is a member of the Australian Violin Makers Association (AVMA) and the Entente Internationale des Maitres Luthiers et Archetiers d’Art (EILA).