Iris Trio performs Beethoven and Rachmaninoff

Join the Iris Trio for a free performance of Beethoven’s brilliant Archduke Trio and Rachmaninoff’s beautiful Trio Elegiaque.  In addition to performing across the Washington D.C. area, the Iris Trio is the ensemble in residence for the West Campus Music Project, a project of the Charles E. Smith Life Communities (CESLC).  Founded and directed by cellist Lauren Latessa, the West Campus Music Project is designed to create impactful relationships between professional classical musicians and elderly citizens of their community. On a daily basis, Lauren, along with Iris Trio colleagues, violinist Sara Matayoshi and pianist Jessica McKee use music to serve the CESLC community, providing opportunities for residents, staff and musicians alike to transform their daily experience of the world.

Suggested donation: $10.

Mihai Craioveanu Violin Recital “From Bach to Broadway”

From Bach to Broadway!

“This unique and eclectic program features violin sonatas by Bach and Grieg, as well as spectacular virtuoso violin arrangements from the Broadway musicals Yankee Doodle, West Side Story, Porgy and Bess, and Fiddler on the Roof.”

Mihai Craioveanu, violin
Mihai Craioveanu’s Biography

Irina Kats, piano

Tickets: $15 adults, students free.

Tickets for this event are acquired directly from Mihai Craioveanu and may be purchased at


Montpellier Exhibition Luthiers


From May 15 through May 28, 2016, Potter Violins is honored to host an exhibition of instruments from the Montpellier Consortium.  During this time, you may examine these wonderful modern French instruments during our regular store hours, however, it is best to schedule and appointment with one of our fine instrument sales staff.

On May 15th, the opening will feature a lecture on the art of violin making from Frederic Chaudière, Nicolas Gilles, Yann Poulain and Baptiste Jugera.   This event begins at 3:00.  A performance on instruments from Montpellier will be given at 5:00 and a reception will follow.  There is no charge for this event, but we do request you RSVP by clicking on this link.

Biographical Information on Luthiers who will be present:

Nicolas Gilles
Nicolas Gilles

Nicolas Gilles studied classical guitar before entering the French school of violin making in Mirecourt in 1993, obtaining his final diploma in 1996. From 1996 to 1998 he attended the English school of violin making in Newark, where he obtained his diploma, with mention of “upper merit”.

Nicolas assisted Charles Luc Hommel in Marseille, France from 1998 to 2000 (mainly in restoration in one of the oldest workshop of France). He assisted Frederic Chaudiere in Montpellier, France from 2000 to 2002 doing new making, before setting up his own workshop in 2001 in Montpellier, making quartet instruments. The workshop is located in the historic centre of Montpellier: the “Sainte Anne square”, which is one of the most important cultural districts in the city.

The work quality of Nicolas Gilles is recognized by several distinctions :

• Sound price for a violin at the ” Steiner ” competition, Germany in 2001.
• Gold Medal for quartet, Gold Medal for viola, Silver medal for cello workmanship at the ” Violin Society of America ” competition in 2004, Portland, USA.
• Silver Medal for cello, certificate of achievement for viola and quartet at the « Violin Society of America » competition in 2006, Baltimore, USA.
• Silver Medal for quartet, certificate of achievement for cello at the « Violin Society of America » competition in 2008, Portland, USA.
• Silver Medal for cello, certificate of achievement for quartet at the « Violin Society of America » competition in 2010, Cleveland, USA.
• Finalist at the cello « Violoncelle-en-Seine » competition in 2010, Paris, France.
• Silver Medal for cello violin maker and Silver Medal for sound quartet at the « Violin society of America » competition in 2012, Cleveland, USA.

Nicolas Gilles’ instruments are performed on throughout Europe and the United States by concert artists and teachers.


Frédéric Chaudière set up his workshop in Montpellier (France) back in 1986. The violins, violas and violoncellos that he makes are played around the globe by notable soloists: Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Natalia Gutman, Ruggiero Ricci, Norbert Brainin, Igor Ozim, Alexander Sitkovetski, Gilles Apap, Natalia Boyarsky, Rainer Moog, and Young-Chang Cho, among others.

Born in 1963 in Dieulefit (France), Frédéric Hugues Chaudière has been a luthier in Montpellier since 1986. The stringed instruments he makes are played by the greatest musicians around the globe.
Frédéric is also a sculptor and writer. His articles appear regularly in the British magazine ‘The Strad’ and the programmes of Radio France.

His books are published by Actes Sud and his first novel ‘Tribulations d’un Stradivarius en Amérique’, critically-acclaimed, has been translated in English and German.

Yann Poulain, luthier
Yann Poulain, luthier

Yann Poulain was born in 1979. He spent his childhood in Brittany and he learned the violin from his grand-father, violinist in an orchestra.

He graduated from school and got his baccalaureate in 1997. In order to learn violin making, he obtained a City & Guilds of cabinet making in one year. Then, he entered the Newark School of Violin Making where he trained the craft for three years. He graduated with distinction in 2001.
From 2002 to 2005, he was the assistant of Friedrich alber in Montpellier.  He, also, assisted Frederic Chaudiere in 2004 and specializes himself in copying old fine Cremonese instruments.
In 2005, he creates his workshop in Montpellier where he makes his own instruments. He presents his work at famous exhibitions such as Musicora in Paris, Mondomusica in Cremona, RNCM Cello Festival in Manchester, music korea in Seoul.  Inspired by the cremonese masters of the golden period, his work wants to be free, genuine without restraint. Close contacts with the musicians and his attention to their requirements gives him a rich way and evolution in sound.
He is a member of the association ALADFI (french society of bow and violin makers) and of AIMM(international academy of music of Montpellier)

Baptiste Jugera

About the Montpellier Consortium

The expertise of its makers is coveted worldwide.

At the heart of the Ecusson, the historical center of Montpellier, the musicians neighborhood landmark ear. Flute and piano notes escape through the windows of the conservatory. They pass through the Place Sainte-Anne, mingle with the conversations, and the composite rumor resulting pours into Nicolas Gilles workshop above the workbench covered with blond chips on which the maker has just draft the “vaults” (shapely forms) of the soundboard and the bottom of his next violin. Wooded scents perfume the room, where pieces of spruce and flamed maple, cut into quarters ( “the best flow for the instruments do not deform over time” ), continue to dry the floor and ceiling.Came to the violin by practicing classical guitar (and construction of remote controlled gliders, its “first approach woodworking” ), Nicolas Gilles joined the prestigious school in Mirecourt, in the Vosges, where, from the outset, he was overwhelmed by the smells, including varnishes which magnify and protect instruments. It puts us under the nose a pot of red material from which delicious vanilla aromas untap.In that world, sight, touch, smell, taste sometimes count as much as hearing …

As Frédéric Chaudière , Wolfram Neureither , Yann Poulain and Baptiste Juguera , his colleagues from the Sainte-Anne neighborhood, Nicolas Gilles manufactures passionately quartet instruments – violins, viola and cello – in the Italian school of tradition Cremona, the legendary Amati family, Guarneri and Stradivari. The idea is not to slavishly copying the great masters, but to regain their methodology, since, as observed Yann Poulain, “we can not do better than what we did in the Renaissance from principles and methods from antiquity. “ They contribute to the growing international reputation of Montpellier, regarding modern quality instruments invoice, much more affordable than Stradivarius (tens of thousands of euros to replacing the tens of millions). And able to face without blushing to their illustrious models, such as a blind test, conducted by the acoustician researcher Claudia Fritz, has recently shown (1).

Five luthiers, the spirit of sharing

Montpellier eleven workshops luthiers and bow makers to 268,000 inhabitants, an exceptional concentration rate is explained by a happy combination of circumstances. Music has long been part of the history of the city. “In the twelfth century, a lord was represented with a harp on its seal,” said Clotilde Cichostepski guide, which for the tourist, accompanied curious in the workshops of luthiers (2). It is especially strongly developed in recent decades – foundation in 1979 of the future National Orchestra of Montpellier, summer bubbling Festival Radio France and Montpellier since 1985, establishing a national area Conservatory in 1987 – while the violin contemporary revived on the basis of new discoveries. In this momentum, artisans settled in the 1980s, and formed by others who remained.

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