Con-takt is an ongoing initiative that invites violin makers, bow makers and musicians from all over Europe to combine their energies and know-how in a series of exciting projects. Our overriding goal is to achieve closer contact and collaboration between instrument makers and musicians. 
In recent years it has been amply proven that new handmade instruments and bows are an excellent alternative to older ones in terms of price and quality. 
Con-takt would now like to draw musicians’ attention to another major advantage new instruments can offer: 
Whereas older instruments and bows must be accepted as a “given”, the musician can enter in direct contact with the maker of a new instrument long before it is finished. Both the performer and the violin maker can thus exert a major influence on the creative process as it unfolds. 
Just like musicians, string instrument makers invest a great amount of feeling, intuition, craftsmanship and experience in their work. Unfortunately, musicians and violin makers tend to relate with one another solely as “producer” and “consumer”. Con-takt intends to place that relation on a much more fruitful basis. 
With the aim of removing barriers and reducing inhibitions, we have initiated a series of projects oriented towards inspiring a more productive mode of interchange among musicians and instrument makers. New, truly improved instruments can only emerge from collaborative teamwork based on mutual trust, and we must not forget that both instrument makers and musicians are ultimately pursuing the same goal – music. 

The first con-takt project was designed to help music students gain better access to newly built instruments and bows. Joining the forces of 25 European violin and bow makers with the Hanns Eisler Music Academy in Berlin, the initiative was carried out in the autumn of 2013.
Violin makers and bowmakers lent their newest instruments and bows to the Music Academy for a period of two weeks. Violin, viola and cello professors of the Academy selected 23 students who devoted a great deal of time to practising and rehearsing on the instruments and bows during that period. They were then able to discuss their experience in meetings among the different string classes. They formed ensembles – several specifically conceived for the project – and prepared two recital programmes. 
In the course of the final exhibition, students and professors played together on the newly built instruments and bows in two public recitals that gave rise to some highly interesting discussions among musicians and instrument makers. 

The musicians were able to report on their experience and express their opinions, thus paving the way for ideas that would inspire new projects. The 2013 project was rounded off with a series of lectures on the subject of violin and bow making (you will find further information on our website ).

Apart from the above-mentioned format, we also organize try-out sessions with instruments and bows, as well as lectures and interactive seminars – all conceived as further ways of fomenting closer contact and collaboration among musicians and instrument makers. What we all desire, in the end, is for musicians and instrument makers to pool their creative resources in the interest of achieving the best result.