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Charline Dequincey

Charline Dequincey

Honouring the rich traditions of history  

Charline Dequincey is a luthier trained in French methods of making and restoring string quartet instruments. Having studied music at a Conservatory in France, she entered the national violin making school at the age of 15, graduating with honours in 2004. She still has the first violin she made, which now occupies pride of place in her parents’ home in France. “I do pick it up and play it a little when I go home. Funny, it still plays well, although aesthetically it could use some work” Charline laughs. “My teacher did a good job guiding us in design and arching, so we had a good template to follow.” 

Broad-based training 

She apprenticed in France, and continued to gain valuable expertise with luthiers in England and the U.S., broadening her understanding of different approaches to instrument-making and restoration. “I learned a lot from these apprenticeships,” Charline says. “I was lucky enough to work with luthiers who had training and skills from different schools of making. In Europe, the French school has a different style of making then the Italian school or English school, so I received a diverse grounding in many approaches.” 


Since 2006, she worked with Guy Harrison in Ottawa, involved in both making and restoration, then started making instruments in her own shop in 2012 – honouring the best of the traditions passed down to her by rigorously ascribing to high standards and striving for constant improvement. Charline was awarded the Double Certificate of Merit (Tone and Workmanship) for a cello presented at the 23rd International Competition of the Violin Society of America in 2018. She recently started a full-time position doing high-level restoration work at the prestigious Reuning & Son Violins shop in Boston. 

Always learning 

Charline believes that each artisan must continually develop the skills necessary to their individual art – including hand skills, careful observation, studying instruments and their makers, geometric layouts, mechanical and acoustic physics, and the chemistry of varnish. “I’m always learning,” she says. “The violin is a complex instrument, and new ideas are always coming out. For instance, in acoustics, there is a lot of interesting work being done to understand the sound of the violin, how it works, what impacts the sound.” She also took part in the 3D String Theory Project by the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra. The multidisciplinary project involved the production of a 3D printed ‘’viola da braccio,’’ as well as the composition of a musical piece for the instrument. 

“I really enjoy my work,” Charline says, “especially the process of exploration and development that occurs when I’m at my bench. I never get bored. It’s so easy to lose track of time when you’re engrossed in your craft.”