About Us

James was born in Seattle, Washington, USA.
In 1971, upon the advice of Mrs. Wurlitzer, in New York City (where he was living) he bought one way passage on board the "Michaelangelo" to study violin making in Cremona, Italy. He studied at the violinmaking school with Gio Batta Morassi, Pietro Sgarabotto and Francesco Bissolotti until 1973, and worked in the shop of Stefano Conia. He is the only violin maker in Australia to have learned directly from these esteemed masters.

After finishing the school, he left Italy and moved to London where he worked for Malcolm Sadler, Alan Mann, Brian Parkinson and James Black at Ealing Strings, one of the most famous violin shops in the U.K. At this shop James made a large number of violins and violas as well as learning the set up and restoration techniques of W.E. Hill and Sons (the partners at Ealing Strings all trained at Hills). Later, with Norelle C.Hardy he opened a violin shop right on the famous Portobello Road in London (Cranston Workshop). The other partners involved in this business were Adam Whone, Martin Godliman and Paul Ayers. 

Following the old European tradition of craftsmen working in a number of different shops to gain experience (this is the original meaning of the term' Tour de France', where 'compagnonnages' or itinerant workmen traveled from chapter house to chapter house, learning a craft and meeting fellow craftsmen in French Guilds) he later worked at Jacques Francois's violin shop and with Mosa Havivi in New York City. Afterwards, he worked at famous violin shops in Tokyo (Kanda & Co.), Boston (Johnson Stringed Instruments), Portland (Paul Schuback Violins), Singapore (Cremona Violin Shop) and Hawaii, before emmigrating to Australia in 1991.
James Robinson's Awards
The Violin Society of America's 42nd Annual Convention and 21st International Competition in Indianapolis, Indiana, 2014. James Robinson submitted a viola (made in 2013) in the competition and was awarded the Silver Medal for its Tone.

Second American Cello Competition : Finalist in the professional cello making competition. Sponsored and judged by The Federation of American Violin Makers. Judges: Rene Morel, William Moennig Jr. Indianapolis, Indiana, 1986.

International Violin Making Competition; First Place (Professional Class) in the cello making craftsmanship and tone competition. Judges: Charles Beare, Derek Kessler. Newark, England, 1978.

International Violin Making Competition; First Place in the Viola making competition. Judges: Charles Beare, Derek Kessler, William Luff and Harry Danks. Newark, England, 1978.

International Violin Making Competition; Second Place (Professional Class) in the violin making competition, Judges; Charles Beare Derek Kessler,William Luff and Harry Danks. Newark,England, 1975.

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James Robinson is listed in these publications  


Studied Bow Making with Michael Taylor (U.K.) and Martin Devillers (U.S.) 1974 & 1981

He has (for decades) had a keen interest in Chinese Medicine and Shiatsu especially in how this relates to musicians' overuse injuries, and graduated as a Practitioner of Chinese Medicine (acupuncture, shiatsu and Chinese Herbs). Attended  schools in Japan, Singapore and Hawaii and Sydney. 1984, 1986.1987, 1992. Clinical experience in Cairns.

Practitioner Certificate in Neuro Linguistic Programming  at Melbourne Centre of NLP (1991) -

Studied Guitar Making with Jeffrey Elliot and Cindy Burton in Healsburg, California (U.S) in 2000.

Certficate in CAD 'Autodesk Inventor', Panorama campus TAFE, Adelaide, 2008

Taught violin/guitar making (part-time) at the TAFE college at Marleston. 2007,2008

Taught various Business subjects at The Adelaide College of Technology and the TAFE college in Marleston, Adelaide. (Part time). 2008, 2009

Studied Guitar Making at the shop of Gerard Gilet, Sydney (2014)

Certificate: Meditation Facilitator/Trainer. Nature Care College, Sydney, 2014.

Certificate: Hypnosis in Hypnotherapy. Institute of Hypnotic Science. Taught by Michael Yapko, Ph.D at Melbourne, 2014.

Professional EEG Biofeedback Certification Training. Stens Corporation.Taught by John S, Anderson, MA. Minnesota Neuro-Training Institute in Washington, D.C. 2014.

Certificate: Jewellery Designing CAD with Rhino 5.0 and Rhino Gold. Sydney Design Institute, Enmore , 2014.

Certificate in'Ableton Live' at Sydney Institute of TAFE at Ultimo. 2015

Certificate in 'Maya' CAD at the Sydney Design Institute of TAFE, Enmore, 2016

Studied Bow Making with David Hawthorne in Boston, MA (US) (2016)

 (below) Bow making workshop in Boston

  • Thomas Weinberg (1986). The Violin Makers of the United States, (Mt. Hood: Mt. Hood Publishing Co.)

  • B.W. Harvey (1992). The Violin and Its Makers in the British Isles, (Oxford: Oxford University Press)

  • Alan Coggins (2009). Violin and Bow Makers of Australia, (www.writelight.com.au: Writelight Pty. Ltd.)

  • M.A. Alburger (1978). The Violin Makers: Portrait of a Living Craft,(London: Victor Gollancz Ltd.) Pages138-142.

  Academic Study and Workshops

1973, Scuola Internazionale di Liuteria (IPIALL), Cremona, Italy. Diploma in Violin Making. Studied violinmaking under G.B. Morassi, G. Sgarabotto and F. Bissolotti.
Graduated with a B.Sc. degree  in Psychology from the University of The State of New York in 1991.

 Graduated with an MBA degree in International Business and Negotiation from James Cook University in 1999.

I.T. Certificate, online from Deakin University with the Australian Computer Society in 1999

Lectured in the Business School of James Cook University, Cairns (Marketing and Organizational Development) in 2000.

Graduate Certificate in Strategy and Competitive Advantage, online/distance study Cardian University (University of Chicago + Stanford University) in 2001.

CELTA Certificate ( from Cambridge University) in TESOL, Brisbane 2005.

Professional Graduate Certificate  in Educational Neuroscience from the  University of Melbourne, Graduate School of Education (2017)

(below) Violin making workshop at Marleston TAFE in Adelaide