Since 1991, Wilder & Davis has established itself as one of the most dynamic violin making workshops in North America. Our main mission is to serve the artistic community, responding to the instrument and bow needs of all string players, from beginner to professional, in every style of music. We offer a complete repair, restoration, sales and rental service for violins, violas, cellos, and their bows.
Tom Wilder and Richard Davis met in the 1980s at the Chicago School of Violin Making, became friends, and talked of starting a shop together at some time in the future. After completing their studies in 1991, they decided to set up in Montréal and chose the current site on Rachel Street.
Early days in Montréal
The early days were difficult, but by dint of hard work and perseverance, the duo built up a loyal customer base. Soon they were joined by French bowmaker Blaise Emmelin. Richard Davis returned to the United States in 1994, but Tom Wilder decided to keep the joint name, which had already become well known in the musical community.
Tom Wilder first went to meet the musicians of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in the mid-1990s. The needs of the artistic community called him back there shortly thereafter, and soon every visit found him working around the clock doing instrument maintenance. He repeated the operation in Calgary, and his success saw him taking along a small team twice a year. By the early 2000s, demand was so strong that trips were made in a van loaded with tools, instruments and bows. The journeys were extended as far as Vancouver and after a number of return trips, the idea of opening a shop in Alberta was conceived.
A shop in Alberta
In 2002, a shop was opened in Canmore, Alberta, and cellist Nigel Boehm became Wilder & Davis Luthiers’ representative for western Canada. Five years later, the shop moved to the Crandall-Peck Cabin, a small cottage not far from the famed Banff Centre that has been made a heritage landmark. Violin maker Angel Alvarez has since set up there permanently to more easily serve the needs of the local community and the musicians playing at the Banff Centre.
On the road
Teams from Wilder & Davis continue to travel to Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, and Vancouver to set up temporary workshops. Read more on our On the road page. For many years, violin and bow makers also travelled to Matanzas, Cuba, where they maintained and repaired instruments and bows for the local artistic community. They are now involved in Colombia with the ConCuerda project. Read more on our Social Involvement page.