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Paul Ayres is a long-established and highly respected craftsman with over forty years of professional experience.  A Yorkshireman, he began his training in violin-making, restoration and bow repair at Ealing Strings in London in 1975, working with the ex-W. E. Hill & Sons craftsmen Brian Parkinson, Alan Mann and Malcolm Sadler.  After five years at Ealing Strings, Paul moved to the Cranston Workshop in London, again working with an ex-Hill trained craftsman, Martin Godliman and other high calibre instrument makers and restorers, before moving to Manchester to set up his own violin workshop in Withington in 1984, moving to larger premises in Didsbury in 1990.  Paul’s workshop has since gone from strength to strength and has developed into one of the leading establishments for repairs, restorations and violin-making. Musicians throughout the UK and overseas have sought Paul’s expertise, knowledge, experience and craftsmanship and his own instruments can be found as far afield as Australia and the United States.

 


Dave Slight, originally a time-served cabinet maker, subsequently trained with Kevin Wilkes (formerly of W. E. Hill & Sons) in violin restoration and making at Leeds College of Music. He achieved his diploma with distinction, receiving, in addition, the Best Student Award and the Musical Instrument Technology Prize. He joined the Ayres Violins workshop in 2000.   During his time working alongside Paul Ayres, he has extended his knowledge of violin-making and restoration techniques, building up a great reputation for his high standard of work and expertise and becoming a highly valued member of the Ayres Violins team.  His clients include members of orchestras such as The Hallé, the BBC Philharmonic, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata, Opera North and the Royal Northern Sinfonia as well as the Royal Northern College of Music and Birmingham Conservatoire. His hand-made violins, violas and cellos are greatly in demand and are sought by instrumentalists throughout the UK, mainland Europe and South Africa.

 


Michael Watson originally started working in long case clock restoration, before going on to train in instrument making at West Dean College in West Sussex for three years, studying with Roger Rose and Christopher Challen. He was subsequently awarded a grant by the Crafts Council for a further year of research and development. In 1987, Michael set up his own workshop in Hastings, mainly making baroque and modern cellos and, in 1992, he was selected by the Royal Northern College of Music to build the RNCM Baroque Orchestra. Michael subsequently spent five years sharing a workshop with guitar maker Peter Barton in Addingham, West Yorkshire, before settling in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, restoring and making copies of fine Italian instruments. Michael also worked at Vernons Violins for over ten years as a restorer, before joining the Ayres Violins workshop in January 2014, swiftly becoming an integral part of the Ayres team. Michael is also busy with commissions and, most notably, made a cello for the eminent cellist Martin Lovett of the world famous Amadeus Quartet.


clare yates


Clare Yates comes from a musical family and has a broad interest in all kinds of music. She learnt the cello, attending the RNCM Junior School and enjoyed playing in various youth orchestras in the North West and at Cambridge University, during her time there reading Modern & Medieval languages.

She has a great love of opera, fuelled by a period teaching German to opera singers at the RNCM, and has worked as a solicitor for some years.

Though Clare’s musical life is now largely spent as an audience member, rather than a performer, she enjoys playing the bassoon and the cello in an informal setting and is currently grappling with learning the free bass accordion.



Leanne Ayres is the daughter of Paul Ayres and has grown up alongside violin making, although she did not choose to train as a violin maker herself. She has gained knowledge of the violin business and as a musician is able to give great customer service within the shop.

Leanne is an accomplished cellist and is available to spend time helping you find the right instrument or bow, as well as recommending strings, cases and accessories.


 

Ayres Violins Ltd
Registered Office & Shop
69-71 School Lane,
Didsbury, Manchester
M20 6WN

Company Number 8282730
Registered in England and Wales
TEL/FAX: 0161 448 1860

Email: sales@ayresviolins.co.uk

Opening Hours: Mon to Fri: 9 - 5.30. Sat: 9 - 4

   
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