Musical Instruments Master Craftsman Tutor
Shem studied early bowed instrument making at the London College of Furniture and subsequently set up his own workshop in London. He is a founder member of the BVMA (British Violin Making Association) and is the founding editor of the quarterly newsletter. He served on the BVMA management committee for many years and was co-organiser of the 400 years exhibition at the Royal Academy of Music in 1998, the BVMA international violin and bow making competition in 2004. He chaired the committee that produced the book ‘The Scottish Violin 1750-1950’ and organised the exhibition on the Scottish violin at St. Cecilia’s hall during the Edinburgh festival in 2006.He is the founder of the BVMA maker’s day and was co-organiser for many years of the annual Dartington Violin conference.
He has featured as an expert, on BBC Radio 4 and Radio 3 and writes regularly for trade magazines including The Strad, Early Music Today, and the Journal Of The Viola Da Gamba Society.
Shem is a keen researcher of the viol, in particular the French school of making and has published academic articles in the Early Music Journal (OUP) and in the journal of the American Viola da Gamba Society He has lectured at international conferences both in the UK and mainland Europe. He has a master’s degree from London Metropolitan University on the subject of original viol construction.
He is sought after as a maker of viols by professional and amateur players throughout the world and exhibits regularly at international instrument festivals.
He is an honorary life member of the BVMA. He is a QEST scholar and a Churchill fellow. In 2016 he was recipient of the Fattorini award for excellence in British craftsmanship.
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