15 3/4" William Whedbee viola, Chicago 2021
A native of Hawaii, American luthier William Whedbee (b. 1952) attended the University of Chicago, where he studied with Italian sculptor Virginio Ferrari and with musicologist Howard Brown. This combined interest in music and wood sculpture led to his traveling to Cremona, Italy in 1976 to train at the Institute of Violin Making.
Whedbee returned to Chicago in 1979 at the invitation of William Harris Lee to found and develop a violin making workshop there. During his twelve years with Lee, he built more than 400 violins, violas and cellos, as well as training and supervising nearly twenty violin makers from around the world.
Since 1992, Whedbee has worked independently in his own workshop on Chicago's North Side, focusing primarily on building cellos in response to growing demand from players and teachers. He has now completed more than 200 cellos, 275 violins, and almost 300 violas. His cellos have been praised by some of today's top cellists, and are in high demand among students and professionals from all over the world.