Rosario Bayeur

Rosario Bayeur. Violin maker, b St-Paulin-de-Maskinongé, near Trois-Rivières, Que, 21 Aug 1875, d Montreal 1 Jun 1944. He worked first as a cabinet-maker.

Bayeur, Rosario

Rosario Bayeur. Violin maker, b St-Paulin-de-Maskinongé, near Trois-Rivières, Que, 21 Aug 1875, d Montreal 1 Jun 1944. He worked first as a cabinet-maker. He travelled extensively 1895-1900 in the USA and during a stay in Providence, RI, became interested in string instruments and made his first violin. He then studied with the master violin maker Bohmann in Chicago. He had several instruments to his credit by the time he settled in Montreal, where he spent his evenings making and repairing violins and tuning pianos. In 1916, with his brother Albert (b St-Paulin-de-Maskinongé 3 Aug 1885, d Montreal 24 Aug 1965), he established Bayeur Frères, Luthiers. The brothers enrolled in correspondence courses with the British Violin Makers' Guild of London and earned certificates of competence.

Rosario travelled in 1921 and 1926 to Europe to complete his training with Émile Germain of Paris and other noted luthiers. In a competition organized in 1921 by the Parisian journal Le Monde musical and open to old and modern instruments, judged according to tone and sonority, one of his violins placed third in the modern class and sixth in the general class. Made of spruce and maple-à-Giguère (Negundo, sometimes called Manitoba maple or box elder), the violin was owned by Claude Champagne. Other Bayeur instruments were owned by Isaac Braunstein, Albert Chamberland, Alfred De Sève, and Lucien Sicotte. In 1923 a Bayeur violin, commissioned by the Canadian government and fashioned from indigenous wood, was displayed at an exhibition at Wembley, England, as proof that a Canadian wood could be used for this purpose. During his career Bayeur made 54 signed and numbered violins, three violins signed but not numbered, one viola, and three cellos. His models were instruments by Amati, Stradivarius, Guarnerius, Maggini, and LeLyonnais. In Montreal, Rosario-Bayeur Street was named after him in 1980.


Further Reading

  • Ayotte, Alfred. 'Les violons Bayeur d'érable canadien,' Technique, vol 14, Nov 1939

    Bourdages, François. 'Stradivarius n'a pas emporté dans sa tombe le secret de son art,' Montreal La Patrie, 21 Jan 1951

    Henley, William, ed. Universal Dictionary of Violin and Bow Makers (Brighton, Sussex 1959-60)

    Vannes, René. Dictionnaire universel des luthiers (Brussels 1972)

    Huot, Cécile. 'Rosario Bayeur, luthier, 1875-1944,' CMB, 9, Autumn-Winter 1974

    Charette, Pierre. 'Les luthiers du Québec... un peu d'histoire,' L'Élan, vol 1, 1989