Chinese teacher and professional viola maker Wang Yanli has taken home a bronze medal at the Malta International Violin Making Competition.
The competition, co-organized by the Malta Central Academy of Arts and Italian National Association of Violin Makers, attracted professional and amateur makers from all over the world competing for the titles of best violins, violas, as well as best cello and bass bows.
One viola, more than 100 procedures
The instrument Wang used for the Malta competition took her two years to make.
From selecting and sawing the wood to shaping and carving, making a viola is a highly complex process.
"A high-quality viola needs focused work involving over 100 procedures," Wang told the Chengdu Business Daily when she returned to her hometown in Southwest China's Sichuan. "Every tiny work is crucial."
"For example, the wood for the panel needs to be high quality Jezo spruce, while it's better to use maple for the back part. Subtle differences in the materials, such as the hardness or the humidity of the wood, will affect the performance (of the instrument)," Wang explained.
Wang is a teacher and a professional violin maker based at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music.
An accidental visit to a workshop when she was 18 inspired her career of making the instrument as she was stunned by the process of turning pieces of wood into instruments that created delightful sounds. By that stage, she had been playing violin for 12 years.
She was later able to grab a place at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music as an undergraduate student majoring in violin making.
Wang believes that the craft has helped her build a calm character.