Sean Bishop Is Awarded ‘Associate Of The Royal Academy Of Music’ Title At The Royal Academy Of Music

“I was extremely honoured and privileged this week to have been awarded the Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM) title for my services to music as an instrument dealer. I studied viola at the Royal Academy of Music in London for a year in 1992 doing post graduate studies.
Of course it was obvious I would end up a violin dealer having sold the famous Prof. Erich Grunberg a violin bow in my first week.
I spent much of my free time (when not practising !) in the Luthier’s workshop – thanks David Rattray! – , whose wife would then become my shop PA in 2008 for 6 or so years!
I’m seen here with my wife, Sinead, whom I met in this very hall and our youngest of 4 children, Pierce.
It was a great event.”


Noel Burke: regarded as one of the World’s finest living bow makers – BOWS SOLD

Noel Burke can be regarded as one of the World’s finest living bow makers.

He studied with Espey in the USA and Thomachot in Paris. He then won every bow making competition around, including six gold medals at the Violin Society of America bow making competition (VSA). He is now often a judge!!

Based in Ireland, he has a long waiting list and a great list of well-known string playing clients.

As a good friend of the shop, we get his bows often and in inventory, we have 2 silver violin bows and these two beautiful gold violin bows.

I think I will cry if someone buys one of these!!!

Masterclass with violist Wolfram Christ

Really happy to announce that Pierre Amoyal and Wolfram Christ will be giving masterclasses in my shop late March. All the detail above in our flyer

Masterclass with violinist Pierre Amoyal

Really happy to announce that Pierre Amoyal and Wolfram Christ will be giving masterclasses in my shop late March. All the detail above in our flyer

Why buying contemporary violins could be a sound investment

Bishop Instruments & Bows has featured in an article published by the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM).
In the article, I share my opinion on why instruments and bows by contemporary makers are a sound investment, ahead of my month-long contemporary violin & bow exhibition this November. The exhibition is taking place from November 10th to December 10th in London and will showcase a wide range of contemporary Italian violins and bows from around the world.

Here’s a small snippet from the article:

“As I travel around the world, I am regularly seeing new violins and bows which blow me away,” said Bishop, who has Europe’s largest collection of violas and bows at his fine instrument shop in Marylebone, London.

“My job is to find musicians the perfect instrument for them to make them play and sound better,” he said.

“Instrument and bow making is going through a revolution and I believe that the standard has not been this great in over 200 years. This exhibition is a fantastic opportunity for musicians to experience fine Italian craftsmanship from some of the world’s best living makers.”

You can read the full article here:

Contemporary Violin & Bow Making Exhibition in London

Bishop Instruments & Bows is delighted to announce that we are hosting a month-long exhibition this November, 2018, showcasing a wide range of contemporary Italian violins and bows from around the world. The exhibition will run from November 10th to December 10th, every Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm. Appointments are also available for anyone who would like to visit outside of these hours.

This exhibition is a fantastic opportunity to experience fine Italian craftmanship from some of the world’s best living makers. There will be over 50 new Italian Violins  and 50 new bows from the World’s leading makers on display, each of them hand selected by our director, Sean Bishop.

You can see the full details of the exhibition below.


Masterclass with violist Máté Szücs

Principal violist Berlin Philharmonic
Sunday 8th October. 13.30 – 15.30pm
Venue: Bishop instruments & bows, 2 Hinde Street, London W1U 2AZ

Young violists from Junior Royal Academy of Music, Junior Royal College of Music, Junior Guildhall, Junior Trinity Laban and Menuhin school will be taking part.

First prize winner at the International Violin and Viola Competition in Liège Máté Szücs, is principal solo violist of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

Szücs first learned violin, winning the special prize at the Hungarian Violin Competition for Young Artists aged eleven. He won several other prestigious awards before switching to viola aged seventeen. Szücs graduated with the highest distinction from the Royal Conservatory of Brussels and the Royal Conservatory of Flanders, before gaining a diploma, again with distinction, at the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth.

Before joining the Berlin Philharmonic in 2011, Szücs played solo violist for prestigious orchestras including, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Flanders, the Bamberger Symphoniker, Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.

Regularly invited to Europe as a soloist, Szücs also plays chamber music with musicians including: Janine Jansen, Vadim Repin, Ilja Gringolts and Vladimir Mendelssohn. Limited tickets (all free) contact:

New Italian violas and bows in London

Over the last 12 years of having a central London shop, I have done a number of exhibitions with the Italian makers of Cremona, known as “Consorzio Stradivari”. Within this group are around 75 makers living and working in and around the birthplace of the great Antonio Stradivari. Usually we had 20 violas, 20 violins and 10 cellos….but this year I decided it would be a viola only affair! I also decided to invite 20 Italian makers I knew to also join in and make me an instrument. And so on the 1st November we had 45 brand new Italian viola in the shop!

Along side this I also have contact with most of the World’s finest bow makers so we had 30 bow makers involved, with 40 bows on show!

After a fun opening night party, with the great violist Maxim Rysanov playing a number of the violas, we settled into 3 weeks of violists trying violas and bows. The exhibition was a great success with many violas & bows sold….I also purchased 10 violas for the shop and bought all the bows that I didn’t already own myself. So now I have without doubt the largest range of violas and bows in Europe. That’s what happens when a violist becomes a dealer!

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