About Jan Pawlikowski

Jan Pawlikowski was born on January 2, 1943 at Maruszyna, a small village in the Podhale region. Music, which is the core of highlanders’ culture, was present in his life from the very beginning. Harmonica bought at a fair was the first instrument he played. The first violin, to be more precise its highland-style counterpart – “złóbcoki” (gusle), was presented to Jan by his paternal uncle, a musician and band leader.

Jan’s interest in and gift for music were noted by Maria Gondkiewicz, a primary school teacher. She persuaded the parents to assure further education and practice for her skilled pupil thus Jan entered the college and music school in Nowy Targ in a violin class of Marian Podkanowicz, the school director.

In 1959 Marian Podkanowicz and Franciszek Marduła, an alumn of Andrzej Bednarz, legendary Podhale luthier, founded a Secondary School of Violin Making in Nowy Targ. Jan’s first instruments were made under supervision of Franciszek Marduła. Having graduated from college and obtained diplomas of music as well as technical schools Jan started the Secondary Level School of Music in Cracow in Eustachy Bruczkowski’s class of viola. At the same time he continued making of new instruments. His skills assured subsequent practice in violin making granted by the Ministry of Culture and Arts. Because there was no lutherie college in Cracow Jan attended lectures of physics and acoustics at the Theory Department of National Higher School of Music and accomplished a course in renovation of instruments in the Museum of Musical Instruments in Poznań.

Then Jan held a 2-year apprenticeship with Piotr Kubas, a famous Cracovian violin maker.After Kubas’s death Jan took over the workshop of Philharmonic in Cracow. Despite being responsible for the instruments of philharmonic musicians Jan decided to master his violin craft and became a student of National Higher School of Music (The Academy of Music in Krakow at present) in the class of Professor Eugenia Umińska and Marian Dumanowski, her assistant. The School building located at former Bohaterów Stalingradu 3 (present Starowiślna) street seated Jan’s first workshop in 1967 and 1968.

Care for instruments of Philharmonic musicians, Polish Radio Symphonic Orchestra and the School students and simultaneous perfecting of violin play were no longer possible; in 1970 Jan dropped out of studies and focused on manufacturing. In 1972 and 1973 he took off for America and was constructing and renewing old instruments in Chicago “Kagan & Gaines” workshop.

Jan Pawlikowski gained many prizes and honors at domestic and international luthiers’ competitions

  • First prize for cello making at the 1979 Zdzisław Schulc Violin Making Competition held in Poznań, Poland
  • Special award granted for two violins by the Czech “Hudebni Nastroje” luthiers’ publishing house in the 1981 Zdzisław Schulc Violin Making Competition held in Poznań, Poland
  • Finalist in viola making category at the 1982 “Antonio Stradivari” International Triennial Competition of Stringed Instruments in Cremona, Italy
  • Bronze for violin making at the 1983 Violin Making Competition in Sofia, Bulgaria
  • and as a juror participated in numerous domestic and international luthiers’ competitions in Moscow, Russia; Hradec Kralove and Prague, the Czech Republic; Poznań, Poland.

Jan Pawlikowski was a mentor for many young violin makers who at present carry their own workshops. Janina Pawlikowska, his daughter, is one of the alumni. She graduated the violin class of the Fryderyk Chopin High School of Music in Cracow and Violin Making Faculty of the Ignacy Jan Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznań , in a class of professor Andrzej Łapa. Janina’s instruments were awarded in recognized competitions: she won first and second prize in violin making category in 1999, Poznań, Poland; Gold and first prize for violin making in the 2002 International Violin Making Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, Russia; first prize in the viola discipline in the 2004 National Kamiński Violin Making Competition in Poznań, Poland; Special Prize of the Rector of the I.J.Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznań for the highest ranked student in the 2005 International H.Wieniawski Violin Making Competition in, Poznań, Poland; award and diploma for violin craftsmanship as well as the US, Canadian and Portuguese jurors’ distinction in the 2007 International Violin Making Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, Russia.

Since 1966 Jan Pawlikowski has been a member of the Association of Polish Artists Violin Makers, formerly known as the Association of Polish Violin Makers (1954-1980). Between years 1976-1994 he was the Vice-President and activist of the Association.

Number of musicians who play Jan Pawlikowski’s instruments is uncountable. Individual orders have been placed not only from Poland and European countries including Russia but also faraway US, Canada, Mexico, China and Uruguay.