About

Werkstatt New York 2
Peter & Wendela Moes at their shop in New York City 1986

Peter Moes (rhymes with shoes) is the son of Moritz Moes from Amsterdam, Holland and Inge Baerthlein from Wuerzburg, Germany. He was born in 1946 in Seeshaupt, Bavaria. After studies at the Technical University of Munich he entered violin making school in spring of 1972.

Wendela Moes, born Wendela Taylor, was the 4th of 5 children in an academic family in Boston, Massachusetts. She entered violin making school in the fall 1971 after her studies at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Wendela and Peter Moes met and married while attending the Violin Making School in Mittenwald, Germany and received journeyman’s diplomas after the 3½ year program in 1975. After graduation they worked for Hans Weisshaar in Los Angeles where they gained expertise in instrument restoration and repair. In 1978 they moved to England and went into partnership with a London dealer. After the birth of their first child this partnership was dissolved in October 1981. They then moved to New York City to open their own violin shop, MOES & MOES Ltd., at 225 W. 57th St, within view of Carnegie Hall. They were to remain working in New York City for 10 years

In addition to repairs, restoration and sales of fine old instruments, the Moes’s always specialized in making new instruments that are now played by orchestral and solo musicians around the world. Among those are Yo-Yo Ma and Hilary Hahn (see Moes Owners Club). They received a gold medal for the cello they entered in the International Violin Making Competition of the Violin Society of America in 1984. Wendela received a further award for a violin she entered in the 1984 competition of The American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers. The violin was on display at Lincoln Center for the Arts for several months.

Why They Left New York City
(not required reading, but many people do ask)

Werkstatt New York 1
Inside the Moes shop New York City 1986

The shop in New York City flourished, but ironically, its success also made it difficult to continue. Jacques Francais who visited shortly after their arrival in NYC, said “You can’t run a shop and do the violin work in it.” He turned out to be right. With a steady stream of musicians in the door, it became increasingly difficult to work at the bench. At first employees were hired to take care of much of the routine work and Wendela & Peter worked on the special projects. Their reputation for being able to “fix things no one else could” also became a problem because they got many of those jobs. Difficult jobs can take 10 times longer to fix, but they could not charge 10 times as much for the work. At the same time, customer service and running the shop began to monopolize their time.

Things came to a head when their landlord began an extortion scheme charging all the tenants of the building real estate taxes for two other much larger buildings as well. The landlord did not back down even when presented with hard evidence. They returned the rent payments the Moes’s sent without the bogus real estate taxes which were then $17,000 due within 10 days and increasing every year exponentially. They started eviction proceedings. After filing a class action suit against the landlord, Peter and Wendela did some soul searching. They decided that working at the bench was their strength and that they had little talent for the stressful organizational administrative duties associated with running a full service violin shop. Eventually they settled with the landlord and moved the workshop to their West 93rd Street apartment. They reduced the services to repairs, restoration and new instruments—no strings or appraisals etc. giving them time for the work that was their passion. Shortly thereafter in 1991 a search for special schooling for their very dyslexic daughter took them to Boston for two years and then back in the New York area to Stamford, Connecticut until July 2004.

(See link to Eagle Hill School Greenwich CT if you have a learning disabled child relative or friend—a fantastic school)

Please contact us if you would like to make an appointment.

Go to Calendar here.

Memberships

Peter and Wendela are presently elected full members of:

  • L’Entente International des Maitres Luthiers et Archetiers D’Art
  • American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers
  • Verband Deutsche Geigenbauer

New Instruments

About our instruments

We strive to produce a balanced, rich and focused sound -- a broad palette of possibilities with a very quick response -- to enable the player to easily reach his own sound ideal.

Our instruments are original models designed with our own methods to achieve the particular sound and playability we are seeking. Even with their classical dimensions and proportions, they are easily recognizable by our models, workmanship and varnish just as all the early makers were.

Since the early 1980’s our instruments have all been made from 200-300 year old spruce taken from centuries old farm houses in the Alps of Northern Italy. We feel there is a special quality in the sound of this old wood that we could not get with regular spruce. Wood changes in stiffness and other acoustical qualities quite a bit during the first hundred years as it ages making life difficult for violin makers. The old spruce has stabilized enabling us to get a predictable sound quality.

Back in the old days, people in the mountains knew when to cut wood. They cut the wood for their houses themselves at exactly the right time with the sap completely out, preventing warping and making the wood difficult to burn. This happens to be perfect for musical instruments too. Nowadays tone wood is cut year around and there is no way of telling how much sap was left in the wood.

Our varnish matures and wears in just a couple years to achieve the burnished look of a fine instrument without any phony antiquing on our part. Every instrument looks unique with the individual wear of its owner.

There is no risk in ordering a Moes instrument, we do not want anyone to have an instrument they do not enjoy playing.

On copies

Instrument making flourished until about the 19th century. Around that time many makers decided they could only make a good new instrument by copying an old one. The very makers they were and are copying did not work that way. As the early makers gained insight and experience they changed their models and methods always hunting for their own perfect sound and look.

Copyists are literally painting by numbers, putting their attention in exactly the wrong direction and creating stiff soulless versions of previous maker’s work. The monetary value of the old master instruments goes far beyond their value as a playing tool, it comes from the original artistic expression from the heart and soul of the maker. Copies express neither the heart and soul of the original nor that of the copyist. They are somehow dead. Furthermore, the fallacy in thinking, “if it looks like a Stradivarius it might sound like one”, has been proved over and over. The sound of copies is never in the same class as the instruments they are copying, nor do copies have a voice of their own.

Copies of instruments, or anything else, never have and never will have any lasting intrinsic value. How would we feel about Stradivari’s instruments if he had continued to make Amatis? What if Guarneri had copied Stradivari?

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5 string viola neckblock
5 string viola neckblock
5 string viola scroll in progress
5 string viola scroll in progress
5 string viola scroll
5 string viola scroll
5 string viola scroll finished
5 string viola scroll finished
5 string viola carving the blocks
5 string viola carving the blocks
5 string viola ribs front & back
5 string viola ribs front & back
5 string viola outline
5 string viola outline
5 string viola corpus
5 string viola corpus
5 string viola ready for varnish
5 string viola ready for varnish
5 string viola front
5 string viola front
5 string viola back
5 string viola back
5 string viola neck front
5 string viola neck front
5 string viola neck back
5 string viola neck back
viola chubby 1 rough scroll
viola chubby 1 rough scroll
viola chubby 1 volute
viola chubby 1 volute
viola chubby 1 back with purfling
viola chubby 1 back with purfling
viola chubby 1 carving the arching
viola chubby 1 carving the arching
viola chubby 1 back
viola chubby 1 back
viola chubby 1 ribs
viola chubby 1 ribs
viola chubby 1 cutting f-holes
viola chubby 1 cutting f-holes
viola chubby 1 varnish preparation
viola chubby 1 varnish preparation
viola chubby 1 varnish preparation 2
viola chubby 1 varnish preparation 2
viola chubby 1 varnished & setup front
viola chubby 1 varnished & setup front
viola chubby 1 varnished & setup back
viola chubby 1 varnished & setup back

Restoration

We began our careers in restoration of the best old instruments starting at Hans Weisshaar’s shop in Los Angeles and continuing in London and in our own shop on W. 57th St in New York City. Although we have not found many photos yet, here is a start.

Our ideal in restoration has always been to make even the worst damage look and sound as if nothing had ever happened.

Zanetto scroll copy block
Zanetto scroll copy block
Zanetto scroll copy left
Zanetto scroll copy left
Zanetto scroll copy phase 1
Zanetto scroll copy phase 1
Zanetto scroll copy phase 2
Zanetto scroll copy phase 2
Zanetto scroll copy rough carved
Zanetto scroll copy rough carved
Zanetto scroll copy comparison with original 1
Zanetto scroll copy comparison with original 1
Zanetto scroll copy comparison with original 2
Zanetto scroll copy comparison with original 2
Zanetto scroll copy detail
Zanetto scroll copy detail
Zanetto scroll copy varnished back
Zanetto scroll copy varnished back
Zanetto scroll copy varnished front
Zanetto scroll copy varnished front

Rental

Student Instruments

Quite a number of years ago musician parents asked us if we could find something better than the usual instruments available to rent. That was the beginning of the Moes & Moes Rental Program.

We select instruments that we can modify if need be to get a very good sound and easy response. Every instrument gets a professional set-up from us personally. That means doing the fingerboard and nut, cutting a bridge and adjusting the sound post.

Rental Testimonial
Rental Testimonial

Teachers & Parents Love Our Instruments!

These instruments are easy and rewarding to play allowing students of all ages to progress as swiftly as possible with their music studies.

Our rental agreement guarantees the price for the year,
but can be cancelled at any time.

Students can trade up in size at any time by simply switching instruments.

Call or E-mail us for availability and prices.

  • Violin Sizes: 1/16 --- 4/4
  • Viola Sizes: ¾, 14” --- 16 1/2 “
  • Cellos: All sizes (no cellos available at the moment in the USA)
    We sell cellos rather than rent them, but buy them back when they are returned in good shape.

Moes Owners Club

LastnameNameInstrumentCountry
Academie Musicale de Villcroze Cello FRANCE
Bartl Julia Viola GERMANY
Bea Karen Viola USA
Becker Helmut Viola GERMANY
Betanzo Mauricio Cello USA
Black Alan Cello USA
Black Anne Viola USA
Braun Maria Viola GERMANY
Breitner Bina Viola USA
Breyer Hans Ulrich Violin GERMANY
Brindel Jill Cello USA
Broichhausen Klaus Violin GERMANY
Butler Jocelyn Cello USA
Cameron Terrell Cello USA
Chang Christopher Viola USA
Chapman Lucy Violin & Viola USA
Cherry Nicole Violin USA
Christ Adolph Violin & Viola USA
Christopher Paul Cello USA
Coppock Bruce Cello USA
Delbanco Thomas Violin USA
Dimbath Sybille Violin GERMANY
Drews Reed Cello USA
Duerr Franciska Viola & Viola GERMANY
Eichenauer Ulrich Viola GERMANY
Fedkenheuer Will Violin USA
Fillmore Sally Viola USA
Finch Nicholas Cello USA
Franke Dean Violin USA
Fung Adrian Cello USA
Garteman Julia Viola GERMANY
Gilmore Margaret Cello USA
Gordon Roy Violin USA
Gusakov David Violin USA
Hahn Hilary Violin USA
Hamaguchi Shin Violin GERMANY
Hamao Yasushi Cello USA
Hirsch Jacob Viola GERMANY
Hollander Ames Amelia Viola USA
Imai Nobuko Viola SWITZERTLAND
Insinger Jan Cello HOLLAND
Kalmus Karen Cello USA
Kavafian Ida Viola & Violin USA
Kikushima Kenji Violin FINLAND
Kim Eun-Jung Viola USA
Koster Meg Cello USA
Kraenzlein Anne Violin GERMANY
Langham Jennifer Cello USA
Le Fevre Suzanne Viola USA
Lindner Elizabeth Violin USA
Linsel Tanja Viola GERMANY
Lu Tsao-Lun Cello TAIWAN
Ma Yo-Yo Cello USA
Magill Sam Cello USA
Mallory Hampton Cello USA
Mallory Lauren Cello USA
Mamuya Lev Cello USA
Marcel Francois Violin FRANCE
Martin Merrill Eli Violin USA
Mc Ginnis Long Erin Violin USA
Mellon Esther Cello USA
Metter Corrine Violin USA
Meyers Elizabeth Viola USA
Montes De Orca Fernando Viola MEXICO
Motobuchi Mai Viola USA
Moulton David Cello USA
Mrose Rissi Irene Violin & Viola USA
Murphy Paul Viola USA
Murphy Elizabeth Cello USA
Murvitz Moshe Viola ISRAEL
Nicholson Lee Violin USA
Nickrenz Scott Viola USA
O'Kane John Cello IRELAND
Ottesen Bradley Viola USA
Paul Sarah Cello USA
Perlman David Violin USA
Phillips Daniel Violin USA
Rathbone Tom Cello SCOTTLAND
Rave Hans Dietrich Viola GERMANY
Ravnan Kari Cello NORWAY
Regev Iris Cello ISRAEL
Rissi Irene Violin & Viola USA
Rittenhouse Jerry & Lauren Cello & Cello USA
Roehrborn Claus Violin USA
Rose Johannes Viola SWITZERLAND
Ross Matt Viola USA
Runge Elizabeth S. Viola GERMANY
Sasaki Mino Viola JAPAN
Schepp Wolfgang Violin & Violin GERMANY
Schneidt Florian Viola HOLLAND
Simon Fiona Violin USA
Skiba Stefan & Keiko Viola GERMANY
Smith-Barker Diane Violin USA
Stein Peter Viola USA
Sutil Jorge Violin & Viola GERMANY
Takemura Akiko Viola JAPAN
Tenenbom Steve Viola USA
Terhune Christine Viola USA
Terranella Timothy Cello USA
Van der Veen Gerda Katinka Viola ENGLAND
Veiga Suzanne Cello USA
Voegel Alexander Viola SWITZERTLAND
Vogel Sebastian Viola GERMANY
Vogler Jan Cello USA
Wiley Peter & Marsha Cello USA
Wilms Eva Marie Viola GERMANY
Winterstein Katherine Violin USA
Wirth Angelika Violin GERMANY
Wojcik Kristen Cello USA
Wong Lisa Viola USA
Wood Anja Cello USA
Woodruff Lucia Viola USA
Wunderer Frank 5 String Viola GERMANY
Yang Jui-Se Viola TAIWAN
Yang & Wenchen Chi Jui-se Viola TAIWAN
Yu Stephanie Violin USA

Press

Contact

Moes & Moes Violin Makers

Stammerstrasse 8
D-82380 Peissenberg
Deutschland

Geschäftsführer: Peter Moes

Tel: +49 (0)8803-63 90 10

http://www.moesandmoes.com/