About

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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)

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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)

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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Frank's 5-String Viola Front
Frank's 5-String Viola Front
Frank's 5-String Viola Back
Frank's 5-String Viola Back
Frank's 5-String Viola Neck Front
Frank's 5-String Viola Neck Front
Frank's 5-String Viola Neck Back
Frank's 5-String Viola Neck 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.

See pictures of a cello with a huge inset in the lower left bout of the back, before and after.

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

MusicianInstrumentCountry
Kathryn Anderson Violin USA
Karen Bea Viola USA
Helmut & Andrea Becker Viola GERMANY
Mauricio Betanzo Cello USA
Alan Black Cello USA
Anne Black Viola USA
Maria Braun Viola GERMANY
Bina Breitner Viola USA
Hans Ulrich Breyer Violin GERMANY
Klaus Broichhausen Violin GERMANY
Jocelyn Butler Cello USA
Terrell Cameron Cello USA
Jui-se Yang & Wenchen Chi Viola TAIWAN
Adolph Christ Violin & Viola USA
Paul Christopher Cello USA
Bruce Coppock Cello USA
Familie Dimbath Violin GERMANY
Reed Drews Cello USA
Franciska Duerr Viola GERMANY
Ulrich Eichenauer Viola SWITZERLAND
Sally Fillmore Viola USA
Nicholas Finch Cello USA
Dean Franke Violin USA
Adrian Fung Cello USA
Julia Garteman Viola GERMANY
Peter Gartiser Violin GERMANY
Margaret Gilmore Cello USA
David Goldblatt Cello USA
Roy Gordon Violin USA
David Gusakov Violin USA
Hilary Hahn Violin USA
Shin Hamaguchi Violin GERMANY
Yasushi Hamao Cello USA
Jacob Hirsch Viola GERMANY
Amelia Hollander Viola USA
Jason Horowitz Violin USA
Nobuko Imai Viola SWITZERLAND
Jan Insinger Cello HOLLAND
Karen Kalmus Cello USA
Ida Kavafian Viola USA
Eun-Jung Kim Viola USA
Eugene Kim Cello USA
Anne Kraenzlein Violin GERMANY
Jennifer Langham Cello USA
Suzanne Le Fevre Viola USA
Tanja Linsel Viola GERMANY
Tsao-Lun Lu Cello TAIWAN
Yo-Yo Ma Cello USA
Sam Magill Cello USA
Hampton Mallory Cello USA
Lauren Mallory Cello USA
Francois Marcel Violin FRANCE
Erin Mc Ginnis Long Violin USA
Eli Martin Merrill Violin USA
Corrine Metter Violin USA
Elizabeth Meyers Viola USA
Fernando Montes De Orca Viola MEXICO
Mai Motobuchi Viola USA
David Moulton Cello USA
Paul Murphy Viola USA
Elizabeth Murphy Cello USA
Moshe Murvitz Viola ISRAEL
Lee Nicholson Violin USA
Scott Nickrenz Viola USA
John O'Kane Cello IRELAND
Bradley Ottesen Viola USA
Sarah Paul Cello USA
David Perlman Violin USA
Tom Rathbone Cello SCOTTLAND
Hans Dietrich Rave Viola GERMANY
Kari Ravnan Cello NORWAY
Iris Regev Cello ISRAEL
Frances Rios Pfeifer Viola USA
Irene Mrose Rissi Violin & Viola USA
Jerry Rittenhouse Cello USA
Elizabeth S. Runge Viola GERMANY
Mino Sasaki Viola JAPAN
Wolfgang Schepp Violin GERMANY
Florian Schneidt Viola HOLLAND
A. Joshua Sherman Violin USA
Fiona Simon Violin USA
Stefan & Keiko Skiba Viola GERMANY
Diane Smith-Barker Violin USA
Peter Stein Viola USA
Lucy Stoltzman Violin & Viola USA
Jorge Sutil Violin & Viola GERMANY
Akiko Takemura Viola JAPAN
Steve Tenenbom Viola USA
Christine Terhune Viola USA
Timothy Terranella Cello USA
Esther Mellon Cello USA
Gerda Katinka Van der Veen Viola ENGLAND
Suzanne Veiga Cello USA
Alexander Voegel Viola SWITZERLAND
Mary Whitaker Violin USA
Peter & Marsha Wiley Cello USA
Eva Marie Wilms Viola GERMANY
Katherine Winterstein Violin USA
Kristen Wojcik Cello USA
Lisa Wong Viola USA
Anja Wood Cello USA
Frank Wunderer 5 String Viola GERMANY
Felix Wurman 5 String Cello USA
Jui-Se Yang Viola TAIWAN

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/