Martin Shepherd – Lutemaker
Martin studied the guitar with Julian Byzantine and Peter Rueffer from 1973-1976, and his interest in the lute was sparked by a lecture-recital given by Tony Rooley in 1974. Whilst a graduate student, in 1979, Martin bought his first lute, an 8 course by David Van Edwards, and the following year attended his first Lute Society Summer School at Cheltenham.
Inspired by Chris Wilson’s recital of early 16th-century music, he decided to make a 6 course lute in 1982, whilst still a post-doctoral research pyschologist at Durham University, having already published an article on lute stringing in the Lute Society newsletter two years previously. During the following couple of years, Martin continued to attend summer schools, and took lessons with Chris Wilson and Nigel North, before making several more lutes for his own use in 1982-8.
Some of Martin’s first concerts took place around this time in Durham, and in 1988 he performed a recital of German lute music for the Lute Society. Following this, in 1988-9 he received his first commissions to make lutes for others, as well as attending the Deller Academy in Lacoste-en-Provence. Martin moved to Stockport, Cheshire in 1991 and began making lutes full-time.
As well as attending more courses run by Andrew Lawrence King and Paul O’Dette (amongst others), the following years saw the publication of The Complete works of John Danyel Vol. 1 (The Lute Society, 1997), “The interpretation of signs for graces in English lute music” (The Lute 36 (1996), 37-84), and “The Well-tempered Lute”, Lute News (1997).
Since then Martin has continued to make and play a large variety of lutes from treble to theorbo, giving a recital of early German music for the Lute Society of America’s summer seminar in Cleveland in 2004, as well as continuing to pursue research and publication. In 2013 the business moved to Vaudebarrier, France, and 2014 saw the building of Martin’s first non-lute instrument, a viola da mano.
Forthcoming articles include: Octave stringing in England; Robert Dowland’s variety of borrowings.
Francis Shepherd – Digital Media
Francis, Martin’s eldest son, joined Luteshop in 2013 on a part-time basis to oversee marketing and web design, as well as to assist in the workshop. He manages Luteshop’s online presence, as well having an occasional hand in helping to build instruments and manage the workshop. He runs his own record label, FS Records, and works as a church musician, recording engineer and arts administrator in the UK. Find more information here.
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