After a childhood in London spent making things, playing the cello and going to concerts, I studied at the Newark School of Violin Making.  On completing the course in 1980, I set up my first workshop, in rural Leicestershire.  From the outset, my idea was to focus on making new instruments, developing strong links with players, both locally and internationally. In 1995, I moved to a workshop in the centre of the thriving city of Manchester, which gave me a wonderful opportunity to deepen my contacts with musicians, and to work closely with them on sound, set-up and playability.  I now work from a studio in the Manchester suburbs.


I have made over 280 instruments, which are in the hands of soloists, orchestral players, chamber musicians, teachers and students worldwide.


Much of my work is made to commission, but instruments are also available from stock.  I am happy to work closely with teachers to make instruments to suit their pupils, but do not offer any financial incentives to those who recommend my work.  More information about current work is on the Work in Progress section.


Away from the workbench, I have a longstanding interest in writing and lecturing on topics related to violin making.  My book, Violin Varnish: notes and articles from the workshop of Koen Padding was published in September 2015. I have also contributed articles for publications including The Strad and the BVMA newsletter, and spoken at conferences of the British Violin Making Association, Newark Lutherie days and the Strad Sundays. You can download pdf files of these from the Talks and Articles section of this site.

I have taken part in several collaborative violin making projects; a copy of a Gasparo da Salo cello for the collection of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and with three longstanding colleagues, copies of a Guadagnini violin, the Guarneri del Gesu ‘Alard’ and cellos based on Francesco Ruggieri and Andrea Guarneri for the Royal Northern College of Music. 

I'm currently a member of the board of the Rowan Armour-Brown Trust, which gives help and support to student violin makers. As part of this I offer occasional periods of work experience in my workshop to students.  For twelve years I undertook much of the administration of Manchester Chamber Concerts Society, which promotes seven chamber music concerts annually, held at the Royal Northern College of Music.  In my spare time I still play the cello and have lessons regularly with a member of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.