Joseph Antonio Rocca (1807-1865) is one of the best violin makers in Torino, Italy, in the 19th century, who is also known as “the Stradivarius of the century”. Torino is the city where Giovanni Battista Guadagnini (1683-1770) finally settled in, following the advice from Count Cozio di Salabue, after moving around several cities in Northern Italy. Since his settlement in Torino, the city became the center of Italian violin making. In those days, several violin makers were working in Torino including Lorenzo Storioni (1751-1802) from Cremona and Johannes Franciscus Pressenda (1777-1854). J. A. Pressenda had his apprenticeship under L. Storioni and established his own workshop in Torino in 1820. J. F. Pressenda,s works show some influence from French violin making, reflecting the proximity of Torino from the French border. The violin makers in Torino worked on the patterns by the old masters, rather than creating their own. They were conscientious researchers on the masterpieces by the old masters and, based on their own study on the acoustics of the violin, they created finely sounding instruments, which were not merely the copies of the masterpieces. Their instruments have been much sought after by leading violinists in the world.
J. A. Rocca was born in Barbaresco near Torino in 1807. His father, Giovanni Dominico Rocca, was also a violin maker whose works were mostly based on the models by Joseph Guarneri del Gesu. J. A. Rocca was highly regarded by J. F. Pressenda for his splendid talent and he worked for J. F. Pressenda for several years afterward. He was a prolific maker and his works were mostly patterned on notable examples by A. Stradivari, which he studied with great enthusiasm. His workmanship was significantly improved by his study on “Le Messie” Stradivarius that was made in the master,s golden period. J. A. Rocca,s own golden period was from 1835 to 1855, his age from 28 to 48 years old, and “ex Taro” was one of the best examples from this period. “ex Taro” is characterized by the lower arching of the body than typical Stradivarius violins. The lower arching enabled J. A. Rocca,s violins to gain increased volume which was much in demand as the shift of the performance from small chamber music rooms to large concert halls became evident.
The lower arching suggests his not merely being a fine copy maker of Stradivarius violins but also an incredibly gifted master whose works were faithfully based on Stradivarius violins while showing some interpretation of his own.
“ex Taro” served for a long time as Mr. Taro Hakase’s main concert instrument. With his beloved “ex Taro”, he had quite a few concerts on his own works including the one titled “Jounetsu-Tairiku” and also a number of CD recordings. At present, he is on his concert tour of “Taro Hakase Concert Tour 2012 WITH ONE WISH” with “ex. Taro”. Contact us about purchasing this violin.
Taro Hakase Violinist
Taro Hakase, violinist, entertainer and composer has created the musical soundtrack of modern Japan. His compositions can be heard everywhere, from planes to banks, on television and even on computer games. He’s sold a staggering six million CDs in his homeland.