A trusted restorer has died

A trusted restorer has died


norman lebrecht

August 22, 2014

The death has been announced by violin specialists J&A Beare of Michael Carlton Byrd, who maintained and repaired instruments for thousands of players. He worked at Beares for over 20 years, setting up on his own in 1996.

Among the violins that  he made, one was owned by Yehudi Menuhin.

Michael was 62. He died of lung cancer, though he was a non-smoker.

michael boyd


The cellist Jacob Shaw writes:

He was a friend of many many many top musicians in the UK and looked after all our instruments – very highly respected both as restorer and a person.


  • Dick Ansell says:

    I do not remember the dates but in the 1970s-80s Michael and his then wife Jenny lived next door to us in Buller Road Thornton Heath (now in South London but then in Surrey) (Now worth a fortune!!)

    They were a colourful family and I remember Michael brewing his own beer not from a kit but from scratch, unbelievably powerful stuff it was too! Also stunk the neighbourhood out when brewing.
    I also remember a row of violins on the washing line! (wondered why no flies landed on them while drying. Plus him saying that that if it were made correctly, it could be assembled without glue and stringed (strung?) up.

    I recall Jenny going off on tour with some group supporting Echo and the Bunnymen, after which I gather the marriage cooled and Michael departed. Later I hope they both found happiness though never heard of either again until I idly searched and found the sad news of Michael’s death. Obviously he remarried as did Jenny I think.

    Nice bloke, he asked me what do we do here to celebrate the 4th of July and was puzzled for a while when I said “nothing!”
    Was the UK better than South Carolina in the 70s, we never knew why they came. A larger violin market perhaps! Or better teaching and employment prospects?

    This is obviously greatly belated and really due to chance, but for a few shared years they were nice neighbours sad that he should die of lung cancer.