Lament for a US luthier

Lament for a US luthier


norman lebrecht

August 09, 2019

The death of Paul Bartel has left the US bereft of a vital supplier of baroque violins.

Paul, 67, was founder of the Baroque Violin Shop and the Wyoming Fine Arts Center.

He owned a 1680 Stradivarius, which he liked playing for schoolkids.

Obit here. Interview here.

The Baroque Violin Shop has launched an appeal:


On Saturday afternoon we lost a kind and wonderful man, Paul Bartel. He was not only the founder of Baroque Violin Shop, he was our father, our friend, our teacher, and an inspiration to everyone he came in contact with. His passion for music and music education were undeniable, unrivaled and infectious. He may not be with us physically but his spirit lives on through everyone that he inspired around the country.

His quiet and humble generosity have impacted thousands of lives, and encouraged thousands more. Paul you fought the good fight, you finished the race, and you kept the faith. You will be missed.

In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation to the Paul and Jan Bartel scholarship fund at the Wyoming Fine Arts Center, which provides music education for underprivileged students. Donations can be made following the link below. Details for the service celebrating Paul’s life and legacy are still being finalized. We will let you know as soon as possible.

Please take a few minutes to share your favorite memory of Paul in the comments.


  • Calvi Bay says:

    Do you mean Luthier…easy mistake.

  • Fergie says:

    Luthier not lutenist…

  • MusicBear88 says:

    Despite being called “Baroque Violin Shop” there isn’t a single baroque instrument on the site. It seems that his focus was on education and his rental rates are some of the lowest I’ve ever seen. $16/month for a violin or viola, and if you can pay annually you get 12 months for the price of 10.

  • WCG says:

    Paul was a terrific supporter of arts over a broad region, reaching South into Kentucky. He was a valuable contact and resource when I was on faculty at Eastern Kentucky University in the late 90’s. A good business man who managed to also serve the community generously. Truly a good man.