Born January 27, 1925, Stanisic, Yugoslavia
Died May 7, 2007, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Paul Federer received his first violin when he was six years old. When he was eight, Federer’s father sent him to his first violin teacher, who was also a violin repairer. This teacher, Stefan Trenka, also taught him to repair violins and to rehair bows of the violin family.
Federer’s second teacher, Johan Lang, taught him for two years. He studied with his third and best teacher, Johan Bleylinger, until 1939. At this time, the Federer family moved to Germany to further Federer’s musical training. However, the war started shortly thereafter, putting an end to his musical hopes. Instead, he became a machinist’s apprentice and later worked as a machinist.
In 1952, Federer emigrated to Canada, where he worked as a tool and die maker, doing some violin repair work on the side. In 1982, he began in earnest to build violins and obtained quite good results. He won second and third prizes at wood shows, then second prize for a quartet entered in the 1992 Violinmakers’ Association of British Columbia violin makers’ competition. Today Federer’s instruments are played by many musicians, from students to members of symphony orchestras.
Federer’s violins are built on the Stradivarius and Guarnerius models. In earlier years, he used mostly European wood and, later, mostly North American. Their oil varnish colour varies from golden yellow to orange and from red to red brown, and is of his own production. He made a total of 140 instruments.
Federer was a member of the Violin Society of America, the Violinmakers’ Association of British Columbia, the Violin Makers’ Association of Arizona and the Michigan Violin Makers’ Association. Throughout his life, he made music and played with dance bands, trios, quartets and a symphony orchestra.