Matteo Goffriller

Matteo Goffriller (1659–1742) was a Venetian luthier, particularly noted for the quality of his cellos. He was active between 1685–1735 and was he founder of the "Venetian School" of luthiers, during a time when Venice was one of the most important centers of musical activity in the world.


Although it is known that Goffriller was born in Brixen, little else is known of him prior to 1685 in Venice. Goffriller arrived in Venice in 1685 to work for luthier Martin Kaiser (Caiser).[1] In 1685 he married Martin Kaiser's daughter Maddalena Maria Kaiser (Caiser), at the Madonna delle Grazie in Venice; she bore him twelve children (five boys and seven girls) in 26 years. Francesco Goffriller, long thought to be his brother, is now known to have been his son.[2]

He was the founder of the "Venetian School" of luthiers, when Venice was one of the most important centers of musical activity in the world, and is believed to have taught luthiers Domenico Montagnana and Francesco Gobetti in addition to his son Francesco.

He died in Venice in 1742.

Mistaken identitiesEdit

Goffriller's cellos had been erroneously attributed in the past to the Guarneri family, Carlo Bergonzi or even Antonio Stradivari and were virtually unknown until the 1920s, when they began to be discovered. The 1733 Goffriller cello once owned by Pablo Casals was originally attributed to Bergonzi. His earliest authenticated instrument is a viola da gamba dated 1689.

Goffriller labelsEdit

The standard label for a Goffriller instrument, whether genuine or forged, uses the Latin inscription Mattheus Goffriller Fece in Venezia Anno [date], identifying maker, city (Venice) and year made; the date is either printed or handwritten. But he actually labeled only a small percentage of the instruments in order to avoid paying Venetian taxes.


Pablo Casals's Goffriller 1733 cello was his main concert instrument for most of his professional life. He acquired it in 1913 and played it until his death in 1973. Since 2000, winners of the International Pablo Casals Cello Competition in Kronberg, Germany may use it for two years.[3]Terence Weil played another Goffriller used by Casals before the one he played between 1913 & 1973.[4]

Other notable musicians who have used Goffriller instruments include:

  • George Sopkin
  • Jules Eskin (Principal Cellist of BSO 1964-2016)
  • Goffriller instrumentsEdit


    Sobriquet Year Provenance Notes
    Goffriller violin 1695 currently played by Andrej Power
    Sammons 1696 Kenneth Sillito[5]
    Goffriller violin 1700 ex-Stopak currently played by Aaron Boyd[6]
    Goffriller violin 1700 played by Alexander Yudkovsky since 2008
    Goffriller violin ca. 1700 Stradivari Society played by Michala Høj[7]
    ex-Sivori; ex-Lalo 1700
    Goffriller violin 1700 played on by Jorja Fleezanis
    Goffriller violin 1700 played on by Fanny Clamagirand
    Goffriller violin 1702 played by Jaakko Kuusis
    Goffriller violin 1708 played by Jennifer Pike
    Goffriller violin ca. 1720 Alan Parmenter purchased in 2008 by an anonymous benefactor
    Goffriller violin 1722 stolen from violinist Charmian Gadd in 1999, subsequently recovered[8]
    Goffriller Violin 1723 played by Amanda Favier since 1996
    Goffriller Violin 1730 the Counts of Colloredo Castle, Friuli


    Sobriquet Year Provenance Notes
    Goffriller viola 1727 ex-Walter Trampler measures 41 cm; currently played by Richard O'Neill[9]
    Goffriller viola 1700 Rachel Barton Pine Foundation instrument loan currently played by Matthew Lipman[10]


    Sobriquet Year Provenance Notes
    Goffriller cello 1689 Mischa Maisky currently played by Sevak Avanesyan
    Goffriller cello 1690 previously Sabatier, Axelrod, The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra labeled: Nicolas Amatus, previously played by Maria Kliegel[11]
    Goffriller cello ca. 1700 Antonio Meneses
    Goffriller cello 1693 ex-Leonard Rose; ex-Alfredo Piatti on loan to Leonard Elschenbroich
    Goffriller cello 1693 labeled "Carlo Bergonzi" currently played by Bruno Philippe
    Goffriller cello 1693 Previously owned and played by Mischa Schneider of the Budapest String Quartet features a carved Rosette on the top, under the fingerboard; currently played by Zuill Bailey
    Goffriller cello 1695 played by Anner Bylsma
    Count Marcello 1697 Nicholas Anderson; Count Girolamo Marcello; Aldo Pais of Venice; Irving Klein[12]
    Rosette 1698 Leslie Parnas features a carved rosette decoration
    Goffriller cello 1698 played by Andres Diaz
    Goffriller cello 1698 exhibited at the Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz, Austria
    D'Archambeau ca. 1700 Iwan D'Archambeau played by Jonathan Miller of the Gramercy Trio, Boston Artists Ensemble, and formerly[13] Boston Symphony Orchestra
    Goffriller cello 1700 Ex-Amadeus Quartet played by Christian-Pierre La Marca
    Goffriller cello 1701 played by Gautier Capuçon
    Goffriller cello 1703 Karl Fruh; Raya Garbousova (1930–1951)
    The Star 1705 Janos Starker (1965)[14]
    ex-Warburg 1706 played by François Kieffer (Modigliani Quartet)
    Goffriller cello 1707 Previously Hershel Gorodetzky (now Gordon), The Philadelphia Orchestra & Stringart Quartet. played by Eric Kim
    Goffriller cello 1708 Istituto della Pietà, Venice
    Goffriller cello 1710 played by Matt Haimovitz
    Goffriller cello 1710 played by Anthony Ross, principal cello, Minnesota Orchestra
    Goffriller cello 1710 played by Richard Hirschl, cellist, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    Goffriller cello 1710 played by Xavier Phillips, French cellist
    Goffriller cello 1710 played by Alban Gerhardt, German cellist
    Goffriller cello 1711 played by Marc Coppey
    Goffriller cello 1712 Played by Christoph Croisé
    Goffriller cello 1715 Samsung Foundation of Culture played by Sara Sant'Ambrogio
    Goffriller cello 1715 Stradivari Society
    Goffriller cello 1717 Played by Marie Hallynck[15]
    Goffriller cello 1720 Emanuel Feuermann played by Joseph Schuster
    Goffriller cello 1720 played by Bruno Delepelaire
    Goffriller cello 1720 "ex-Lederlin" currently played by David Delacroix
    Goffriller cello 1722 Yo-Yo Ma played by Valentin Erben
    Gofriller cello 1723 ex-Piatti played by Arkady Orlovsky principal cello, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
    Goffriller cello 1722 played by Pierre Fournier
    ex-Cossmann 1726 played by Carl Fuchs, Jenska Slebos; once thought to be a Bergonzi.[16]
    Saphir; ex-Harvey Shapiro 1727 currently played by Daniel Müller-Schott
    Goffriller cello 1728 Samuel Mayes currently played by Timothy Eddy
    Goffriller cello 1730-1735 “Maddalena” currently owned and played by Robert deMaine
    Gorrfiller cello 1730 Johannes Goritzki currently played by Johannes Goritzki
    Guffy 1730 Johann Sebastian Paetsch played by Gunther Paetsch (1970–1985)
    ex-Pablo Casals 1733 Currently played by Amit Peled; played by Matt Haimovitz; played by Anne Gastinel; played by Claudio Bohorquez.[17]
    Goffriller cello 1734 Nippon Violin currently played by Yuki Ito
    Goffriller cello 1735 Hermann Busch currently played by Matthias Naegele

    Double bassesEdit

    Sobriquet Year Provenance Notes
    Benedetto Marcello 1712 exhibited in at the Venice Conservatory


    1. ^ Dilworth, John (2012). Brompton's Book of Violin and Bow Makers. Usk Publishing. ISBN 9780957349902.
    2. ^ Pio, Stefano (2004). Violin and Lute Makers of Venice 1640-1760. Venice, Italy: Venice research. p. 383. ISBN 978-88-907252-2-7.
    3. ^ Claudio Bohórquez winner of "1. Internationaler Pablo-Casals-Wettbewerb der Kronberg Academy" 2000 (in German)
    4. ^ Obituary Terence Weil The Independent, William Waterhouse, 9 March 1995
    5. ^ "Albert Edward Sammons". The Strad Magazine. 97 (1156). August 1986. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
    6. ^ The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Archived 2015-12-05 at the Wayback Machine
    7. ^ Stradivari Invest Archived 2008-05-10 at the Wayback Machine
    8. ^ "The Little Box That Sings". 2000-12-13. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Missing or empty |series= (help)
    9. ^ The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
    10. ^ Instant Encore, Biography of Matthew Lipman, Viola
    11. ^ "Cello by Matteo Goffriller, 1690c". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
    12. ^ Nicholas Anderson (2005). "The "Count Marcello" Gofriller". Archived from the original on 2005-12-17. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
    13. ^
    14. ^ Katherine Millett. "All Things Strings: Born to Teach, page 3". Strings Magazine. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
    15. ^
    16. ^ "Cello by Matteo Goffriller, 1726 (ex-Cossmann)". Archived from the original on 2007-12-19. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
    17. ^ "Amit Peled Receives Pablo Casals's Cello". Amit Peled Newsletter. 19 May 2003. Retrieved 2007-05-06.


    • Violin and Lute makers of Venice 1640 -176 by Stefano Pio, Ed. Venice research, Venezia 2004
    • Journal of The Violin Society of America, VSA papers Vol. XXI, No. 1 “The Life and Work of Matteo Goffriller of Venice 1659–1742” by Stefano Pio.

    External linksEdit