Annette Stephany became fascinated with luthery at the age of 14 when she met a violin maker, and her father who was very handy introduced her to working with wood. At the age of 21, after high school and some travel, she enrolled in the Luthier School in Mittenwald (Kathrin Hauser happens to have been there at the same time) and completed her course three years later. While at school she worked for the harp maker Eric Kleinmann, from Rangendingen near Stuttgart, and as soon as she finished school she went to apprentice with Italian luthier Lorenzo Frignani in Modena, Italy. She had met Frignani at the Frankfurt Music Fair while at school and had immediately fallen in love with his instruments. She worked out of Frignani’s shop until 2013 (with a one-year interruption, during which she did a restoration course in Bernhard Kresse’s workshop at Cologne). In 2014 she moved to Cologne where she shared a shop with Kresse. She now works on her own in Schweinfurt, Germany.
This is a very exciting instrument that we've just received from Annette. It's our first cedar-top from her ever, and our first ever to be made with Ash for the back and sides – our "first" of this kind from any maker! To be precise, it is bi-colored European flamed ash, which Annette feels makes for a fantastic sounding (and looking) instrument. To complement this beautiful wood, she bound the top and back with rosewood bindings, and used rosewood for the bridge as well since she likes how it blends with the other materials including the darker cedar top. As good as it looks, sound is also great - it's lightly built like a feather, so has a very quick, explosive attack, and rich warm sound with a lot of body. It also has great clarity/separation of voices and a surprising amount of volume. This is a very versatile instrument which would be suitable for any style of music, for solo playing, or in ensemble.