He was raised among centuries-old maple wood from Bosnia, fir trees from Italy, bows, violins and cellos, in the workshop of Diego del Valle, a luthier but also his father and teacher, from whom he learned the trade and with whom he shares his passion and profession. Andrea, the youngest of the Del Valle Schudtz family he arrives “stomping hard”, assures his father. And it is that getting up with one bronze medal in the contest par excellence of luthería It is not a minor work. “Finishing a piece that you have made with your own hands is an enormous satisfaction”, indicates andrea del valle, who managed to sneak into the top three with a viola baptized as “La Santina”, a tribute to Asturias (in reference to the nickname with which the Virgin of Covadonga is popularly known). The Pisogne competition held in Cremona, cradle of luthería, hosted in May about 600 participants, a competition that brings together hands that make “wooden jewelry from logs one meter and 20 centimeters in diameter,” says the craftsman.
However, the path to bronze has not been without difficulty: 7 months of work, dedication and self-demand, accompanied by the wise advice of the maestro, who has dedicated half her life to luthería, made Andrea del Valle, at only 20 years old, carve out a place among veterans. “I feel like the little one in this world. Most luthiers are my father’s age“, says the young woman, who at the age of 16 was clear that she wanted to continue the family tradition, something that caught her father by surprise. “My father was surprised that I followed in his footsteps. It is something that you have to like and not everyone is satisfied, but for me, seeing the result of something that I have done with my hands, with my head, is a great satisfaction”, adds the young woman.
Del Valle wanted to surpass herself and measure herself against the best, and following her father’s advice, she decided to embark on an adventure. “She wanted to know how far she could go and the best way to be able to do something well is to know that there is someone else who can do it better than you. That’s why I encouraged her to enter the contest,” explains the teacher, who, endorsed by his own experience, the result of his career and having participated in up to five different competitions, he rejected a first viola made by his daughter. “When she finished it, I told her that I didn’t like it, that it wasn’t for the contest. She insisted, but I know what the jury is looking for. I recommended that she redo it and then we presented the new instrument. We didn’t even imagine the end,” says the luthier.
A summer tour of renowned cities in Italy, together with the winning instruments of the contest, put the finishing touch on an unforgettable experience for the young woman, who he already dreams of his next piece: a cello. “I haven’t made any yet, it’s a bigger instrument, so it’s a challenge, but I’ll go little by little,” he says.
Perfection and taking care of even the smallest detail are some of the requirements that the demanding jury demands of the participants, values that Diego del Valle transmits to his daughter every day in his workshop. A temple of music located at number 35 Azcárraga street, in Oviedo, where they have come from pieces dedicated to princess Leonor or instruments played by virtuosos such as the Oviedo violist Jesús Rodolfo, who fulfilled his dream by having a replica of a palatine viola thanks to the luthier.
Sturgeon cartilage tail, handmade varnishes with amber resin or exotic woods like the pernambuco, they are the instruments between which father and daughter manage, who share space and trade but also mutual admiration. “It’s a triumph for both of us, my father and me. I’ve won thanks to him and everything I’ve learned from him,” underlines the young woman whose teacher does not hesitate to highlight the effort behind the feat. “He has won for her, he devoted himself entirely. Even, the instrument got an honorable mention for acoustics“.
Taking care of every detail to the maximum, improving until achieving a result worthy of the most demanding ears, of those who come to listen to the instrument, the one that the del Valle family has been working on for decades. From grandfather, Pavel Schudtz, to granddaughter, Andrea del Valle. Third generation of luthiers that guarantee the continuity of the saga. “The future is assured,” exclaims his father.
Andrea del Valle, luthier at the age of 20 and awarded in Italy for a viola made with her own hands: “I was born in the workshop and I want to continue here”