Sam Laming

2021 QEST William Parker Scholar - Musical Instrument Making

Sam is a luthier, making baroque-era stringed and bowed instruments and specialising in the englishe violet. He is also interested in other sympathetic string instruments. 

Sam started his career by working as a music teacher, before completing a Musical Instrument Making course at Merton College (South Thames). Next he enrolled on the two-year FDA in Historic Craft Practice (Musical Instruments) at West Dean College, where he began specialising in the englishe violet. He has completed his first year and a QEST Scholarship will fund his second year. It will also support further studies of the englishe violet at museums in Prague and Nuremburg. He will take measuring tools and equipment so he can create accurate records of the instruments, while also studying their history and makers. These collections include some of the best examples of violets from Europe’s most prolific maker, Paulus Aletsee, and Europe’s finest maker Johannes Udalricus Eberle.  

After completing his scholarship, Sam aspires to become the leading expert and authority on englishe violets and his research will inform his craft practice. He also plans to make barytons, octave barytons, lirone, and other instruments of historical significance, thereby preserving our understanding of these instruments for generations to come.  

In a world where ‘everything’s been done before’ and we’re one Google search away from ‘knowing all’ about something, it’s such a pleasure to be making and researching utterly incredible instruments, about which so little is known, and to be slowly uncovering their character, construction and history.