|James was born in Seattle, Washington, USA. In 1971, upon the advice of Mrs. Wurlitzer, in New York City (where he was living) he bought one way passage on board the "Michaelangelo" to study violin making in Cremona, Italy. He studied at the violinmaking school with Gio Batta Morassi, Pietro Sgarabotto and Francesco Bissolotti until 1973, and worked in the shop of Stefano Conia.
After finishing the school, he left Italy and moved to London where he worked for Malcolm Sadler, Alan Mann, Brian Parkinson and James Black at Ealing Strings, one of the most famous violin shops in the U.K. At this shop James made a large number of violins and violas as well as learning the set up and restoration techniques of W.E. Hill and Sons (the partners at Ealing Strings all trained at Hills). Later, with Norelle C.Hardy he opened a violin shop right on the famous Portobello Road in London (Cranston Workshop). The other partners involved in this business were Adam Whone, Martin Godliman and Paul Ayers. Charles Beare judged his craftsmanship to be the best, three times, in violinmaking competitions in Newark. The five + years he worked in London were a great experience for him, but there was a lot more to come.
Following the old European tradition of craftsmen working in a number of different shops to gain experience (this is the original meaning of the term' Tour de France', where 'compagnonnages' or itinerant workmen traveled from chapter house to chapter house, learning a craft and meeting fellow craftsmen in French Guilds) he later worked at Jacques Francois's violin shop and with Mosa Havivi in New York City. Afterwards, he worked at famous violin shops in Tokyo (Kanda & Co.), Boston (Johnson Stringed Instruments), Portland (Paul Schuback Violins), Singapore (Cremona Violin Shop) and Hawaii, before emmigrating to Australia in the 90's.
James has owned other violin shops in the past; in Honolulu, Hawaii, in London as a founding partner of Cranston Violin Shop and in Sydney (Clovelly), Australia.
It's been a thrill for him to have worked on so many fine instruments and bows over the years. Now, he is thrilled to open his own violin shop in beautiful Chatswood, New South Wales, and continue his lifes' work here in service to Sydney's many fine string players and also those from around Australia and the world by taking care of their instruments as well as making many fine sounding new instruments and bows.
James Robinson's Awards
- The Violin Society of America's 42nd Annual Convention and 21st International Competition in Indianapolis, Indiana, 2014. James Robinson submitted a viola (made in 2013) in the competition and was awarded the Silver Medal for its Tone.
- Second American Cello Competition : Finalist in the professional cello making competition. Sponsored and judged by The Federation of American Violin Makers. Judges: Rene Morel, William Moennig Jr. Indianapolis, Indiana, 1986.
- International Violin Making Competition; First Place (Professional Class) in the cello making craftsmanship and tone competition. Judges: Charles Beare, Derek Kessler. Newark, England, 1978.
- International Violin Making Competition; First Place in the Viola making competition. Judges: Charles Beare, Derek Kessler, William Luff and Harry Danks. Newark, England, 1978.
- International Violin Making Competition; Second Place (Professional Class) in the violin making competition, Judges; Charles Beare Derek Kessler,William Luff and Harry Danks. Newark,England, 1975.
Dictionary Listings And Publications of James Robinson
- Thomas Weinberg (1986). The Violin Makers of the United States, (Mt. Hood: Mt. Hood Publishing Co.)
- B.W. Harvey (1992). The Violin and Its Makers in the British Isles, (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
- Alan Coggins (2009). Violin and Bow Makers of Australia, (www.writelight.com.au: Writelight Pty. Ltd.)
- M.A. Alburger (1978). The Violin Makers: Portrait of a Living Craft,(London: Victor Gollancz Ltd.) Pages138-142.
- Mark Horsborough (2000) . A Profile of Far North Queensland Agribusiness Industries (Brisbane: Department of Primary Industries Publications).
This project was undertaken while a part time lecturer at James Cook University. Acted as the Team Leader and facilitator of the marketing research team that gathered and compiled all the data for this publication.
James believes that a healthy lifestyle is also a full one and he has other interests outside of his work. These include:
- Graduated with a B.Sc. degree with double majors in Psychology and Horticulture from the University of The State of New York in 1991 and an MBA degree in International Business and Negotiation from James Cook University in 1999.
- Graduate Certificate in Strategy and Competitive Advantage, online/distance study Cardian University.
- Lectured in the Business School of James Cook University, Cairns (Marketing and Organizational Development)
- CELTA Certificate in TESOL, Brisbane 2005.
- Practitioner Certificate in NLP (1991) -Neuro Linguistic Programming
- Studied bowmaking with Michael Taylor (U.K.) and Martin Devillers (U.S.)
- Studied Guitar Making with Jeffrey Elliot and Cindy Burton (U.S)
- Taught violin/guitar making (part-time) at the TAFE college at Marleston.
- Taught various Business subjects at The Adelaide College of Technology and the TAFE college in Marleston, Adelaide. (Part time).
- Certificate: Meditation Facilitator/Trainer. Nature Care College, Sydney, 2014.
- Certificate: Hypnosis in Hypnotherapy. Taught by Michael Yapko, Ph.D at Melbourne, 2014.
- Professional EEG Biofeedback Certification Training. Taught by John S, Anderson, MA. Minnesota Neuro-Training Institute in Washington, D.C. 2014.
- Certificate: Jewellery Designing with Rhino 5.0 and Rhino Gold. Sydney Design Institute, Newtown, 2014.
- He has (for decades) a keen interest in Chinese Medicine and Shiatsu especially in how this relates to musicians' overuse injuries, and graduated as a Practitioner at Chinese Medicine schools in Japan, Singapore and Hawaii