Quality making and repair of violin family instruments.

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Olivia was recently profiled on CTV Ottawa's Regional Contact.

Watch the short video here to learn more about Olivia, Fine Strings
and the services she offers.


A Luthier

Olivia's stepfather, Seigfried Wagner, was a well known luthier who came to Canada from Antwerp, Belgium in 1952 and worked for many years in Toronto.  Olivia's mother, Ruth Wagner, was an apprentice under Seigfried, and now continues to run Wagner Violins in Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada. Fascinated by the workshop and the instruments created and restored there, Olivia was encouraged to take the 'Stringed Musical Instrument Making' classes at Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) under Phillip Davis (1999-2001), while finishing her Bachelor degrees (B.A.Hons. and B.Ed) at University of Toronto (1995-2001).  Olivia's fascination with making musical instruments only increased and finally in 2006, while living in London, England, she was able to realise her dream of becoming a professional luthier.

From 2006-2008 Olivia studied at Merton College in London, UK under Keith Graves. There she excelled at her three year violin making program, completing it in two years.  In 2007, Olivia's work and potential was recognised by the Rowan Armour-Brown Trust Fund, and she had the opportunity to train in the workshop of luthier Juliet Barker in Cambridge, England as described here.

Olivia moved to Ottawa in 2008 and worked with luthier Guy Harrison. Under the high professional standards of Guy's workshop, Olivia worked on the repair and restoration of all violin family instruments and routinely rehaired bows. In 2009 Olivia established her own independent workshop. She looks forward to collaborating and working with other local and national luthiers (links) in serving the Ottawa music scene.

A Musician

Olivia is also a serious amateur viola player and enjoys playing in groups wherever she lives. While living in Toronto, she played with University of Toronto's Hart House Symphony Orchestra (1995-2001), as well as playing violin at summer weddings with the Muskoka-based Peppermill Players Trio (1997-2001). After moving to Los Angeles in 2001 Olivia played with the Los Angeles Doctor's Symphony Orchestra (2002-2004). When she moved to London, England, Olivia played with the Finchley Chamber Orchestra (2006-2008). In 2009 Olivia joined the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra. Olivia's interests are not limited to classical music, in 1999 a scholarship from the University of Toronto allowed her to study traditional fiddling and step dancing in Scotland at Sabhal Mor Ostaig College on the Isle of Skye. Traditions which she carries on today playing with the Ottawa based folk band The Wayward Sound - you can see a video of them playing by clicking here.

A Community Member

Being an active member of her community has always been close to Olivia's heart. As well as being a member of community orchestras, Olivia was a volunteer violin teacher to disadvantaged and special needs 7-13 year old children  at the Los Angeles based Hollygrove Children's Group Home (2002-2005). As well, Olivia has volunteered as a Girl Guide leader (1998-2001) and at a soup-kitchen run by 'Out of the Cold' (1995-2000) in Toronto. In London, England, Olivia worked with special needs young adults teaching woodworking as a creative outlet and transferable skill set at Merton College (2006-2008). Here in Ottawa Olivia was on the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra's board of directors (2010-2012) and is now a volunteer. From 2011-2016, she also volunteered a few hours each week repairing and maintaining the violins, violas and cellos belonging to the Leading Note Foundation OrKidstra, a charity which gives music lessons to underpriviledged children in Ottawa.
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Olivia Pelling | Luthier
Fine Strings
2116 Fillmore Crescent Ottawa ON K1J 6A4
613.325.0752 olivia@finestrings.ca