The Liuto-forte Team

The Liuto forte team consists of independent master instrument builders and the sales and marketing firm Liuto forte GmbH, in addition to external advisors who play an active supporting role in research and further development.

On behalf of André Burguete’s trading company, the Liuto forte manufactory in Dresden, headed by Michael Haaser, makes all models of the Liuto forte. Research and development are coordinated in close cooperation between André Burguete and the instrument makers.

André Burguete

Lutenist and musicologist

Born in St Petersburg, of Spanish-German extraction, he grew up in Dresden.

Lute, guitar, counterpoint and musicological studies in Weimar and Leipzig. Between 1989 and 1997 he headed the Institute for Lute Research – Akademie Weiss in the Parc de Schoppenwihr near Colmar, France.

André Burguete is chiefly active as a soloist and belongs among the well-known interpreters in his field. In 1991 he was honoured with the RegioMusikpreis in Basel, and in Oxford in 1995 with the European Prize for outstanding cultural Achievement.

Since the age of 20, André Burguete has devoted himself to performance on lute instruments, research into their history and investigation of their repertoire. Practical experience over many years with the original lutes of the 18th century convinced him of their advantages and their limitations.

The restrictions which these instruments impose on the creative impulses schooled in 19th and 20th century music became increasingly oppressive. Given the choice between abandoning the lute and extending its capacities, he decided on the latter. He thus initiated the development of the liuto forte and remains the driving force behind the project.

Michael Haaser

Plucked instrument maker

Born in Dresden, trained in guitar making at the Fachhochschule fuer Musikinstrumentenbau Markneukirchen. Lives and works in Dresden.

He completed his further training as lutemaker with Prof. Guenter Mark in Elsa.

Michael Haaser has been with the Liuto forte team since 2000. With his persevering experimentation he has considerably enriched this instrument. His liuti forti, built with the highest precision, come up always with new refinements in sound.

Prof. Günter Mark

Lute and viol maker

Born in Krummenaab, studied mathematics in Erlangen and in 1982 received his doctorate in Giessen. Since 1978 he has devoted himself, at first part time, to the building, rebuilding and scientific documentation of historical musical instruments. He received basic training as a lutemaker from Robert Lundberg (Portland, USA). Since 1984, Guenter Mark has been building lutes and viols in Erlangen, Utrecht and Elsa. In 2005 he was appointed honorary professor for Historical Musical Instrument Building at the Westsaechsischen Hochschule Zwickau.

Guenter Mark enjoys an international reputation as one of the most prominent specialists in historical musical instrument building. His lutes, theorbos and viols are played world-wide by musicians in historical performance practice.

The construction of the first prototypes of the Liuto forte with its completely new sound possibilities posed a special challenge for him.

Today Günter Mark is no longer involved in the production of Liuti forti, but continues to act as a consultant for the company.

Benno Streu (1927 – 2007)

Development engineer

Born in Mannheim, he supervised the Liuto forte project as developmental engineer.

Trained in precision technology and electronics. Until his retirement in 1989 he headed the Development Laboratory of an internationally renowned manufacturer of precision and medical equipment in Freiburg/Breisgau.

Since 1959, Benno Streu concerned himself with acoustics and the restoration of musical instruments, particularly the Spanish guitar, and belonged to the world’s greatest experts on this instrument. His deep knowledge of the vibration character of soundboard of plucked instruments was crucial in the construction of the liuto forte.

In memoriam Benno Streu

For some people Benno Streu was a magician, for some a charlatan, and for others a genius. Already after a couple of months of collaboration with him I knew for sure that that the latter assessment was the correct one.

To be able to influence and control the sound of a musical instrument after its having been put together is something which customers quietly like to believe their instrument makers can do. The makers themselves prefer not to say too much about it, which allows for certain real abilities on their part, but equally for certain delusions on the part of their customers.

If it is true that the art of a great instrument maker consists not in every now and again producing a great instrument but to be able to do so regularly and without fail, then this actual capacity of affecting and controlling the sound after construction of the instrument gains immense importance.

Benno Streu was not an instrument maker but an engineer. A guitar he had once bought and whose tone had left him feeling uneasy for years led him to make investigations into the cause of this dissatisfaction. This was the beginning of an incredible journey into ever deeper understanding of the functioning of plucked instruments.

At the time of my meeting him and his wonderful wife Gisela he was at the height of his powers of discovery: like a physician, making not only infallible diagnoses but able to act at once and remove the complaint. I have often enough seen how Benno Streu, reminding one of an accomplished acupuncturist, took on finished instruments with greater or lesser blockages and faults, or whose potential had not been able to fully develop; the results amazed not only the grateful owners but also the makers, some of whom immediately became his pupils. Others remained sceptical.

For those who knew Benno Streu it is unnecessary to stress what a brilliant craftsman and sensitive restorer he was. Perhaps his most far-reaching discovery was deciphering the secret of wood pairings and string structure which had been used during the ages of the lute’s flourishing. This is now applied in the making of every Liuto forte. Without the advice and practical assistance of Benno Streu the vision of a new lute would have remained no more than a beautiful dream. For me, his name shines brightly among the finest of lute and guitar builders.

André Burguete