Viola Maker

Charles Rufino makes concert violas with traditional techniques and materials. After a European apprenticeship begun in 1974, he restored instruments in the finest shops of Europe and the United States, absorbing the wisdom of the Golden Age of violin making. Ten years of study established a basis for the creation of his new instruments. He has worked in the New York area since 1983.

16″ 2021 Solo Viola

16.5″ 2019 Solo Viola

Fine Violas

Charles Rufino’s violas rival the masterpieces of the great Italian makers of the 18th Century. The variety found in the viola allows him to create instruments with superb beauty of tone. His violas display great responsiveness, clarity, and a focused tone whether at ppp or FFF. They can deliver the power and projection needed for orchestral or solo settings, as well as the colorful and subtly tonal character more suitable for chamber music. A Charles Rufino viola offers an elegant and flexible tone couple to unparalleled playing comfort to the player.

As flexible as his violas are, it’s important to note that no one instrument can do all things perfectly for all players. To meet the requirements of different musicians, he offers his Studio and Soloist models. Additionally, if you desire a particular outcome, you can discuss them with Charles, who will be happy to collaborate to create a custom instrument to suit your unique preferences.

Handmade Violas

Charles Rufino’s fine violas are beloved by classical musicians for their unparalleled tone and playability. From the earliest steps of designing a new viola through the final stages of varnishing and setup, his unwavering focus on the needs of the player result in superb instruments with marvelous tone and are comfortable to play. His unremitting attention to detail ensures the violist will have the security of an instrument that will never let them down. The resulting freedom in performance is why demanding professional musicians in New York know and trust his instruments, which are regularly featured in live concerts, recordings, film scores, and radio and television broadcasts.

As delightful as these handmade violas are to play, they are also beautiful to look at. Charles uses the finest aged tonewood to create one-of-a-kind works of art. A varnish made by Charles himself is applied to enhance instrument tone and created an object of lasting visual beauty. A Charles Rufino violin is handmade with love and crafted to be cherished for lifetimes. They are an excellent choice as a primary instrument or as a companion to give your antique instrument a rest.

If you would like to arrange to play one of Charles’ fine violins, or have any questions, please contact Charles at or by calling 212-581-6226.