Luthier John Montgomery inspects the strings on the 1697 “Castelbarco” cello made by Cremonese master Antonio Stradivari, one of five Stradivari instruments originally donated to the Library by Gertrude Clarke Whittall in 1935. According to her bequest, the instruments would be played from time to time, as they were intended. To that end, she established the Whittall Foundation, an endowment to finance professional in-house use of the instruments and concerts for the public.
John Montgomery is fully trained in both instrument making and restoration and has been working since 1977 when he began as a Watson Fellow studying Hurdy Gurdy construction in France. He attended the Violin Making School of America in Salt Lake City, Utah, and trained under William Monical in New York City. He has been a member of the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers since 1987. In 1983, he established John Montgomery Inc. in Raleigh, N.C.