Matthew Zeller

Musicologist and Organologist

Organologist, musicologist, violin historian, and bow maker. Musical instrument research and writing, specializing in Italian violins from Cremona, the development of the modern bow, advances in woodwind technology, the bassoon and tenoroon, and material science and technology and musical development.


Matthew Zeller is a musicologist, organologist, violin historian, and bow maker.  Matt's work has been featured by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Google Cultural Institute, National Music Museum, and The Strad. Matt has worked extensively with the instruments of Andrea Amati and the Amati family, the founding fathers of the Cremonese school of violin making. He has developed new theories and techniques for evaluating instrument design and condition issues, as well as helping to pioneer new ultraviolet fluorescence research techniques and their applications to musical instruments. He has worked broadly with X-ray and CT scan technologies in organological research. Matt authors articles and technical drawings, presents at conferences and workshops related music and musical instruments, and is working toward the completion of a book on the instrument designs of the Amati family.

Matt is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in musicology at Duke University. His dissertation, “The Emancipation of Timbre,” focuses on timbre’s functional role in musical logic in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century music. He holds a master's degree in music specializing in musical instrument history from the University of South Dakota, where he worked at the National Music Museum. He studied music composition at North Carolina School of the Arts, film and media production at the University of Utah, and museum studies at Northwestern University.

Matt trained in bow making under Jean Grunberger at the Bow Making School of America and has studied violin and bow restoration in various professional settings including the VSA/Oberlin workshops, where he has been a participant in both the making and restoration sections. Prior to his bowed string instrument training, Matt studied brass and woodwind restoration and was a member of the National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians.

Matt founded and acted as music director of the Charlotte Youth Chamber Strings, a string orchestra for advanced high school students, and was appointed music director with Sizzling Strings Youth Orchestra in Charlotte, North Carolina for two years.