Our History


The International Society of Violin and Bow Makers, known informally as the Entente (EILA.org), was established in 1950. Its members are master makers trained in the use of traditional techniques using basic hand tools passed from generation to generation. The Entente was established to support and protect these time-honored methods that created the finest instruments and bows ever made. There are now 161 members from 25 countries. 

Over the past 40 years, increasing threats to the stocks of natural resources used in instrument and bow making have led to restrictions on the materials used to create and maintain these cultural treasures.

We have had to adapt to increasing constraints on ivory, mother of pearl, tortoiseshell, pernambuco, ebony, and rosewood. Before long, maple and spruce may be added to this list.

Musicians as well as violin and bow makers have struggled to keep up with constantly changing international and intra-national regulations designed to protect natural species. As the demand for these materials grows and more pressure is put on the environment, policies affecting the musical instrument trade are likely to become more restrictive.

The Creation of the Alliance

The seeds of the Alliance go back to 2012 when the Entente and other professional organizations began to collaborate on conservation projects. Recognizing the severity of these challenges, in 2018 the International Alliance of Violin and Bow Makers for Endangered Species was created as an adjunct to the Entente, whose history, reputation, and international nature gave it a unique advantage in this role. Alliance members include instrument and bow making organizations, members of, and suppliers to, the trade, music performance organizations, and individuals.

In 2021 the Alliance was reorganized to better coordinate and direct fundraising to support the projects underway and in the planning stages. Today, independent national chapters are being organized as non-profit organizations operating under the direction of an international headquarters.

members of the alliance usa
The Alliance-International is now a 501(C)3, with the goals of working in full cooperation with our international partners, welcoming many new members and expanding our conservation efforts.