The Vancouver International Guitar Festival, June 23-25 is proud to present its inaugural Luthier Industry Builder Award to Jean-Claude Larrivée, Friday June 23 at the Luthier Conference. The award is presented on the 50th Anniversary of Larrivée Guitars in honour of his significant and lasting contribution to the evolution of the guitar building industry. Special tributes from John Larrivee’s proteges include Linda Manzer, David Iannone, Grit Laskin and Sergie De Yonge.
It’s fitting that the award ceremony take place in British Columbia, the province where Jean launched his company to the international market. Larrivée manufactured guitars in BC from 1977-2013. Since 1967, Jean Larrivée has been building some of the finest guitars in the world. His legendary craftsmanship can be found on every instrument that bears his name. Jean's deep passion and lifetime of experience continues to inspire and inform a new generation of talented guitars makers.
At the age of 20, trained as a mechanic with no prior musical training, Larrivée decided to study classic guitar at the Royal Conservatory of Music. He apprenticed intermittently during the late1960s with Edgar Münch, a German guitar builder then living in Toronto. Larrivée also worked in New York with Manuel Valasquez before opening his own studio in Toronto in 1968, producing about 30 instruments a year.
With guidance from Matt Umanov in New York, he began making steel-string instruments in 1970, modifying the Martin design. In 1977, Larrivée moved to Victoria, BC, and established a workshop which, by 1979, had 16 workers and an annual production of 1,000 guitars. In 1982, he relocated the company, Jean Larrivée Guitar Ltd, to North Vancouver, and subsequently produced several styles of steel-string guitars. In 2001, Larrivée opened a second factory in Oxnard, California, where he continues to build high-end acoustic guitars.