John was born in Holland in 1942 and has spent much of his life in Australia. He studied cello with the late James Whitehead in Adelaide, South Australia and viola da gamba with Hans Bol, Wieland Kuijken and Johannes Koch; was a professional cellist before taking up instrument making. He worked in Amsterdam with Rudolf van Merrebach, one of Europe’s top Violin and Bass craftsman; studied bow repair and re-hair with Charles Bazin Mirecourt, and then studied for 3 1/2 years at the Mittenwald School of Violinmaking in West Germany for his Violinmaking Certificate where he graduated in 1973. John won the prestigious Violin Making Society of America Workmanship Award, USA, in 1978, and 1982. He has been operating his violinmaking business in Melbourne since 1978, and now operates out of a workshop in partnership with Allegri music school and store in Moonee Ponds, Victoria.
Ferwerda instruments are usually based on the traditional Stradivarius models, although they can be made to other models or copied from existing instruments. John’s instruments have been made for professional musicians and gifted amateurs in Germany, England, Austria, Holland, Israel, New Zealand and Australia. Professional players using Ferwerda instruments come from such groups as the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Elizabethan Trust Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and the Rheinisches Philharmonic Orchestra, Germany. John has had extensive experience within the music industry over his life and is well integrated into the music world of Melbourne. He has spent much of his life striving to further his skills as a violinmaker and to strive towards the future of violinmaking and understanding the working of string instruments.