"I find his instruments to be beautiful visually and tonally. His traditional approach to instrument making and varnishing, as well as reasonable pricing, makes his instruments a wise and secure investment."
- Associate Professor of Viola, Moores School of Music, Univ. of Houston
"What impresses me the most about Dorian Barnes is his appreciation for, and ability to create, quality sound. Whether listening to one of his own instruments or working with him in adjusting a violin, it is apparent that Dorian uses the sound of the old, great, masters as his template. He is extraordinarily patient and works hand in hand with musicians in search of the best possible results."
- Kathleen Winkler - Professor of Violin Shepherd School of Music - MS 532 Rice University, Guest Professor of Violin Beijing Central Conservatory, China
Dorian Barnes was born in Philadelphia, PA the youngest of three children to concert pianist, Sheryll McManus and violist, Darrel Barnes. Grandfather Ray M. Barnes was a violinist, amateur violin maker and is listed as a maker in John Fairfield’s Known Violin Makers. His grandmother Ernestine was the first female member of the Detroit Symphony, playing French horn.
Dorian grew up playing piano. He spent a few years learning violin and French horn as well. At the age of 15 he started as an apprentice at Casa del Sol Violins in Indianapolis, IN. He worked there until attending violin making at Indiana University. He graduated with a Bachelors degree and began working for Consort International, the makers of Sofia Violins in 1994. During this time, he continued working for Casa del Sol and working with makers such as Mark T. Womack and Alex Leyvand. Dorian Barnes is the Director of Workshop Operations for Lisle Violin Shop in Houston, Texas where he has worked since 2002.
Dorian’s instruments have been described as “powerful” and “sensitively responsive.” His instruments are owned by members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Greater Trenton Symphony Orchestra (New Jersey), Mercury Baroque Ensemble (Houston), and professional players in New York, Texas, Missouri, Indiana as well as the Dominican Republic. In 2006 he received a Certificate for Tone award at the Violin Society of America competition in Baltimore, MD. Dorian is also sought after as a lecturer and has presented bridge carving demonstrations as well as sound adjustments seminars to HISD music teachers as well as to surrounding school districts.
Dorian has continued to expand his knowledge by attending Violin Making Workshops such as Oberlin College, an annual workshop that attracts the finest makers from around the world and Violin Varnishing Workshops taught by Joe Robeson, Marilynn Wallin and Todd Goldenberg. He has also studied privately with renowned maker Raymond Schryer.
In addition, Dorian loves the outdoors and enjoys grilling as well as both freshwater and saltwater fishing. He volunteers as a mentor in Boys To Men Texas, which is a year long commitment and outreach program to teenage boys in the local community. But Dorian is especially a proud father of four creative and talented kids: Nicholas, Tristan, Madalynn, and Gabriella.