Stavros Toutalas was born in a small village in Serres, a city in the Northern Greece (map). At a very early age he developed an interest in music and at the tender age of 8 he started making instruments using several types of wood.

In 1964 he bought his first bouzouki and the following year while working as a carpenter (that’s where he had his first encounter with wood sculpting) he met Dimitri Konstantinou a soldier from Agrinio serving in Serres. This acquaintance proved to be determinative since Dimitri offered his knowledge of the Bouzouki bounteously to Stavros.

At 16 he met Christoforo Moutafi who came from Turkey and together they would play live in several places for the next 2 years.

He eventually settled in the nearby city of Drama and continue to play in local places, festivals etc.

At 24 the lid of his bouzouki broke and he had to go to Thessaloniki to have it repaired. On the way back and after having spent almost a week’s salary for the repair, he promised him self he would never go to another repairman again. A dream had begun!

During the following years, he rented a place in Drama, got the materials and began experimenting in fixing and creating a bouzouki from scratch. Needless to say he totally devoted himself in bringing his dream to life. His reputation grew and soon, many well known artists would go to him to order new instruments or repair their existing ones. This reputation grew out of Greece as well and he started receiving visits and phone calls from people all across the globe. From Germany Saudi Arabia and Turkey all the way to the U.S Sweden and Australia.

What made his craftsmanship unique was not only the fact that he also designed the Figures on the bouzouki but also the fact that his instruments had a unique sound. He is also well known to the Pontic Community as his Lyres are widely used by very many popular Lyra players in Greece and abroad. He also develops several other instruments as Santouri, Outi, Tzoura, Baglama, Saz, Cretan and Steriana Laouta and many others. He has also developed 9 unique in the world Tzourobouzouka. A proud owner of one of them is the multitalented Christos Nikolopoulos.

Today he resides and works in Unna, Germany just a few kilometers away from Dortmund. See the map here for detailed instructions for your visit. (

It is also worth to mention that 5 generations ago, the grandfather of Stavro’s grandfather, Stavros Christoforou was one of the biggest organ makers of Constantinople between 1844-1868.

In 1868 after a commotion between the Turks and the Russians, Stavros Christoforou moved with his family in Eastern Thrace in an area known as Ahmed Bay.

After a peregrination at the archives and museums of Constantinople Stavros Toutalas discovered, much to his disappointment that there was a fire in the Library of Constantinople in 1869. As a result all the archives of the life and works of Stavros Christoforou were lost. The existing archives are from 1879 and after, with very important references in the Venios Family as well as many other well known organ makers of that time.