People Magazine, April 1974
April 22, 1974.
Jennifer Becker fashioned her first violin at age 10 out of scraps pilfered from the tiny attic workshop on Chicago’s Northside that her grandfather Carl Becker shares with her father, Carl Jr. “We strung it up, and it played,” recalls her father, still savoring his delight. “We decided Jenny had to have her chance.” Now 18, Jennifer has established herself as the third generation in a family of violin makers whose tradition of excellence began in 1901, when her grandfather crafted his first violin. Experts predict that the best of roughly 800Becker violins, cellos and violas that have followed over the past 70 years will take a place in history beside the legendary instruments of Stradivari, Guarneri and Amati. Carl Jr., in fact, was entrusted with the year-long restoration of the1721 Stradivarius “The Lady Blunt” which then resold for a record-breaking $200,000.
Jennifer’s intensely patient dedication to her craft-it takes years of carving and varnishing to make a perfect instrument-might be camouflaged by her casual blue jeans and granny glasses. But only a precisionist would describe her height as she does, as “five feet eleven and nine-sixteenths inches.” Her studies in a local Lutheran high school completed, Jennifer is free to devote full time to building a group of six violins-a commission she landed at the unheard-of age of 15. “We may have to rename the firm ‘Carl Becker and Son and Granddaughter,’”chuckles a proud papa.