Chicago Sun Time, 23 March 1954
TESTIMONIAL FOR VIOLIN MAKER
His Strings Sing Of His Genius
Violin maker Carl Becker’s own instruments sang of his genius at a testimonial concert here Sunday night.
A crowd of 950 music lovers spilled over onto the stage in Thorne Hall. They honored Becker, 66, for more than half a century of fine craftsmanship in Chicago.
They heard music by Ravel, Schubert and Mendelssohn performed on stringed instruments created by Becker and his son, Carl Jr., 34.
Artists who performed were Daniel Saidenberg, cello; Milton Preves, viola; Oscar and David Chausow, violins, and the Fine Arts Quartet, composed of Leonard Sorkin and Joseph Stepansky, violins; Irving Ilmer, viola, and George Sopkin, cello.
The tall, white-haired Becker appeared to like what he heard. He applauded vigorously after each composition.
Becker is known as much for his ability to repair fine violins as for his new instruments.
And he has no peer in estimating the value of violins, according to Sopkin.
The cellist said Becker once turned this ability into a sizable profit when the owner of violin shop disagreed with him on the value of a certain instrument.
Becker bought it, verified its worth, and later sold it for 10 times its purchase price.
“Once he’s seen a quality instrument, he never forgets it,” Sopkin said. “He will identify it 20 years later in minute detail.”
Becker and his son perform repair work in Chicago at 2660 N. burling but make new instruments in a workshop at pickerel, Wis. The Becker cottage there is aptly named Fiddlesticks.
The veteran craftsman received a plaque hailing him as “a devoted friend of the violin” during an intermission ceremony.
As he accepted the plaque, Becker merely bowed to the audience. He then returned to his seat to let his beloved instruments speak for him.