STRING Magazine, August 2006
STRING Magazine, August 2006
An American Legent
Carl Becker & Son
in part of a family dynasty of violin
makers that spans three generations
Carl Becker & Son是一個跨越了三代的提琴家族王朝的一部分。
I'm Carl Becker." The voice comes from the back of the hall, deliberate and clear despite the slight tremor of age. Heads turn, a murmer swells through the crowd. Before the elderly violin maker can address the lecturer, a burst of spontaneous applause grows into a resounding ovation. This man has set the standard of excellence for decades.
STRINGS 2006, August/September
STRINGS 2006, August/September The lecture hall is in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The attendees are members of the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers, master craftspeople gathered this spring from across North America to mark the AFVBM's 25th anniversary. The group has undertaken the first wide-ranging study of violin making in this country, a project that includes public concerts, exhibitions, and an important series of lectures and panel discussions on making in America. In a moving ceremony at the Library's Great Hall, the Federation also acknowledges Becker and William Salchow as deans of American violin and bow making. "You know what that means," Salchow tells Becker. "We're a couple of old fossils!" Neither craftsman seems in danger of becoming a relic. Salchow recently spent his 80th birthday teaching bow-making classes while the 86-year-old Becker is making instruments at the family workshop in northern Wisconsin. As a young maker, Charles Rufino once asked violin expert Charles Beare to name the greatest living violin maker. Beare had replied, Carl Becker. “I remember the first time I saw Carl, at the first Triennale [lutherie competition], where he was judging," continues Rufino, who later worked for Becker in the 1980s. "When someone pointed out 'That's Carl Becker,' I went, 'Oh my goodness.” "It struck me: he looked like nothing other than a gentle, kind scoutmaster. He was just a good, earnest, kind, gentle man." In a country where children are not obliged to take up their parents' work and no formal violin-making training was available until the 1970s, the Beckers are a rare breed: a family of American-born, American-trained makers. "Their tradition spans the entire 20th century," says Rufino, starting in 1901 when Carl Becker Sr. made his first violin at age 14. Carl Jr. marks 70 years at the bench this summer and his children Jennifer am! Paul are carrying on the trade with Jenny making violins fulltime in Minneapolis and Paul having recently opened a branch of the Chicago-based Carl Becker & Son violin shop in the National Concert Hall in Taipei, Taiwan. Carl Becker Jr. took time to reflect on the, family tradition In a series of phone interviews, from the summer workshop his lather built in 1924 in Pickerel, Wisconsin, where he has returned to full-time work at the bench. For Becker, the family tradition starts with his great-grandfather, Herman Macklett, who came from Germany In the 1860s, settling in Chicago. Macklett started as an upholsterer but a few years later was making volins-quire Hood ones. “He evidently had a gift for figuring things out. We're no: sure where he trained, or if he did train," says Becker. “My father figured he really learned from old Instruments. He saw a resemblance in his late scrolls to Joseph Rocca.” Even at that time. Chicago would have afforded a talented craftsman access to fine Instruments, a crucial element in a maker’s development. All three generations of Beckers have spent decades studying, repairing, and restoring the best instruments of the 16th through 20th centuries.
演講大廳位於美國華盛頓特區的議會圖書館，而與會者都是美國提琴與琴弓製作協會的成員。在這個春天，這些樂器製作者們從美國各個地方趕來，聚集在一起慶祝協會成立25周年。該協會在美國開展了第一次大規模的提琴製作研究，活動包括公眾音樂會、展會和一系列有關美國提琴製作的演講和小組討論。在圖書館大廳舉行的慶典上，協會宣佈Becker和William Salchow為美國提琴和琴弓製作協會院長。“你知道這意味著什麼，”Salchow對Becker說，“我們都是老骨頭了。”然而兩位製琴大師似乎都不會成為歷史殘骸。Salchow最近在教授琴弓製作課程中渡過了他的八十大壽，而八十六歲的老Becker還在位於美國北部的威斯康辛州的家族作坊裏製作樂器。年輕的製琴師Charles Rufino曾經要求世界提琴權威Charles Bearer 說出在世的最偉大的提琴製作大師。Charles Bearer的回答：卡爾貝克(Carl Becker。) “我記得第一次見到Carl Becker的時候是在第一屆Triennale（樂器製作比賽）上。他是裁判。”在上個世紀的八十年代為Becker效力過的Charles Rufino繼續說道，“當有人告訴我，那就是Carl Becker時，我只會不停興奮地讚嘆’喔！我的天......’” “令我吃驚的是，他看上去就是個溫和善良的老童。他是這麼善良，溫和，認真的紳士。”在這個國家，孩子們不會被強迫從事父母們的職業，而在20世紀70年代以前尚沒有提琴製作的正式培訓。然而Becker家族是一個絕世家族：一個在美國誕生且在美國發展壯大的家族。“他們的傳統跨越了整個20世紀。”Rufino介紹道。1901年，老Carl Becker在他14歲的時候製作了自己的第一架提琴。而如今小Carl已工作臺上渡過了整整70年，他的孩子Jennifer和Paul都繼續從事這一行業，Jenny在明尼波利斯全職製作提琴，而Paul最近為總部位於芝加哥的貝克父子提琴店在臺北的“國家音樂廳”開設了一個分店。小Carl Becker抽出時間來，在一連串的電話訪談中回顧了其家族歷史，而故事是從1924年父親在威斯康辛州的Pickerel成立夏日作坊開始的，小Carl Becker就是在這裏開始了全職的提琴製作。對於Becker來說，家族的歷史其實是從他的曾祖父Herman Macklett開始的。曾祖父在19世紀60年代從德國來到美國，在芝加哥安家立業。Macklett最初是一名傢俱商，但是幾年之後，他開始製作提琴——非常精美的提琴。 “顯然，他非常善於思考。我們都不確定他在哪里接受培訓的，或者他是否接受過培訓。”Becker介紹道，“我的父親認為他是從古老的樂器中獲取靈感的。他從Joseph Rocca的樂譜卷軸中看到了一些相似之處。”即使在那個時候，芝加哥仍然可以給一個有天賦的製琴工匠機會接觸製作精良的樂器，而這對一名樂器製作者的成長來說非常關鍵。Becker家族祖孫三代幾十年來一直在不斷地研究，修補和修復16世紀到20世紀製作的精湛樂器。
As with most businesses, the axiom "follow the money" applies to violins and by the 1860s the money was in Chicago. As the western hub of transportation and trade in America, Chicago grew from just 350 souls in 1833 to an astonishing 300,000 at the time of the Great Fire of 1871. Musical culture flourished, served by such storied firms as Lyon Healy, founded in 1864; John Hornsteiner; and William Lewis and Son.
Carl Sr. worked for them all. Macklett's shop burned in the Great Fire, hut according to family lore, the luthier managed to survive the disaster financially by gathering up his tools and some violins and escaping to safety. The Beckers still own two of Macklett's violins and have seen others. -There was a steady improvement in his work and his ideas," says Becker. "It all became more and more refined as he got older."
"A lot of his learning was just observation and he was talented enough to make use of his observations and his thoughts. You'll hear me talk about that with my dad's work. I like that; I like to feel that he was my ancestor because of that."
Macklett's daughter Adeline inherited his capable nature. "If there was something [in the house] needed fixing she's the one that got out the hammer and the saw. She did some bow rehairing. And she was the most wonderful person, so level-headed. Her attitude was calm and steady."
Adeline married German violinist Carl Johannes Becker. "My grandfather added some musical talent; that runs through our family, Becker describes him as a well-trained, highly expressive player, who inspired the :Best in those he accompanied.
Their son, Carl G. Becker, was always making things in grammar school, especially kites, which he sold for a penny or two apiece. "That's as far as he went," says Carl Jr. "But in those days, grammar school was a real school. It was a good education at that time; far better than what --the kids get now."
Carl Sr. made his first violin in 1901 as an -entice in the shop of W.T. Lane, begin, a lifelong fascination with violins. "He couldn't pass an instrument without looking it and deciding for himself what it was," CarI Jr. says. "He had an instinct that was to remarkable. When he was working with Lane, he said he'd be sent on errands going to Lyon & Healy. Every time he'd go, he'd pause and look at the instruments displayed in the window. They had a lot of fine instruments in their collection at that time and that was part of my father's development."
和大部分行業一樣，“追逐金錢”的名言同樣適用於提琴製作，而在19世紀60年代，金錢就在芝加哥。作為美國西部的交通和貿易中心，芝加哥迅速從一個在1833年僅有350個人的小鎮發展成為1871年的300萬人口大都市。音樂文化興盛起來，成立於1864年的Lyon & Healy、John Horsteiner 和William Lewis and Son等都是當時非常著名的公司。老Carl Becker為所有這些公司都提供了樂器。在芝加哥大火中，Macklett的店被燒毀了，但是根據家族流傳下來的故事，這位製琴師為了免於破產，還是從大火中搶回了一些自己的工具和提琴並且安全地活了下來。Becker家族現在還保存著先祖製作的兩把提琴，並且還看到了其他一些樂器。“他的手藝和點子都在不斷進步，”Becker介紹說，“年紀越大，他製作的樂器就越來越精良。” “他學藝的大部分時間就是在觀察，他有足夠的天賦充分利用自己的觀察和思考。你將會聽到我介紹我的父親的作品時談到這一點。我欣賞這種做法，我覺得正是因為這一點，我才是他的後代。” Macklett的女兒Adeline繼承了父親的聰明和才智。“如果屋子裏面有什麼需要修補的，她肯定就是那個拿出錘子和鋸子的人。她曾經給琴弓重新上毛。她真的是最棒的，非常鎮定和清醒。看上去平和而又穩重。” Adeline嫁給了德國提琴家Carl Johannes Becker。“我的外祖父給我們增添了一些音樂天賦，我們的整個家族都繼承了這種天賦。”Becker將祖父描述成一位受過良好訓練，極具表達力的演奏家，不斷地給予他的同伴們靈感之源。他們的兒子，Carl G Becker在文法學校就讀時，總是自己製作一些東西，特別是風箏，他甚至以一美分或兩美分的價錢出售這些風箏。“他在學校裏就懂得製作了，”小Carl介紹說，“但是那個時候，文法學校是真正學習的地方。那時候的教育非常棒，比現在的小孩子們能接觸到的教育好多了。”1901年，當老Carl Becker在W.T 大道的一家店做學徒時，他製作了自己的第一把提琴。“他每拿到一把樂器，一定會自己仔細觀察，然後自己確定這是誰做的樂器。 ”小Carl說道，“他有一種很突出的直覺。當他在店裏做工時，他經常被派到Lyon & Healy跑腿。每次去Lyon & Healy，他都會停留一下，看看在櫥窗裏面展示的樂器。 那個時候，他們收集了許多精美的樂器，這幫助了我父親的成長。”
Carl Sr.'s considerable talent developed quickly at Lyon & Healy, where he started in 1902 under John Hornsteiner, the beginning of a 22-year working relationship. At the time he was 18, he was given a cello that was owned by the principal cellist of the Chicago Symphony, which was known as an Amati. The man, Bruno Steindi, had had an accident on a streetcar. The neck was broken, the cello had cracks in it, and this job was given to my father." Years later, Carl Sr. still marveled at placing such trust in so young a workman. Says his son, "Dad repaired the cello quite successfully and he also made a copy of it. It was quite distinctive in having fleur delis ivory inlays in the corners, so Dad did that with his cello. He must have made it look old, and the cello came out quite nicely. We own it now. "One of the symphony men, klammsteiner, came in and played on it, thought in it was quite nice and went off to rehearsal. After rehearsal, Steindl came in with his Amati. He was sitting in the shop playing his original cello when Kammsteiner walked in again. Klammsteiner, how does the cello sound?' asked Steindl. Clammsteiner looked and listened. 'Oh, it sounds very nice, but you as can hear it's new!' Does that tell you a story about prejudice?" chuckles Becker. Carl Sr. followed Hornsteiner when he opened his own firm in 1908 and worked with him until the old man died in 1923. At that time, Carl Sr. was offered a position as leader of the workshop at William Lewis and Son, a position for which he was well-suited. In addition to his expertise, "Dad was a man's man," says Carl Jr. "He was a very highly respected person, solid, not boistrous or flamboyant but always ready for a good laugh." By this time he had made about 100 violins and wanted time to make more without having to go into business on his own. So they made a deal: Carl Sr. would take off for three months each summer to make fiddles, and everything he made, Lewis would buy. The arrangement stood from 1924 until the Beckers left Lewis' in 1968. That summer Carl Sr. M Frank Kovanda from Lewis' built the Wisconsin workshop and the two men started taking violins right away. Taiwan Enterpirse. The October 2005 gala at the opening of the Taipei branch of Becker & Son was attended by colleagues from three continents, but Carl Jr. seems most taken with the warmth and sincerity o the local people ho mot in Taiwan, from restaurant workers to Wen-Lung Hsu, founder of the Chi Mei Corporation. Chi Mei, among the first plastics factories in Taiwan, is now the world's larger producer of ABS plastic (think car bumpers), and a major supplier of LCD TV screens. They also own one of the world's largest violin collections. In the early 1990s, the Chi Me: Culture Foundation acquired about a dozen instruments by such makers as Amati, Guarneri, Steiner, and Stradivari. During the past two years, the collection has skyrocketed to some 78 historical instruments by the most famous names, plus contemporary instruments. Carl Jr. expected the man behind such a collection to be quite formal businesslike, “with a black suit and a starched collar, maybe spectacles and his head up in the air a little bit.” Instead he met someone aloes to his own age, “very informal and so nice to talk to. I was impressed with this man.” The chairman, who plays violin, mandolin, guitar, and piano, invited the Beckers to his home in Taiwan on a small. Traditional-style street paved with round bricks. “The whole evening was music.” recalls Becker. The chairman, who loves Stephen Foster, played 'My Old Kentucky Home' with mandolin and guitar, and Paul gave a rendition of Hank Willams’ ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart.’ ”That's what they do every Friday and Saturday night. How about that?" says Carl Jr. “The warmth and friendliness there was so striking to me. These are wonderful experiences.”
老Carl Becker的能力在Lyon & Healy得以迅速發展。1902年，他開始為John Hornsteiner工作，開始了長達22年的合作關係。“那個時候，他才18歲但交給他芝加哥交響樂團首席大提琴師曾使用的一把大提琴，是阿馬蒂提琴。 這位修琴者Bruno Steindl，發生了一個交通事故，脖子受傷，琴也摔壞了，這個維修工作交給了我的父親。” 多年後，老Carl Becker仍然感歎他們居然給予一名這麼年輕的學徒如此的信任。 他的兒子繼續介紹道：“父親非常出色地將提琴修復成功，自己也照著這個提琴的樣子製作一把。這是一把非常特別的提琴，在琴角處嵌入的象牙裝飾上搭配了鳶尾。他一定是想要讓提琴看上去有著長久的歷史了，這把大提琴看上去非常之棒。我們現在還保存著。” “交響樂團的一位大提琴家Klamsteiner 進來了，拿著提琴彈奏了幾下，覺得這把大提琴很好，於是帶走去參加彩排。彩排後，Steindl帶著他的阿馬蒂提琴來了。 他坐在店裏，彈奏自己的提琴，這個時候Klamsteiner又來了。‘Klamsteiner，你覺得這把提琴怎麼樣?’Steindl問道。Klamsteiner不知這把是真品，還以為是他拿走的那把仿製品，他看了看，又聽了聽，‘啊，聽上去非常棒，但是你能聽出來這是一把新提琴。” Becker得意地笑起來，“你是不是聽到了一個有關偏見的故事?” Hornsteiner於1908年創辦了自己的公司，老Carl Becker跟隨Hornsteiner工作，並一直和他合作到年老的Hornsteiner在1923年去世。當時，他們向老Carl Becker提供了一個職位，作為Williams Lewis and Son工作坊的管理人，他非常適合這一職位。除了他的專業技能外，“父親是個真正的男人。”小Carl回憶到，“他非常受人尊重。他做事穩重，不浮躁，但是經常會發出會心的微笑。”這時，他已經製作了大約100把提琴，他需要更多的時間製作更多的樂器，但是又不願意自己處理太多的事務。因此他們達成一個協定：老Carl Becker可以每個夏天離開三個月專門製作提琴，而Lewis會購買他製作的任何作品。 這個合作從1924年開始，一直到Becker在1968年離開Lewis公司。那個夏天Becker和同樣來自Lewis的Frank Kovanda成立了威斯康辛工作坊，這兩個人於是開始專門製作提琴。
Two people working together can do the work of three. "Dad was very conscious of the value of time," says Becker. "His work was highly skilled and also very efficient. He had a talent for that." He also had a system. Carl Sr. made instruments in groups rather an one at a time. This approach allowed him to work very quickly, with the great precision and uncanny consistency that was characteristic of Becker instruments. "If you're making ten at once, you very quickly begin to realize the deficiencies in your technique, and you strive to correct it," explains Rufino. "Those years, 1925, '26, '27, he was making 25 instruments a year, along with running .repair shop for Lewis and Son," marvels grandson Paul Becker. Still, there was always time for fishing, a pastime that the Beckers still take seriously. Carl Sr. worked alone for a few years after Kovanda married in 1931. "My mother was very supportive. Her name was Elsa Rose Toennegis, she was a cellist," says Carl Jr. "What a good sport she was to go along with the whole thing!" She took care of the family, helped with roughing out instruments, and read stories to Carl Sr. as he worked, "supporting my father very much in spirit. They were wonderful parents, they gave me a feeling of great security at home." Carl Jr. began contributing to his father's instruments in 1936, starting with cello ribs. "Dad wanted to teach an understanding of things, not just measurements and details," he says. So those ribs were made on principle rather than bent around aluminum forms. Having no other plan, Carl Jr. started at Lewis' in 1937, stringing up cheap instruments and helping his father in the summer. "The work suited me and I suited it," he says. By age 19 he was helping with the restoration of an Amati violin at Lewis', piecing at least 20 tiny fragments of wood into the badly worn top. The elder Becker remarked once, "I may have been alright in my day, but I never had the patience to spend the time that he does." World War II brought the younger Becker new opportunities. He became a pilot and taught instrument flying (flying guided by instruments when visibility is hindered by fog, storms, clouds, or smoke) in the Army Air Corps. "I was good at that," he says, "and I was considering a career as an airline pilot. I had most of the qualifications." But family ties and the appeal of making violins won out. “I wanted to come back and make instruments with my father,” he explains.
兩個人一起工作可以完成的是三個人的工作量。 “父親非常重視時間。” Becker介紹說，“他的工作富有技巧，同時又有效率。他具備這樣的天賦。” 他也有一個自己的方法。 老Carl Becker製作提琴時候是成批製作，而非單個製作。這使得他們的工作進度非常之快，又同時確保了製作的精確和Becker樂器令人驚異的一致性。 “如果你一次製作十把提琴，很快就能意識到自己技術上的缺陷，並且會努力進行修改。” Rufino介紹說。 “那些年，1925年，1926年，1927年，他一年可以製作出25把提琴，還為Williams Lewis and Son 經營著一家維修店。”孫子Paul Becker依然感到驚歎。 然而，他依然有時間釣魚，這是Becker家族都非常喜愛的休閒活動。老Carl Becker在Frank Kovanda於1931年結婚後獨自工作了幾年。 “我的母親給予了他非常多的支持。 她的名字是Elsa Rose Toennegis 。 她是一名大提琴演奏家。” Becker介紹道，“整個過程都會有她的陪伴。”她照顧著整個家庭，幫忙繪製製作提琴的圖紙，給工作中的老Carl Becker朗讀故事。 “她在精神上給予了我父親極大的支援。 他們是非常出色的父親和母親，他們讓我感到在家是多麼的安全。” 1936年，小Carl開始為父親的提琴製作事業貢獻新力量，他開始製作大提琴的側面板。 “父親想教我學會瞭解事物，而不僅僅是測量和細節。” 他說道。因此這些側面板是根據工作原則製作的，而不是將他們固定在鋁制的模型上。”1937年，小Carl開始在Lewis公司工作，為便宜的樂器上弦，並且在夏天幫助父親製作提琴。 “這個工作非常適合我，我也非常喜歡這個工作。” 他自己介紹道。 19歲的時候，他在Lewis公司幫助修補阿馬蒂提琴，這把提琴至少有20片木頭碎片，頂部已經嚴重損毀。 Becker回憶道，“就現在來說，我可能做得還不錯，但是我當年根本沒有他那樣的耐心去做些。”
Becker instruments made between 1948 and 1967, numbers 489 to 746, are joint efforts between father and son, using patterns and molds of their own design. "Our instruments are based on [my father's] examination of old instruments," Carl Jr. explains. "He did not go to a violin-making school, so, in a sense, he was not restricted to a schooling. He observed the way things actually were, not just following a tradition. He ended up following the tradi¬tion of the instruments that really worked." To this, Carl Jr. has added his fascination with the violin from an engineering stand¬point, especially the effects of archings and graduations (the thicknesses of the top and back). Physics, not guesswork, he says, is behind great sound. Another important contribution to the Beckers' instruments came from Simone Sacconi, who Carl Sr. visited on business trips to Rembert Wurlitzer's famous violins shop in New York. "You can imagine how they hit it off," Carl Jr. says. "Sacconi shared ideas with ' my father, not so much about repair work [for which Sacconj is famous] as about the draw¬ing of outlines." The early Cremonese makers developed a system for drawing violins using a compass. "That's the way I draw all our outlines," he says. "You get a look to an outline, a Cremo¬nese look, that you don't get any other way. That method must have been established going back as early as Andrea Amati, before 1600. Stradivari applied his own thinking to that. The history of that work really gets to me." The method fell out of use after about 1750, but is gradually making a comeback with today's makers, including Jennifer Becker. As well as father and son worked together. "They were very different," says Paul Becker. "My grandfather had a more artistic view, my father has a very scientific view. My grandfa¬ther's work was very fine, there's not much difference when you look at the details, but Dad took it to a level that's just perfect. He made perfect instruments. His first violin was like, come on . . . ." "The first time I saw a Becker cello," says Rufino, "it looked so clean, it looked like it had been carved out of ice. I found it cold.' But, over time, Rufino realized that while the work is clean and brilliant, it has "a purity and beauty of line, every curve was just sublime_ He worked with great precision, but the work is very soulful." Carl Becker and Son formed in 1968. "Lewis' had changed things and we didn't seem to fit together anymore,' says Becker. Buying benches, tools, and supplies from the old Lewis shop, they somewhat reluctantly opened their doors. "Dad always rejected the idea of being in business for himself," says Carl Jr., who took on the business as his wife Geraldine stepped in to handle the finances. "We had very little at all," he says, "but we continued with our making." Then came an order from Morton Ginsberg, an amateur musician, in memory of his parents: six violins each from Carl Sr., Carl , Jr., and Jennifer—a real vote of confidence for 3 the young woman who made her first violin at age ten out of cardboard, scotch tape, and scraps. "Dad said, 'Lets see what she can do." Carl Jr. recalls. "He was always leading the way in this sort of thing, in his wisdom and. his sense of what could be done." Jennifer started tool work at age 11 finished a violin at 15, and joined the business full-time at 16. Her younger brother, Paul, made his first violin at about the same age, but gravitated toward repair. After marrying in 1985, he stayed behind and kept the store open in the summer while the others went off to make instruments. "Now I pretty much run the business," he says.
1948年到1967年製作的編號為489到746的Becker樂器是父子共同的作品，採用的是自己的設計和模型。“我們的樂器都獲益于父親對古老樂器的研究。”小Carl解釋道，“他沒有就讀過提琴製作學校，因此，從某種意義上來說，他不會拘泥於學校的教條。他觀察事物真正的工作方式，而不是遵循傳統。他最後接受的都是真正實用的樂器製作傳統。” 小Carl從工程的角度，特別是弧線和漸變的效果（面板和背板的厚度），為提琴製作增添了新的魅力。他介紹說，物理學（而不是胡亂猜測）才是製作出優良樂器的原理。對Becker家族樂器製作做出貢獻的還有Simone Sacconl。老Carl Becker前往紐約著名的Rembert Wuriltzer提琴商店出差途中前去拜訪了他。“你可以想像他們是多麼的趣味相投，Sacconl與我的父親分享新的點子，不只是關於提琴修補工作（Sacconl擅長於此），更多的是關於草圖的繪製。”早期的Cremonese製作師們開發出了一套使用指南針繪製提琴製作圖紙的方法。“這是我繪製所有草圖的方法。 ”他介紹道，“你看一下圖紙，是Cremonese方式，你不會用別的方式來看這張圖紙。這種繪圖方法一定是早在1600年以前Andrea Amati時代就有了。 Stradivari在其中加入了自己的觀點。這種歷經長久歷史的方法真的讓我感到震撼。” 在1750之後，這種方法慢慢不再流行，但是在現在的市場上又逐步開始廣為採用，包括Jennifer Becker。父子在一起工作地非常出色。“他們其實有很多不同，”Paul Becker介紹說，“我的祖父更多的是從藝術角度看問題，而我的父親則是從科學的角度製作提琴。我祖父的作品都非常的精美，當你觀察細節的時候，可能看不到許多的不同，但是我父親將它推到了一個完美的境界。他製作出完美的樂器。他的第一把提琴像是在說，來吧，來演奏吧……” “我第一次看到Becker 大提琴的時候，”Rufino介紹說，“它看上去如此的潔淨，就像是用冰雕刻出來的一樣。我感覺到它的冰涼。”但是，隨著時間的推移，Rufino開始意識到整個作品是乾淨和閃閃發光的，有一種線條的純淨和魅力，每一個線條都是如此端莊。他是用極為精確的態度工作，而作品是充滿靈魂的。” Carl Becker & Son成立於1968年。“Lewis有了變化，而我們似乎不再適合在一起合作了。”Becker介紹道。從老的Lewis店鋪購買了工作臺、工具和材料，他們有點不情願地開始了自己的業務。“父親拒絕接受為自己從事商業活動的觀念，”小Carl告訴我們。小Carl照管生意，他的妻子Geraldine 管理財務。“我們開始的時候幾乎一無所有，”他說，“但是我們依然堅持下來繼續做琴。”隨後，他們獲得了一位業餘音樂家Morton Ginsberg的一份訂單。為了紀念他的父母親，他從老Carl、小Carl和Jennifer各處分別定購了6把提琴。這對年輕的女孩子來說是一種信任。Jennifer在10歲的時候用紙板、透明膠帶和碎木片製作了自己的第一把提琴。“父親說，‘讓我們看看她做的東西’。”小Carl回憶道，“他總是以他的智慧和他對事情的判斷帶領我們前進。”Jennifer 11歲開始使用工具工作，15歲時候製作了一把真正的提琴，並在16歲全職加入了家族業務。她的小弟弟，Paul，在差不多的年紀製作了自己的第一把提琴，但是不得不重新修補。在1985年結婚後，他留了下來，以家族名義經營著一家提琴店，而其他人則製作樂器。“現在，基本上是我在管理生意。”他介紹說。
After 20 years of running the business, Paul recently decided to change the focus. "I'm trying to bring back [violin] making in a major way for our family. We really suffered from doing so much repair that I felt we lost our focus as makers, which is our namesake." Jenny has closed her retail shop to make instruments full time, Carl has retired from restoration altogether and jus settled down to work in Wisconsin, and Paul has returned to making, shutting down the store in the summer. The family name was one of the motivations for opening the Taipei branch in October. "I want our name to grow and be international," he says simply. "I want that for my grandfather, I want that for my father, I want that for our name. I look at the market in China as being huge." China itself is not quite ready, he adds, but "Taiwan sets the stage." When the chance to locate in the national concert hall in Taipei came up, he said, "That's the only place I want to talk about. If we get in there I'll open a business in Taiwan." Paul also is concerned with conducting business according to the family tradition. "My dad and grandpa just drilled it in how you have to do things ethically. I see a lot of taking advantage of people," he says. "They're not aware of it, I see it, and I say I'm not gonna do that." In a heated voice he describes instruments purchased from unsuspecting widows for a fraction of their true value, and dealers who exploit contemporary makers. "I have a total open-book policy," he says.
The Taipei branch sells the entire range of instruments, from the old Italians to Chinese-made student instruments with Becker setups. He also travels to search out the best contemporary violin and bow makers. “That's what I was doing at the Federation meeting," he says, "looking at makers that I plan on representing in Taiwan.” Paul chooses the makers he represents based on quality of work, plus a willingness to come to Taipei and to maintain those instruments and establish relationships with the people who buy them. “I think it's remarkable what he's doing" says Carl Jr. "He's handled himself in such a way that he's established a trust over there. “Paul said, 'if you ever come to Taiwan, this is the time to do it, when we're opening he shop.’” After some resistance, Carl Jr. relented. "I'm so glad I did," he says. Carl is working alone now at the lake. "It's a little different than it used to be, first with Dad, periodically with go Jenny and other people," he says. It's been a difficult year since his wife passed away. "I can still work," he adds, "thank goodness. I'm still able to see properly and do the things that need to be done." Rufino carries a vivid memory of Carl Jr. at the lake on a sunny, breezy September day. “Carl came out of the shop, and you could just see the life and enthusiasm and joy in him. He may have had his tongue sticking out the side of his mouth like, ‘Oh, boy, here I've got another violin!’ "He'd just put his first coat of varnish on, this beautiful, beautiful brilliant color . . . and he'd just hung it up on the clothesline to catch the sun.” The six instruments he's working on have been about half finished for ten years, pushed aside by the demands of restoration work. "I'm just gonna have to stay here till I finish them," Carl Jr. says. "That's all. I'm working at it.”
在經營管理提琴製作業務20多年後，Paul最近決定改變業務重點。“我希望讓我的家族主營提琴製作，我們提供了這麼多的修補工作，真的花費了很多的時間，我感覺我們的重點不再是提琴製作了，而這本來是我們的優勢和聲望所在。”Jennifer已經關閉了她的零售店面，專門從事提琴製作。而小Carl也已經不再進行修補工作，回到威斯康辛安定下來開始提琴製作，Paul也回到了提琴製作上，在夏季關閉店鋪。家族聲譽是他們於10月在臺北開設分部的一個主要原因。“我希望我們能擴大知名度，成為國際化品牌。”他介紹說，“當有機會在臺北的國家音樂廳開設分部時，我決定為了父親設立這個分部。我希望由此擴大我們的聲譽。我觀察了市場，中國是個巨大的市場。”中國市場本身並未做好充分準備，他補充說，但是“臺灣已經進入了合適的階段。”當可以在臺北的‘國家音樂廳’開設分部，他說道，“那是我唯一願意考慮的地方。如果我們能進駐那裏，我將在臺灣打開局面。”Paul同時也注意根據家族傳統開拓業務。“我的父親和祖父注重的是做事情的道德影響，而我看到了很多利用別人的行為。”他介紹說，“他們不能意識到這一點，我看到了，但是我不會那麼做。”聲音變得高昂起來，他告訴我們，有很多人從單純而又易於相信別人的寡婦手上以低廉的價錢購入珍貴的樂器，而有些經銷商也正在利用這樣的市場。“我有一套完整、公開的策略。”臺北的分部經營全系列樂器，包括古老的義大利樂器到中國製造的學生用樂器，均提供貝克樂器配置。他同時也在各地巡遊，以尋找現代最好的提琴和琴弓製作師。“這是我當年在協會的任務，”他解釋說，“觀察我準備在臺灣代理的提琴品牌。” Paul選擇代理的品牌是根據他們的品質以及是否願意進入臺灣市場，為樂器提供維修，並與消費者建立良好關係確定的。“我認為他做的非常出色。”小Carl說，“他處理事情的方式非常好，已經獲得了當地的信任。” “Paul說過，‘如果你來到臺灣，這就是應該在這裏設立分部的時間了，因為我們正在開立店面。’”在猶豫了一下之後，小Carl接受了這一提議。“我很高興我當時同意了。”他說。Carl現在在湖畔一個人工作。“和以前略有不同了，首先是和父親一起，後來又和Jenny 還有其他一些人。”他說道。妻子去世以來，這一年對他來說非常難過。“我仍然可以工作，”他補充說，“感謝上帝。我的視力仍然清晰，可以完成需要做的事情。” Rufino仍然清楚記得在一個陽光燦爛，微風輕拂的九月天，小Carl在湖畔的樣子。“Carl從店裏走出來，你可以看到他身上散發的生命力，熱情和快樂。他可能伸出舌頭來，說‘啊！我的孩子，我又得到了一把小提琴。’” “他剛剛塗長一層清漆，非常美麗非常耀眼的顏色……他剛把它掛在晾衣繩上，反射出陽光的光澤。”他現在正在製作的6把提琴，10年前幾乎就完工一半了，只是這些年來他一直忙著提琴的維修工作。“我準備一直呆在這裏，直到完成這些提琴的製作。 ”小Carl說道，“就是這些了。我正在工作。”