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History

 

Dr. Alois Vincenc Honek was born in Dehylov in Silesia on October 25th, 1911. His father was a violin-maker. He himself started to learn the art of violin-making in 1919. In 1929, that time as a high school student, he finished this education by presenting a sample work (a violin and some work on the violin scroll) to his teacher. Upon the teacher’s evaluation, he received a diploma certifying him as a professional violinmaker. It was delivered to him by his father in the day of his 18th birthday, on October 25th, 1929.

After finishing high school, Dr. Honek did not comply with his father's wishes and instead of becoming a professional violin-maker he moved to Prague and started studying medicine at the Charles University. A couple years later he became a doctor. Though the profession of a surgeon is very demanding, he had been known for being so enthusiastic, that he devoted all of his free time until the very end of his live to violinmaking and research. He died unfortunately due to an injury at the age of almost 91 on June 30th 2002.

A. V. Honek started to solve the famous secret of the Cremona violin-makers as a fifteen years old high school student. He didn’t do it from a romanticism of youth, however. He was asked for a translation of an old Latin text concerning violins and he was allowed to make a copy. It didn`t make any meaning whatsoever, but after some time he found a way of giving these letters and numbers a sense. Based on this document and decades spent studying the art of violin-making he made himself his model based on the knowledge of the masters of Cremona. Instruments made according to his knowledge and experiences are therefore achieving the quality of the historical instruments made by the masters of Cremona. He also spent many years working on a method that would be useful in assessing objectively the tone quality. His results in this area were published in several magazines. During his life he has made a large number of instruments (violins, violas, cellos and also double basses) according to his model. Almost 100 of them are being played by many orchestra members and soloists not only in the Czech Republic, but also in Germany, Switzerland, United States, Japan, Austria and so on.

He was a member of Kruh umelcu houslaru, which is an organization unifying the best Czech violinmakers.

He was also very close to the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and he accompanied them for many years around the world as their doctor.

He was also a remarkable surgeon with many extraordinary achievements in this field. He was an intellectual with many interests such as mathematics and history. For his political ideas he was imprisoned by the communist government in one of the political trials in the 1950s.

He himself said that one of his biggest achievements was that he introduced his younger son and his two only grandsons to all his violin-maling knowledge and skills. The family tradition and his work can thus continue.