Benning Violins, Los Angeles Violinmakers, Releases Jascha Heifetz Remembrance Video
Benning Violins-Studio City Music
String Instruments, Violin Shop, Violin Maker
In a newly released video, violinmaker Hans Benning, patriarch of the violinmaking family, remembers his years maintaining Jascha Heifetz’s 1740 Guarneri del Gesù violin. Since 1953 the Benning family name has been synonymous with the old world craft of making fine, master-crafted violins, violas and cellos.
Los Angeles, CA - August 3, 2016 - Highlighting a significant era in their distinguished history, Los Angeles violinmakers Benning Violins has released a new video detailing their relationship with “Violinist of the Century” Jascha Heifetz. The renowned violin shop, specialists in the sales, servicing and crafting of fine violins, violas, cellos and bows, is widely known for maintaining the acclaimed violinist’s instruments in the latter part of his life.
“My father Hans is very proud of his long association with Mr. Heifetz but has always been low-key about discussing it,” said son Eric Benning, himself a preeminent violinmaker who now runs the family-owned shop. “We finally decided to create the video in response to the demand by our clients and others to know the story. Dad managed to relate a substantive and provocative study of Heifetz in just a few minutes. It’s a wonderful narrative.”
Jascha Heifetz, a Russian virtuoso, had a spectacular performing and recording career and is generally considered the greatest violinist of the 20th century. Many music historians believe him to be the greatest violinist of all time.
The 13-minute film features Hans Benning, patriarch of the fourth generation family of violinmakers, recounting the day Heifetz first walked into their storied shop on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City. He then details his 15-year relationship with Heifetz and offers insights and anecdotes about the enigmatic violinist.
Benning primarily cared for Heifetz’s most prized possession, a 1740 Guarnerius 'del Gesù' violin crafted in Italy by the great Cremonese violinmaker Giuseppe Guarneri. Nicknamed “The David” after noted German virtuoso violinist Ferdinand David who once owned it, the violin was used for the world premiere of Felix Mendelssohn’s violin concerto in 1845. Heifetz acquired the violin in 1922 and used it for most of his recordings.
According to Eric Benning, although the great violinist died in 1987, the pubic is still greatly captivated by him.
“When we uploaded the video to Facebook, it received over 100 shares and over 7,000 views in 72 hours,” said Benning. “The public is still infatuated with Heifetz almost 30 years after he left us.”
Hans Benning was born in Aachen, Germany and began studying violinmaking in Mittenwald, Germany in 1962, where he met his soon-to-be-wife Nancy Toenniges. He began working at Studio City Music (now Benning Violins) in 1964 with his new father-in-law, Paul Toenniges. Hans continued to study instrument making, repair and restoration with Toenniges, Raymond Del Prato, Frank Kovanda and the renowned violinmaker Carl Becker Sr. He and Nancy took over the business in 1978.
Benning Violins has become a mainstay institution on the West Coast for premier performers as well as other concert and performing artists, renowned teachers, amateurs, students and players of all levels since 1953. Benning Violins offers service and sales of fine violins, violas and cellos, crafted by both past and present masters.
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