Anton Wilfer

Anton Wilfer. Violin maker, b Luby, Czechoslovakia, 30 Apr 1901, d Montreal 31 Aug 1976. He studied and practised violin making in his home town before travelling in 1946 to Mittenwald, Bavaria, to perfect his work with master craftsmen.

Anton Wilfer

Anton Wilfer. Violin maker, b Luby, Czechoslovakia, 30 Apr 1901, d Montreal 31 Aug 1976. He studied and practised violin making in his home town before travelling in 1946 to Mittenwald, Bavaria, to perfect his work with master craftsmen. In 1951 he moved to Montreal and opened a workshop, Anton Wilfer Co Ltd., first located on Saint Catherine Street above the International Music Store. He made about 75 violins, 15 violas, 10 cellos, and 3 string basses. Wilfer worked together with his sons-in-law, Alois Fogl and Ewald Fuchs. In 1956, the shop relocated to a building they purchased at 2002 Mackay Street where it would remain a fixture for 40 years. On Wilfer's death in 1976, Fogl and Fuchs took over the management of the shop and concentrated mainly on restoration. Fogl (b Mistroveice, Czechoslovakia, 20 May 1925, naturalized Canadian 1955), who also studied in Luby, specialized in the making of bows (about 24 by 1978) and the building and repair of violins. He settled in Montreal in 1949. Fuchs (b Luby 9 Sep 1932, naturalized Canadian 1961, d Montreal 17 Apr 1991) studied for three-and-a-half years in Mittenwald and worked 1950-5 in Switzerland before settling in Montreal in 1956. He made violins, violas, cellos and guitars.

The shop flourished, servicing the community of Montreal string players, including those from the Montreal Symphony, the freelance pool, teachers, and students, who enjoyed conversation with the two luthiers as much as their professional expertise. The shop closed in 1996.


Further Reading

  • Heller, Zelda. 'Tender, loving care at Anton Wilfer's,' Placedart, vol 7, Jan-Feb 1972

    Provencher, Norman. 'Loving care still lives in violin-makers' shop,' Montreal Star, 7 Apr 1976

    Gibson, Nigel. "A Strad in the Basement," Montreal Gazette 20 Apr 1977

    Helmer, Paul. Growing with Canada: the emigré tradition in Canadian Music. (Montréal 2009)