George Heinl

George Heinl. Violin maker, b Schnecken, Austria, 8 Feb 1891, d Toronto 6 Dec 1980. He studied violin making with his father, Joseph, with an uncle, Johann, and in Vienna, where he was apprenticed in various shops and received a violin maker's diploma in 1911. At the request of W.E.

Heinl, George

George Heinl. Violin maker, b Schnecken, Austria, 8 Feb 1891, d Toronto 6 Dec 1980. He studied violin making with his father, Joseph, with an uncle, Johann, and in Vienna, where he was apprenticed in various shops and received a violin maker's diploma in 1911. At the request of W.E. Hill & Sons in London he moved to Toronto, where he served 1912-20 as head of the violin department of Hill's Canadian representative, R.S. Williams &Co. He went to Ottawa in 1920 to establish his own firm but returned to Toronto in 1926 and opened Geo. Heinl & Co, which has remained a major supplier of string instruments (Heinl's own and others') and accessories. In 1944 Heinl passed control of the company to his sons George (b Ottawa 1923, d Toronto 27 October 1994) and Frank (b Toronto 1928). Both had been apprenticed as violin makers, but only Frank made instruments (six or seven) professionally. Two grandsons, Russell and Richard, later joined the business; in 1989 the firm was run by Richard. George Heinl Sr made 148 instruments, patterned after the Stradivarius, Guarnerius, and Guadagnini models. His violins have been owned by Jacob Groob and Steven Staryk. Heinl appeared in the NFB film Story of a Violin (1947).


Further Reading

  • Burrows, Margaret. 'The man to whom each violin is a new love,' Toronto Telegram, 17 May 1969

    Jew, Sandy. 'Violin making, the master of the art,' Tempo, June 1978