Sid Engen

Sid (Hanson) Engen. Violin maker, b near Oslo, Norway, 9 Nov 1902, d Dauphin, Man, 23 Jun 1976. His family arrived in Winnipeg in 1905, then moved to Saskatchewan before settling in Dauphin in 1919.

Engen, Sid

Sid (Hanson) Engen. Violin maker, b near Oslo, Norway, 9 Nov 1902, d Dauphin, Man, 23 Jun 1976. His family arrived in Winnipeg in 1905, then moved to Saskatchewan before settling in Dauphin in 1919. Entirely self-taught, Engen built 85 instruments (77 violins, 7 violas, and 1 cello) between 1921 and 1975. Of these, 69 were made between 1954 and 1975, after his retirement from his trade as a house builder and cabinet maker. Engen entered his instruments in an international competition, the Annual Violin and Guitar Makers' Contest sponsored by the Violin and Guitar Makers' Association of Arizona (Globe, Ariz) and won many prizes, including grand awards for his 1966 and 1968 copies of the 'Le messie' Stradivarius and his 1969 copy of a Guarnerius. The 1966 instrument was acquired by Frances Port Watson, a conductor, violinist and teacher in Winnipeg and Dauphin. Most of his other instruments have remained in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, but some 25 per cent have gone to purchasers in British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta, and the USA. Terence Helmer, an original member of the Orford String Quartet acquired an Engen copy (1959) of a Gasparo da Salò viola. Most Engen instruments have European or British Columbia maple backs and Manitoba, US, or European spruce tops, but on rare occasions he used walnut, myrtle, redwood, cherry, or cedar.