Remembering Adolf Heinrich König-Renggli

Master violin maker founded Swiss Violin Makers' School

On May 14, 2000, master violin maker Adolf Heinrich König-Renggli passed away in Zurich, Switzerland. König-Renggli was born on May 16, 1908, and taught for 30 years at the Swiss Violin Makers’ School, which he founded. He continued his work for another quarter of a century, and his last piece was a viola d’amore.

König-Renggli is survived by his wife, Clara, their children, Thomas and Christian, and grandchildren. Funeral services were held May 22 at Kirche Maur, a church.This past May, Olga Adelmann, the first woman to become a master violin maker in her own right, passed away in Berlin. Born in 1913, Adelmann studied with Otto Möckel from 1934 until his death in 1937, and received her master’s diploma in 1940.

Since 1957, Adelmann worked at her Alemannic School of violin making and published a monograph in German entitled "The Alemannic School: Archaic Violin Building in the Southern Black Forest and Switzerland" (Berlin, 1989; second edition with Annet Otterstedt, Berlin, 1998).

Adelmann often lent her instruments to players, and one of them sold an Amati model of Adelmann’s to an American officer shortly after the war. The sale was made without her knowledge, and Adelmann never saw the violin again—a sorrow that would haunt her the rest of her life. Dr. Annet Otterstedt requests that any information as to the whereabouts of this particular violin be sent via e-mail to otterstedt@sim.spk-berlin.de. The label reads "Olga Adelmann, Berlin, 1940."

*This article appeared in Strings October 2000
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