Violin by Mark Benischek, 2018 ("The Atlas")
Our head luthier created this violin for the VSA Competition this year, and was met with great affirmation from the judging staff who marveled at his fine detail and craftsmanship. Handmade of Mark's own selected woods, we've included a full description courtesy of the maker himself. If you are a serious violinist who wishes to experience this instrument, please contact us. We'd be happy to put you in touch directly with Mark, as well!
From the maker:
The Atlas is modeled after instruments from Antonio Stradivari’s golden period. It's design draws on elements from these masterpieces to produce an elite violin for the modern player. Deep fluting of the scroll and f-holes are paired with crisp edge work that is beautifully preserved with an oil varnish of the highest quality. The traditional red hue best matches that of Stradivari's Huberman violin.
The form of the Atlas is based on the famous Messiah violin of 1716. This violin was made with top choice, hand selected woods from Europe’s most treasured tonewood regions. The spruce was sourced from Italy’s high alpine forest and naturally seasoned. The maple is deeply flamed Balkan maple from the forests of Montenegro. The maple has also undergone a very special process known as ponding. Ponding is the process of submerging the maple in water, allowing the natural sugars in the wood to ferment away. Once thoroughly and naturally dried, the resulting wood is more stable and has a higher speed of sound.
A single block of maple was used to craft the back and ribs. The two piece back has strong and consistent flame descending in a herringbone pattern. The book matched ribs perfectly match the flame of the back, creating a seamless flow of grain throughout the body of the instrument.
The top is formed of medium grained spruce and the same single billet of wood was used to construct the blocks and linings. Like the back plate, the top sports a supple arching and strong recurve. Expertly graduated and tuned, this classic combination of tonewoods produces a full and pure sound, capable of capturing the many expressions top musicians demand.
A neck and scroll of matching maple perfectly compliment the body of the instrument. The deeply cut volute and fluting of the scroll continues the theme of strong lines and figure attributed to fine sculpture. The saddle, nut, and fingerboard are made from best quality ebony. An added feature is the under arch of the fingerboard has been fluted to give the player extra stability when playing in high positions.
The Atlas is tied together with super fine fittings from Temple Germany and are made of European boxwood. The metal clamp of the chinrest, like the Stradpet fine tuner, are made of titanium. The bridge is carved from Despiau’s A quality maple and is precisely fitted and trimmed. Finally, a set of Peter Infeld strings unleash the violins full potential.
Entirely hand crafted with no detail left unattended to, The Atlas belongs in an elite class. Inspired by the incredible endurance of Stradivari's many violins that are still in use today, this violin is ready for the ages.