This instrument is featured as part of our 2023 Contemporary American Makers Exhibition and Sale
Raised in the small town of Magnolia, Iowa, Dirk Henry began his violin making career in 2010 in Omaha, Nebraska. He has studied with Salt Lake graduate, Cesario Amesquita, as well as distinguished violin maker Mark Womack. Until 2015, Dirk served as a workshop manager, dividing his time between repairing instruments and building from scratch. Dirk worked out of his home from late 2015 to early 2019. In March 2019, Dirk joined his friend and fellow luthier, Alex Reza, at Violins of Omaha, in the Hotshops Art Center. There he continues making new instruments as well as setup and repair work. Dirk is committed to continuing to refine his skills and improve his craftsmanship through attending workshops and seminars, including the Oberlin Violin Making Workshop and the Oberlin Acoustics Workshop.
Dirk has received both tone and violin making awards for his instruments. At the Southern Violin Association Violin Makers Competition 2019, Dirk received awards for first place tone for viola and second place workmanship for viola. He received third place for violin tone there as well. He was also awarded a Silver Medal for Tone and a Silver Medal for Overall for his viola in the 2015 VMAAI Competetion.
Alex first became interested in violin making in 2006, after his children began taking violin lessons in Austin, Texas. He also started violin lessons with his children and eventually that led to collecting and repairing violins, then donating them to students in local orchestras. He commissioned a violin for his daughter in 2008 and it was inspiring to be involved in the process of choosing the model it would be based on, and the wood. Alex started learning the process and making a violin with the guidance of a local violin maker in Austin. While visiting family in Nebraska he visited a violin shop and asked about the possibility of apprenticing and learning more about violin making, soon he was hooked! A year later, in 2013, he entered his first violin maker’s competition in Arizona (VMAAI) and won the Grand Prize for best overall tone, and a Gold medal for tone. Alex won a 2017 silver medal overall for violin, and he again won the top prize for tone in 2019 for his violin and Silver medal for his viola.
His instruments are in the hands of professional violinists across the country as well conservatory students at the New England Conservatory of Music, and Drake University.
In 2015 Alex and his wife Genevieve started Violins of Omaha where he is a full time luthier and shop owner. Alex passionately handcrafts each instrument, making his own varnish and ground system. Alex devotes himself to the craft full time and continues his quest to produce the best instruments he can. Alex collaborates with local makers and musicians to provide the highest quality handcrafted instruments. In 2019, Vice media and Mailchimp Presents did a short documentary on him. If you would like to learn more about him you can find it at:https://mailchimp.com/presents/series/second-act/alex-reza
Strings magazine article by Alex: https://stringsmagazine.com/the-brilliance-beauty-artistry-chaos-of-guarneri-del-gesus-instruments/
Alex is a member of the VSA, SVA, and the VMAAI. He currently serves on the board of directors of the VMAAI. Being largely a self-taught maker, he gained admission into the VSA workshops in Oberlin and is a regular attendee of the VSA acoustics workshops, where he further hones his craft by learning all he can from top tier violin making friends and colleagues. Alex makes it a point to attend those competitions and conventions across the USA, continually learning and enhancing his skill set.