William Moennig & Son, Ltd.

William Moennig & Son is one of the oldest and most distinguished dealers and appraisers of rare violins, violas, cellos and their bows in the world. Founded in 1909, the firm is now in their fourth generation of violin makers and dealers in Philadelphia.

Originally from Markneukirchen, Germany, the Moennig family has been making musical instruments for thirteen generations. The first member of the family to come to the United States was William Heinrich Moennig (1883-1962), who arrived in Philadelphia at the end of the last century. He worked for his brother-in-law, the violin maker Julius Guetter, before opening his own business. His son, William Hermann Moennig Jr. (1905-1986), worked in the family business before leaving for Germany, where he studied under Leo Aschauer in Mittenwald and Paul Dörfel and Paul Knorr in Markneukirchen. He subsequently earned the diploma of the master violin maker, the first American-born violin maker to be so honored.

The Moennigs rapidly gained the respect and confidence of musicians and artists in the United States, and their skills were much in demand by the members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the faculty and students at the Curtis Institute of Music. After the Second World War, the Moennigs began to import to the United States many of the finest classic masterpieces of the Italian, French, English, and German schools of violin making and earned a well-deserved reputation for connoisseurship, honesty, and fairness in the trade of fine violins.

Bill Jr.'s son William Harry Moennig III (1930- ) entered the business in the late 1940's, subsequently studying violin making under Leo Aschauer in Mittenwald and Amédée Dieudonne in Mirecourt and connoisseurship under Pierre Vidoudez, Max Möller, and William Beare. He worked extensively as a restorer and has directed the business since his father's retirement in 1975. Today his son William Moennig IV is active in the workshop as a violin maker and restorer.

Bill Jr. was the first American-born member of the Entente Internationale del Luthier at Archetiers; his son Bill III followed him into that organization shortly thereafter. They were also instrumental in the founding of the American Society for the Advancement of Violin Making in 1975; this group is today known as the Violin Society of America. Bill Moennig III was also a founding member of the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers, for which he served as President.

Their current periodical newsletter The World of Strings began as "The String Player" and was first published by the Moennigs beginning in 1948. About 1949, the name was changed to The World of Strings, under which name it has been published ever since. It has served as a forum for fine instruments available through the shop, and since 1977, when Philip Kass began to work for the firm has also served as a forum for his research.

The offices of William Moennig & Son, Ltd., at 2039 Locust Street, near Rittenhouse Square in downtown Philadelphia, have been a fixture in Philadelphia's musical world since 1938 and has provided a warm and welcoming environment to the many professional and amateur musicians whose pictures cover its walls.

William Moennig & Son, Ltd.,
2039 Locust Street,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
19103, USA
Phone:215-567-4198, 800-523-4051, FAX 215-567-4175