Eric Benning is a third-generation violinmaker from the prestigious heritage of American violinmaker Carl Becker Sr. from Chicago. Eric was born into a family with a rich tradition of craftsmanship that has been passed down from generation to generation. Beginning his training at the age of 9, Eric completed his first instrument before he was a teenager, a Guarneri model violin. Working in a shop where his grandfather, Paul Toenniges, his father, Hans, and his mother, Nancy, were all accomplished makers and experts in restoration, Eric received training of the highest level in both new instrument making and the art of fine restoration. Eric continued his training with his second cousin, Carl Becker Jr. while studying violinmaking in the Beckers’ retreat in Wisconsin.
Instruments crafted by Eric are being played by some of the top professional musicians, both in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. Violins are inspired by multiple models including Stradivari, Guarneri, Guadagnini and Balestrieri. Violas are made on early Stradivari, Amati and Oak Leaf models. Cellos are modeled after Stradivari, Guadagnini, Tecchler, and Gofriller. Only the finest aged Bosnian maple is used and well-seasoned Bavarian spruce. With the advantage of over a century of violin making in his family, the selection of fine tone-woods is never an obstacle to Eric’s new instrument making.
Eric is currently a member of the International Association of Violin and Bowmakers (EILA), the American Federation of Violin and Bowmakers (AFVBM) and the Violin Society of America (VSA).