Alexander was a certificated antique violin repair expert, and has a PH. D in Music. Taichung is the first city he visited in Taiwan. During his days in Taichung City, he fixed over 100 antique violins and cellos using methods for repairing antique instruments. The souls of the instruments were revived under his magical hands.
17 years ago, when Alexander was 49 years old, he visited Taiwan. Arkadi Kuchynski, his classmate at the Conservatory of Music in Minsk, and current professor of the Music Department of Tunghai University, invited him to visit Taiwan to repair antique violins. Both of them majored in string music, but he was engaged in violin repair and Prof. Kuchynski was devoted to education and playing music.
Professor Kuchynski was a friend of Mr. Peng Jing-Kai who had collected many antique violins. Peng asked Kuchynski to invite Alexander to fly to Taiwan and repair his collection. Alexander was very excited when he saw Peng’s collection in the workshop and quickly got to work.
Chen Yo-Jiang, City Councilman of Taichung City, hosted Alexander when he stayed in Taichung. Chen said that Alexander’s favorite snack was “stinky tofu”. Alexander told him that “stinky tofu” was so delicious that he could eat one plate every day.
Alexander said that the weather in Russia was very cold, but in Taichung, it is very warm. Also, the people in Taichung are very friendly. He was very happy to work in such a pleasant city.
The antique violins and cellos with a history of over 200 years attracted Alexander to visit Taichung. Some of their appearances were damaged and some of them did not function well. Alexander was the doctor to cure them and make them sing again.
Most experts focus only on repair techniques. Alexander has both the skills to repair and play violins. Because the antique instruments were made of fragile natural woods and assembled by natural glue, in order to protect them during the repair process, Alexander had to adopt ancient hand crafts of the past 4 centuries. It was a very challenging task.
It took Alexander 30 hours to fly to Taiwan. However, when he arrived at the violin workshop, he was so excited to see the antique violins that each one them immediately became like an old friend.
Alexander said that it’s harder to repair antique violins than make a new one. First of all, he had to carefully deconstruct the violins. Then, he had to use similar material to rebuild the parts of the violin. For example, he had to use pine to make the body and maple for the back of the violin, and then assemble them with gum refined from plants or animals. Otherwise the voice would be different after being repaired.
Because Alexander was also a violinist, compared to other craftsmen, he put more effort into restoring the sound of instruments. During his trip to Taiwan, he woke the violins and enabled them to sing again.