This is a very special year for Thomastik-Infeld, the renowened strings brand. The company is celebrating its 100 anniversary this year. We interviewed Thomastik-Infeld to find out more about this special milestone and to hear the history of the most successful products of the Austrian brand.
How did Thomastik-Infeld’s business start?
Thomastik-Infeld was founded in 1919 in by two men who shared a unique passion for music as well as an outstanding innovative spirit: Dr. Franz Thomastik, a luthier himself as well as a Doctor of Philosophy, operated as the creative genius with never-ending ideas and inventions, testing various raw materials for their potential in the development of cutting-edge strings and putting great effort in revolutionizing the string market. In Otto Infeld, an expert in technology and engineering, he found his business counterpart. Together they led the company to its way of becoming an innovation-leading manufacturer of high-performance products. Since the early beginnings Thomastik-Infeld has been developing and producing a wide variety of strings for bowed and fretted instruments in the heart of Vienna! The combination of longstanding craftmanship, high tech engineering, the passion for detail, our love for music and the ongoing drive for innovation is the secret of our sustainable success.
What are your bestsellers and more important products?
The company’s unique string inventions have changed the music world multiple times already: The release of the first steel wire core strings, later to be known as PRÄZISION took place in the 1920’s, followed by the invention of strings with a game changing steel rope core, SUPERFLEXIBLE, in 1950. Only 10 years later, 1960, Thomastik-Infeld created outstanding strings with a unique flexible spiral rope core: SPIROCORE. 1970 marked the year of the biggest string revolution so far: The creation of DOMINANT! Up to this day, this synthetic core violin string is meeting musicians demands worldwide and continues to be the most played and famous string in the world. Also, 80% of our products are violin strings, making violins the very base of our production.
Do you cooperate with great artists to develop particular and personalized strings?
Working closely with international musicians has always been key for our ongoing development. International artists who have been playing Thomastik-Infeld strings for years are regularly visiting the string engineers in Vienna to give feedback and support the development process but also to get first hand consultation on how to improve the sound of their instrument. Therefore, an endorsement program has traditionally been an integral part of the company and we’re happy to call soloists like Hilary Hahn, Glenn Dicterow or Ray Chen, but also quartets like the Quartetto di Cremona part of the Thomastik-Infeld family.
Which are the most important features that a high-quality string should have?
It’s important to mention that our strings are much more than just a strand of sound. Their development and production include not only a great deal of time but also physics, corrosion science, tool technology, precision engineering and craftmanship as well as electronics! Musicians have very different demands and a string needs to meet all of them. A high-quality string has to bring out the qualities of their different instrument, shaping and supporting its very own personality. Also, reliability is essential, because musicians don’t want to be surprised on stage! A quick bow response, good left-hand feeling, a short play-in time and fast tuning stability are also important criteria. Thomastik-Infeld strings are well-known for their outstanding quality, vast variety of sound-colors, modulation possibilities as well as their long lifespan.
The company started exactly 100 years ago. Are you preparing something special to celebrate this anniversary?
We have indeed a very special milestone ahead of us! A 100 years string history made in Austria, an anniversary celebrated to the fullest! In terms of spreading our 100-year experience and unparalleled expertise, Thomastik-Infeld will be concentrating on making information and string knowledge more accessible through different platforms. Very few people know how much technology and know-how is involved in the string production process and we want to reach out to those artists who did not have the opportunity of a visit yet, as personal consultation is essential for finding the ideal setup. Also, the shift from purchasing strings at a local retailer or luthier to buying strings online has contributed to the need of finding more information on the web. Thomastik-Infeld is determined to do so. With the creation of new communication channels, Thomastik-Infeld seeks not only to secure its position as a one-of-a-kind string manufacturer but is also taking an active role as a knowledge expert with 100 years of experience in the field of string development. Undoubtedly, 2019 will be an exciting year for Thomastik-Infeld and an anniversary which will resonate for many years!
What is the importance of Cremona Musica in your business?
As every year, we are looking forward to touch base with luthiers, present new solutions and exchange our expertise. It’s important to keep an open dialog and mind alike and Cremona is the right place to do just that!