Robert Bein

Robert Bein & Betsy
Betsy and Robert Bein

"I admired him very much for the expertise he developed."

— Carl F. Becker, violin maker

Robert Bein & Family
The Bein Family: Joe, Robert, Betsy, and Chuck

"Robert's high standards have influenced many and his unbelievable knowledge and great wisdom have brought new benchmarks to the rare violin field."

— Staffan Borseman, The Stradivari Society's Ambassador to Scandinavia

Robert Bein & Geoffrey Fushi
Robert Bein and Geoffrey Fushi

"Robert loved his work, and will be much missed by musicians and his many colleagues in the trade world wide."

— Charles Beare, J & A Beare

Robert Bein at his first shop in Cincinnati
Robert Bein at his first shop in Cincinnati

In Loving Memory

Robert Bein • 1950 - 2007

A Memorial Tribute

Over four hundred friends, family, colleagues, and musicians came together from around Chicago, the country, and the world to honor Robert Bein on Saturday, March 10. The special tribute was held in Symphony Center's elegant Grainger Ballroom.

Bein was honored in both words and music. Poignant remembrances by his sons, Joseph and Charles Bein, along with Geoffrey Fushi, Gabriel Ben-Dashan, and Charles Beare intermingled sadness and smiles. Tributes in music by violinists Eduard Wulfson, director of The Stradivari Society's European Division; Kristòf Barati, a Society recipient of the "Lady Harmsworth" Stradivari of 1703; and Elmar Oliveira—all accompanied by pianist Robert Koenig; cellist Ko Iwasaki; and Chicago Symphony Orchestra members Robert Chen, concertmaster, Rong Yan Tang, violin, Li-Kuo Chang, assistant principal viola, and Richard Hirschl, cello, were a testament to Bein's great legacy. Works by Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Bloch, and J. S. Bach were performed. At Bein's request, a funeral service by L. Ron Hubbard was read by his close friend and colleague, bow maker John Norwood Lee.

In the audience for the memorial were David and Mary Findley, who introduced Robert Bein to Geoffrey Fushi, along with many leading members of the classical music community including Stradivari Society® patrons and dear friends Clement and Karen Arrison and Dawn Meiners; Dr. William R. Sloan; retired Chicago Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Samuel Magad and his wife, Miriam; Philadelphia Orchestra bassist, stringed instrument historian, and collaborator with Bein on the book Giuseppi Guarneri del Gesù: His Known Works, Duane Rosengard; Chicago Symphony Orchestra assistant concertmaster Yuan-Qing Yu, cellist David Saunders, and violinists Blair Milton and Jennie Wagner; first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet and chair of the violin department at The Juilliard School Joel Smirnoff; violinist and Stradivari Society® recipient Joan Kwuon; artistic director of the International Sejong Soloists and Juilliard violin faculty member Hyo Kang; executive director of the International Sejong Soloists Kyung Kang; cello restorer Russell Wagner, and leading violin pedagogues Mark Zinger and Cyrus Forough. Attending the memorial, colleagues Jim Warren, Christopher Reuning, Paul Childs, Phillip Kass, Sal Signorelli, and Carl Becker showed their great esteem for Robert Bein.

"I am deeply saddened by the passing of my friend Robert Bein. He will be long remembered not only as the premier expert of fine musical instruments, but as a person who assisted young artists in their careers. I will miss him."

— Samuel Magad, concertmaster retired, Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Special Tributes from around the World

Bein & Fushi has received hundreds of cards, letters, and emails from distinguished artists, collectors, and colleagues the world over whose lives were touched by Robert Bein. For the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's March 1 program book, an insert was added honoring Bein. "At Bein & Fushi we have all been profoundly moved by this outpouring of sentiment for Robert and his family. We are most grateful for this support at such a difficult time," said Geoffrey Fushi.

Remembering Robert Bein

Robert Bein was born near Cincinnati in 1950. He grew up in a musical family. His father was a professor of music at Miami University and his mother was a professional violinist. Bein played the cello for many years. He studied with Yehuda Hanani and Aldo Parisot and was admitted to the Mannes College of Music in New York City. But he realized that he would never be a great musician.

Bein inherited a modest sum upon the death of his maternal grandmother. He used the money to purchase a French cello bow and discovered that it brought a new dimension to his playing. His new bow sparked what was to become a lifelong fascination with fine stringed instruments and bows. He began by convincing Wilbur Hansen, the dealer he bought the bow from, to give him a job and teach him about violin expertise, even though there was no opening with the firm and the position was unpaid. Within a week, he had made his first sale and his life was set on a new course.

He launched his career in the violin business in 1971 when he opened a small shop in Cincinnati. Bein became renowned for his photographic memory that allowed him to identify instruments at a glance. Carl F. Becker saw his talent for recognizing the works of the master violin makers and helped him by pointing out details of their workmanship. At that time he and Geoffrey Fushi began to work together.

Robert Bein and Geoffrey Fushi opened Bein & Fushi, Inc., in 1976. Bein spent the next three decades concentrating on the identification and cataloging of fine antique musical instruments and became one of the world's leading authentication authorities. Bein is the co-author and publisher with Fushi of the landmark The Miracle Makers: Stradivari, Guarneri, and Oliveira, a book and three-CD set and the revised, expanded, and enlarged edition of How Many Strads? Our Legacy from the Master by Ernest Doring, as well as numerous short articles and monographs. He was a regular lecturer at the Chicago School of Violinmaking, the Violin Society of America, and the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers.

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