Martin Otto Bielke

By John Dilworth

BIELKE, Martin Otto Born 1896 Merrill, Wisconsin, died 1979 Minneapolis, Minnesota USA. Trained as a car mechanic and blacksmith. Active violin maker from 1933. Largely self-taught, by 1942 he had produced about 30 violins, but then turned to bow making exclusively. Working from his home at 3311 Newton Avenue North in Minneapolis, he received help and patronage from Kenneth Warren in Chicago and Rembert Wurlitzer in New York. His bows were used by Isaac Stern and Leonid Kogan amongst others. Made well over 200 bows, using Tourte and Peccatte models. Retired in early 1970s due to glaucoma, but taught William Scott and Roger Zabinski, both local bow makers. [Wenberg]