Oleg Semenukha - violin maker

Oleg Semenukha

was born in 1974 in the western Ukrainian city of Novovolynsk. Life led him to violin making in a detour. It started with his love for classical music and especially for the violin, which he gradually developed during his studies in the field of art.

From the beginning, he attended an elementary art school. After completing his primary education, he studied artistic carving at the secondary school in the city of Kovel and finally sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Lviv. The acquired artistic and craft skills later came in very handy for his future career as a violin maker.

"During my time at the Academy, I became friends with several students from the conservatory, and when I saw their masterful instruments, the idea and desire to try making a violin of my own was born in my head." - Oleg Semenukha

A coincidence connected him with the luthier Stanislav Šyľak, under whose mentorship he made his first instrument. Later, he met a violist, the principal of the Lviv Opera and a restorer of stringed instruments in one person - Alexander Svirlov, who taught him the basics of playing the violin and introduced him to the nuances of setting up the instruments. During this period several other violins and violas were born under his hands.

Before his graduation from the Academy, he already came to the Czech Republic for the first time to visit a company manufacturing stringed instruments, where he stayed to work for one year. After returning to Ukraine, he finished his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts and received a diploma as a sculptor-monumentalist, after which he went to permanently live and work in the Czech Republic.

From 2004 to 2009 he worked at the company Rudolf Fidler, where he learned how to make violas, cellos, double basses and viola da gambas, in addition to the violin. He worked a lot with varnish, and had the chance to experiment with it and imitate the appearance of old instruments.

In 2006, he participated for the first time in the international competition of master violin makers in Dolní Kubín, Slovakia. Two years later, during his participation in the international festival of Věnceslav Metelka in Náchod in 2008, he met master luthier Daliborem Bzirským, who later became his teacher. Thanks to his mentorship, as early as in 2010, at the Mittenwald International Violin Making Competition (Germany), his violin was ranked 22nd out of three hundred and fifty-three possible.

In 2011, at the Étienne Vatelote International Competition in Paris, his violin won 16th place out of 58, and at the prestigious Cremona Triennale International Competition in Italy in 2012, his viola won 10th place out of 100.

In 2017, he participated in the international violin competition at the Czech Museum of Music, where his violin was placed 12th out of 36, and he was 3rd among the Czech participants.

Since 2009, he has been working independently as a master luthier. He deals with the production of new instruments as well as repairs and restorations, and since 2018 he has started to focus primarily on the construction of new master instruments.
In 2014 he became a member of the Guild of Prague Violin Makers CECH.
And in 2016 he became a member of the prestigious Czech Circle of Violin Makers KUH.

From September 2015 to February 2021, he visited master luthier Jan Špidlen's atelier several times a week and worked closely with him as a restorer of master stringed instruments.

Currently, Oleg Semenukha works in his own atelier in Rozdělov, Kladno.

Circle of violin makers
Jan Špidlen, Oleg Semenukha
Prague violin makers