Our interest in this business began about 14 years ago when we were living in Bulgaria. Roumen Raykovski(owner) was a teacher at Simon Bolivar High School at this time when he found information about the Chicago School of Violin Making. It’s one of the few schools in the world that teaches the traditional methods of violin making. The Bulgarian native made a decision that would change his entire life, to learn to make string instruments. It took Roumen 4 years to learn all the little details of manufacturing hand made violins, violas and cellos. Along with his studying, he started working for the well-known Karnes Music Co. where he repairs, sets up, and making adjustments in string instruments for about six years. Roumen’s knowledge and experience greatly improved and in 2001 he opened his own company, Solo Classic Inc. located in Buffalo Grove.
The following is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the Buffalo Grove Countryside news paper on 8/7/2003:
Handmade from the heart
Violin maker finds contentment in practicing his craft in Buffalo Grove shop
By Marissa Mazza
Roumen Raykovski is not alone at Solo Classic Inc., his new store in Buffalo Grove.
Raykovski is joined by his wife, Dani, and their daughter, Iliana, in operating the business, which makes and sells string instruments.
The Raykovskis opened the business — the only music shop in the Buffalo Grove area with a professional violin-maker on staff at 476 W. Half Day Road in the Woodland Commons shopping center. While Roumen spends much of his time creating instruments from scratch, Dani handles most business affairs. Iliana chips in answering phones and assisting customers.
Raykovski and his family came to the United States from Bulgaria and moved from the Des Plaines area to Buffalo Grove. Violin making started as a hobby for Raykovski, who has always found enjoyment in woodworking.
Raykovski has been an active member of the Violin Society of America.
“I find myself making violins, and I like very much what I am doing with my life,” he said.
Raykovski follows the traditional Italian style of violin making and doesn’t use any power tools during construction. Everything is handmade with hand tools, and it takes about a month to complete a violin, depending on its quality and style. Larger instruments take longer time to finish.
Dani was working in Bulgaria as advertising and marketing manager for all local and national media, including the radio and TV station. From 2001 Dani manage there family business at Solo Classic Inc. and working with schools rental programs, organizes the Recitals and privet lessons program which offers instruction in violin, viola, cello, piano, voice and guitar. She is highly dedicate, love her job and feel bless to help costumers make music.
In the Picture: Iliana Raykovski performs “Nigun for Violin & Orchestra”by Ernest Bloch during the spring Stevenson HS orchestra concert.
Iliana began violin lessons at the age of six in Chicago. Her first teacher, Boris Gorelic has worked as a concert violin master. She continued expanding her musical career with Katie Hamada, a Northwestern P.H.D graduate. Further, she also studied with Sonia Hadar from the Music Institute. Iliana was a very active solo performer and a member of the highest level of her high school orchestra. She has continuously auditioned for the the Solo Assemble Contest, Geneva Granquist Music Competition, and IMEA competitions. Iliana was awarded numerous first place and gold medals for her outstanding performance(s). She very much enjoyed her Patriot Orchestra at Adlai E. Stevenson High School with two excellent conductors: Mr. Clark Chafee and Mr. Enrike Vilaseco. Currently, Iliana is a student at DePaul University majoring in political science with high honors on the Deans list. She hopes to focus in foreign policy and relations in the future, specifically in diplomacy and global activism. She hasn’t forgotten the custom violin her father made her for graduation and continues to actively play the violin.
Our son, Peter, has graduated from Roosevelt University and currently working as a Network Engineer for consulting company. In his high school years, he played cello and base for Maine East orchestra under the direction of Mr. Eubank. Right after high school he worked as a string repairman for Karnes Music for five years. Music is a great passion of his and stays very involved in the business.He enjoys languages,traveling,fishing and photography.