Sonor Signature, HLD 590, Jet Set, Phonic – terms that make the heart of every Sonor aficionado beat faster. Horst Link, the man behind those legendary instruments would have celebrated his 100th birthday on January 5th.
Born as the son of the manufacturer Counsel Otto Link, owner of a musical instrument factory founded in 1875 in Weißenfels on the Saale, Horst Link fared like many of his contemporaries. After graduation from high school and a total of nine years of military service, he found himself forced after the end of the Second World War to leave the Soviet occupation zone and start afresh in the Western part of Germany.
In April 1946, Otto and Horst Link founded a company in Bad Berleburg – Aue, where initially only drum and timpani skins were produced. After 1950, the operation in the GDR was expropriated, took in Bad Berleburg, the production of the former manufactured in Weissenfels musical instruments under the name “Sonor” again. Incidentally, the brand name Sonor has been registered with the Patent Office since 1907. The production program included percussion instruments of various kinds: drums, hand drums and timpani, as well as glockenspiels, xylophones and cymbals. From the 1950s onwards, the complete Orff range of instruments including music pedagogy and music therapy was integrated into the product range. After the death of Consul Otto Link Horst Link took over management in 1955. Thus, Sonor was run in third generation in family ownership.
By the end of the 1980s, Sonor had become a major manufacturer of musical instruments and a qualitative leader in the field of percussion instruments. The current managing director, Stefan Althoff, regards this as the merit of the company owners: “Horst Link and his wife Elisabeth have made Sonor what it is today.” In 1991, the company was acquired by the Matth. Hohner AG, Trossingen, Germany. At that time, Horst Link emphasized that this step had only personal reasons, “the problem of succession had to be solved”. The company remained legally independent. The connection with the Hohner Group opened up new opportunities in export and procurement. Today, the company operates as part of the Hohner Group worldwide and has business contacts in about 60 countries. The approximately 75 employees at the company’s location in Bad Berleburg – Aue mainly produce and sell drums, single drums and the equally extensive Orff range of instruments.
Horst Link’s entrepreneurial activities resulted in a number of honorary posts. So, he was not only 1st Chairman and later Honorary Chairman of the Federal Association of German Musical Instrument Manufacturers e.V., but also made a name for himself in the global music scene. He served as a member of the Council of the Confederation Internationale des Sociétés Musicales (CISM) in Brussels, was a board member of the International Society for Music Education, the initiator of the German Music Fair in Tokyo and co-responsible for the first European Music Fair in Singapore. At his suggestion, the Foundation of the “Frankfurt Music Prize” was first held in 1982. He was particularly fond of the Frankfurt Musikmesse. As a board member of the International Frankfurt Trade Fair, as a member of the supervisory board of Messe und Ausstellungs-GmbH Frankfurt and in particular as elected spokesman of the exhibitor advisory board, he played a key role in making the Frankfurt Musikmesse the largest and most important international music trade fair in the world.
Initially involved in social policy, Horst Link was a member of the local employers’ association. For a decade (1959 to 1969) he held the chairmanship of the Wittgenstein Industrial and Forestry Association. After the integration into the Siegerländer employer federations it belonged until 1993 to the advisory board of the VdSM (federation of the Siegerland metal industrialists). In addition, since 1982 he was an honorary commercial judge at the Siegen district court, was a member of the IHK plenary assembly and served as deputy chairman of the supervisory board of Wittgenstein e.G.
In 1985 he was awarded the Order of Merit 1st Class of the Federal Republic of Germany because of his services to the interests of the musical instrument industry. Horst Link did not let go of his great passion for music when he retired: he completed a master’s degree in musicology in Vienna and, after graduating, obtained his PhD.
Management, works council and staff of Sonor GmbH pay tribute to Horst Link and his family’s extraordinary lifetime achievement!