From Xavier & Deanndra Deblack
Posted November 13, 2006 at 04:53 PM
The results will eventually be posted along with all past competition winners on this VSA web site
Barnes, Dorian: Certificate of merit for tone;
Bartos, Jan: Certificate of merit for tone;
Bernabeu, Borja: Silver medal for workmanship;
Bingen, Peter J: Certificate of merit for tone;
Hu, Xueping: Certificate of merit for tone;
Jiang, Feng: Certificate of merit for tone, Certificate of merit for workmanship;
Jiang, Shan: Certificate of merit for tone;
Krupa, Krzyszlof: Certificate of merit for workmanship;
Mahu, Philippe: Certificate of merit for workmanship;
Phillips, Jeff: Silver medal for tone;
Schryer, Raymond: Silver medal for workmanship;
Scott, William R: Silver medal for workmanship;
Soltis, Ryan: Certificate of merit for tone;
Spidlen, Jan: Certificate of merit for workmanship;
Wu, Zu-Liang: Silver medal for tone;
Zhao, Shinquan: Certificate of merit for workmanship;
Zhu, Ming-Jiang: Gold medal;
VIOLIN BOW AWARDS:
Dignan, Thomas: Certificate of merit for workmanship;
Dow, Robert: Certificate of merit for workmanship;
Hawthorne, David: Certificate of merit for workmanship;
Krupa, Marcin: Certificate of merit for workmanship;
Le Canu, Yannick: Gold medal;
Lee, Jeong-Bong: Certificate of merit for workmanship;
Morrow, Robert: Certificate of merit for workmanship;
Wehling, Matthew: Gold medal;
If you don't see a name you might expect, bear in mind that with this particular competition, a sufficient number of gold medals means that one can no longer compete.
You can check this on the link to past winners in the previous post.
not questioning the process, just pointing out the potential for some inherent bias built in the system.
since gennedy congrads to "some" winners, to be fair, i say good job to all, even those chinese sounding ones:)
David, thanks in advance.
ps, i think the makers can have labels already affixed inside the violin, but need to find ways to cover the label.
I can only assure you that the contest organizers seem to do everything humanly possible to get valid, unbiased results. That's probably one reason why they don't use the same panel of judges all the time.
When instruments and bows are submitted, they are assigned a number. Later, all the numbers are changed so that a competitor no longer knows which number is his/hers, and couldn't possibly communicate that information to a judge.
It's kind of funny though to imagine someone bribing a judge, telling the judge their instrument number, and someone else's instrument wins because the numbers were later switched!
When I was judging the Cremona competition, a competitor came to the judging area (he wasn't supposed to be anywhere in the vicinity) and started to blurt out a description of the unique and unusual string windings on his violin. Was this to be followed with some kind of financial offer? I don't know. He was sent packing.
You're right though, stuff COULD happen, even possibly the scenario you've described.
If you're concerned about this, I suppose you could pay more attention to a competitors track record over multiple contests with different judging panels, and less attention to the results of one individual contest.
In the VSA competition, all instruments selected for awards are reviewed one last time by ALL the judges to make sure every instrument or bow is worthy, so I'd think that the efforts of an unscupulous judge might be transparent at that point.
i also appreciate your acknowledgement of what i was saying. for instance, you have won more than one time. my hunch is that after you won the first time, those sharp eyes and minds in the industry have got your violin's features ingrained in their system. the second time around, when they see another violin of yours, even with just a number, bells may ring:)
but, if the judges can judge based on the true merits, it does not matter after all.
It's a download, and many computers take some time to load all the pages.
"Very impressive for LeCanu. This is definately a maker to look into in the future."
Yes, but don't forget all the bow makers who have won in the past, including:
Randy L. Steenburgen
David Russell Young
Shu Sheng Kot
D. William Halsey
Rodney D. Mohr
David H. Forbes
Roy G. Quade
I'm sure that he's going to become very successful. He took over from Millant, so does that mean that LeCanu is also issuing certificates, or is that not his speciality? In the future I might consider getting better certification of my G/T Millant, but only if I want to sell it (I don't think this will happen any time soon though).
I know, there are a lot of makers on that list which I endeavour to own. I have a thing with bows, and right now my meager collection of 3 is doing well for me, but I feel like I want to have a bit of everything. Obviously not totally possible right now, but over time I plan on owning several on that list.
Back to our old argument.
From a "Market" point of view, how many on that list command the prices today?
Thomachot seems to be the Knight in Shining Armor don't you agree?!
David, that's a lot of the reason behind it. To me, I find having one violin is really the best, I don't know why but I never really wanted to own multiple violins. I did at one point, owning a Gia Bata Morassi and an old French violin by Solomon, but even though the former is famous in Italy, I didn't think it was that fantastic.
But one day I'll probably want to own many different violins. For now though, having many bows is both cheaper and easier.
Gennady, I can't argue with you on this. Some on that list had their moment in the limelight and have faded away. Some are no longer in the business. At least one is deceased. I didn't attempt to edit the list in terms of investment value.
And Thomachot has been directly or indirectly involved in the training of many on that list.
Maybe this is one of those really good value for money makers.
If you look at the list of other Gold Medal winners from 1994 (in the instrument category), I would say 1 or 2 have become very big names. Frank Ravatin
I have seen some listed for 3K and some for 4K as well.
There was also a HK dealer selling on ebay (not so long ago) his fiddles for a few hundred bucks.
I guess that doesn't help matters any if one is a Gold medal winner.
I humbly propose you test drive all of the makers on that list including your favorite, and compare it to the guys I alsways like to talk about, that includes this years 2 Gold Medal winner Y. LeCanu.
Ole does make nice bows as well.
But to each his own, some like their bows whippy, some like it stiff etc. etc. etc.
Do we have a multiple VSA gold metal winning violin maker selling his violins for $3-5000, or a few hundred dollars on ebay?
Violin by Ming Jiang Zhu. $3,000
Just google it.
About the bows, the Kanestrom is actually my 11-year-old daughter's. She tried quite a few this summer in her quest for her first full-size bow and some were on that list -- among those I remember are Roy Quade, Robert Morrow, Doug Raguse, Roger Zabinski (two), and Lee Guthrie, but there were many others. (Even some carbon fiber bows.) I remember I wanted to try bows by Morgan Andersen, David Samuels and Pierre-Yves Fuchs but didn't come across any. Maybe next time around. And I'll definitely put LeCanu on the list as well.
I do know that testing bows was a lot of fun, and an incredible learning experience. I can see why people collect multiple bows. At the end of the process, although my daughter was especially fond of the Morrow and Raguse bows, on her particular instrument the Kanestrom was the unanimous choice of student and teacher (and me). I must say, though, that if I had the money, I would have snatched up the Morrow bow, and the Raguse as well. Maybe some day.
Bow workmanship judges:
Morgan Andersen, Pierre-Yves Fuchs, Benoit Rolland.
Tone judges included the Audubon quartet.
Jose Cueto, Ellen Jewett, Akemi Takuyama
Toby Appel, Paul Hersh, Doris Lederer
Joel Bechtel, Clyde Shaw, Jeffrey Solow
Michael Formanek, Paul Johnson, Jeff Weisner
I've also tried a line of them at Kamimotos they range from $1600 to $3500 depending on how experienced the maker is, and what type of wood is used. They have a Ming-Jiang Zhu made one for $7500. I don't know if they distinguish on the label who made what, I suspect probably like Scott Cao, there is a numbering scheme.
Hope this helps.
Since Clare mentioned me (Up North Strings) :-), I can spleak about Ming Jiang Zhu a little bit.
I don't personally know Ming myself but do know his cousin who is the dealer of Ming workshop violins. I deal in student grade instruments mostly but do have access to Ming Jiang's master instruments although they are very difficult to get here in the US. He has a long list as you would expect for his bench instruments. I had a rare opportunity to get one of his violins last summer, but didnt (darn).
It is true that Ming markets a line of instruments from his workshop in Beijing. The workshop is small, something like 10 to 15 workers who are hightly skilled and work under Ming himself, watching over their sholders. They use modern tuning methods to achieve different goals although I don't know the specifics of this at the moment. The workshop violins are very high quality, especially those with Euro wood.
Things are obviously different in China and I think Ming is using his notoriety to help many folks. Traveling to the US for a competiion is a big undertaking in time and effort. I have been told that this will be his last competion.
In retrospect, that undermines the credibility of his master instruments. Since the workshop is more abundant in the production of student instruments.
Zhu's instruments stand on their own merit with an intangible magic that puts them in that Gold category. And the workshop instruments carry the essence of the master who is nearby sprinkling magic dust in the air... well, I may be sprinkling magic marketing Bologna around but you get the idea. :-)
BTW I have never sold a Zhu workshop violin to a student, all were pro wanting a nice back-up.
The point I am making is that his best violins are obviously very good, and the fact that he might do questionable things does not make his own, best work, worse. Part of your selling point are these gold medals. Well, he has several so obviously people like Greg Alf and those of his ilk think he's special.
Do his practices affect his credibility as a maker? For sure, but the lesser output by his assistants don't make his own work worse.
Reputation is everything! (in this business or any other).
about your comment: "For sure, but the lesser output by his assistants don't make his own work worse." - perhaps not but the workshop fiddles outnumber his own production by a few thousand........... :)
ps: and I never commented on his ability as a maker. I am sure he is a very talented craftsman.
Many thanks to Mr. Burgess for his time.
sure, reputation is important. but there may be others factors in play that make other issues more of a priority, such as improving living standards from a very low level, such as throwing everything onto the wall to see what stick.
back in the industrial revolution england, the dickinsonian oliver should have gone to school instead of sweeping chimneys. what was his employer thinking!
well, money. oliver could care less because his next meal was on the line. he lived to sweep!
when the soviet union collapsed, army generals were driving taxis to make a living.
oh yeah, back to chinese violin makers...:)
to understand them, may want to start with a harvard sociology class or spend some time in china. until then, it will be more prudent to observe and accept because there is no basis to approve or disapprove.
jim, you are probably the only one left holding the outpost. you may want to check out the trade inbalance. If china really makes everything the way you see fit at a competitive price, you may have no money in the bank to buy anything:)
i am also confused by antonio stradivarius. he should have used the wording "genuine" on his label so no one later will be confused by the copies:)
Stradivarius was busy making violins only for those who could afford to buy them.
The copies made 100-200 years later, were made by others who tried to use the name to appeal to a certain market.
Vuillaume did it out of his repsect for the old, and the market demand for antique looking instruments. Vuillaume revered Stradivarius above all.
Vuillaume's student line of production was the "St. Cecile" line of fiddles, for which he used a totally different varnish recipe.
In the 20th century, many started using the concept in mass production instruments trying to appeal to the student market.
It is quite a different issue when one and the same maker is doing both: making master instruments and trying to corner the global Student market with his workshop. And the workshop fiddles end up outnumbering his master fiddle output by a few thousand.
thanks for the info on vuillume though.
But, I am not worried.
Let me try to clear this up. If you want a Zhu workshop violin then purchase one from a reputable dealer and you will have a very nice fiddle for a decent price made in a small workshop (not factory). It will have a label reading "made in the workshop of Ming jiang Zhu..." It will clearly be labeled with the model number VN-600, VN-700 or VN-800, or VN-900.
On the other hand if you are seeking a Ming Jiang Zhu bench made violin, Ebay is probably NOT your best bet! You might want to contact Zhu himself or a dealer.
It does not help.
Due to this, I find that his own fiddles will have difficulty in attaining a climb in value as did Zygmuntovitch, Alf and so many previous Gold medal winners.
Perhaps it is the reason he entered again (despite the Gold in 1994).
But I am sure he is laghing his way to the bank anyway.
I am trying to be persistent in my intent to distinguish Ming bench instruments and Ming workshop instruments. And my point is is a firm one: not everyone out there is trying to decieve fine working violinists. On the other hand, not everyone has time to, or is able to investigate thoroughly either. So you are very right to be an advocate for those who "pays their money and takes thier chances".
But since Ming has a long waiting list it seems players are waiting to get in line and take a chance that present value will carry and future value is a bonus.
I edited the post above yours as you were writing.
Becoming the next Fagnola, Bisiach, Antoniazzi, Sgarabotto, Fiorini,Poggi etc. is a whole other matter and discussion.
Here is my point:
In 1980, Chen Jin-Nong & Samuel Zygmuntowicz won Gold Medals from VSA.
Where are they now?!
There's your time machine.
Zyg's fiddles are now around 60K.
as for the other............anyone out there know the name?
Zhu is a great craftsman though and I wish him much success.
Anyway, same thing can be said for Frank Ravatin as opposed to u know who......... both 1994 Gold Medal winners.
Ravatin is enjoying a world renowned career, and the prices for his instruments have increased (doubled and then some) since then.
In retrospect, Zhu's student violins could have mass appeal being that they are cheap and for the price well crafted.
But if his Master fiddles ever try to compete in the range of 8K-10K, that is an entirely different story.
Then you have a wide range of top young Italian, French & American makers who people may prefer to invest in (with prospects of increased value for their $$).
Again, perhaps it is the reason he has entered 2006 VSA competition (12 years after his Gold in 1994)?!!
All I can say is time will tell. Jiang, Cao, Zhu have done quite well in anonymous VSA competition. But there is still a bias from some 20th century people against Asian named makers. But maybe not from the billions of Asian-named violin players of the 21st century to come.
Which is economically more viable? To make 6 instruments a year that sell for $15,000 and which MAY become more valuable 20, 50, 100 years down the track. Or to personally make 6 instruments a year which sell for $8,000 now and may only sell for the same in the future, while at the same time owning/running a workshop that turns out hundreds of instruments a year selling in the $500 to $1500 range.
I'm not sure there is anything wrong with taking the short term view. For some people, simple circumstances can force them into meeting immediate financial needs.
If the value of any one instrument (i.e. a gold medal winning instrument) is devalued because the maker's name also appears on el cheapo workshop instruments then so what? Maybe that's just life or maybe it says more about buyers' (in)ability to evaluate single instruments when purchasing.
If you don't like them.....I have others.
most Asians (at least the ones I've dealt with), want to own Italian Fiddles and French bows...........
As well as CHANEL NO 5 (EAU DE PARFUM), BMW or Mercedes-Benz and a house in the most expensive neighborhood. And they are not the only ones who want those things.
With regards, to European names etc., there have been many asian makers (award winning) in the 70's, 80's, 90's etc. Time has already spoken about them and the market.
I have been collecting and in the business for 25 years, so I am speaking from experience.
This is a very old argument. If you own the M. Brinser book, take a look. Same arguments were presented (back in the 40's-60's), and take a look who withstood the test of time.
From the buyer's perspective, a good cheap fiddle is great (short term is fine). Once you pass the threshold of 8K, then one starts to ponder over long term investment.
But the market is not based on "so, what". There are many factors involved in why and how an instrument becomes a collectable.
Ferrarris don't make a line of affordable cars for the mortals do they? And that is part of the reason they are Ferrarris which maintain their appeal.
And like I said, despite what we say, Zhu is laughing his way to the Bank (RE: Student Line of Workshop Fiddles).
I think Ming's thinking above the curve by acting in a way that helps China as a whole, Chinese workers, himself, dealer networks and higher level players. Okay, lets say Ming were to say "I have a name now and I am moving west to stake my claim in violin history". He could move to New York and hook up with a bunch of high level players, undoubtedly making them happy. His rep would grow, prices rise...success, right? From the perspecive of some, yes. But what if he he stays in Beijing in his workshop (not factory) to try to achieve the highest level of violin quality bringing extreme knowledge and clout to compete in a mega-industry there? Is this a higher achievement? For him I think, yes, it is.
Again, we are going in circles Ken.
No matter how you slice it, I am sure Zhu will do fine with the workshop fiddles..............
But hey, don't let me spoil your fun in denigrating Asian makers simply because they choose a different marketing model from one that would suit you.
Oh and btw, Ferrari does make a cheap line of cars, they're called FIATs. Of course, that could also be put the other way round. Wonder how upset you'd get if a maker called his bench instruments after himself, but used a totally different name for his workshop fiddles.
I stated several times:
".....despite what we say, Zhu is laughing his way to the Bank (RE: Student Line of Workshop Fiddles)."
What I am stating are observations (from many years of experience in the business).
I have not made any comments regarding abilities as makers or other.
If you haven't noticed, this is a discussion forum.
I guess I should point out the total history of Ferrari to you:
Ferrari is an Italian sports car manufacturer based in Maranello, Italy. Founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1929 as Scuderia Ferrari, the company sponsored drivers and manufactured race cars before moving into production of street legal vehicles in 1946 as Ferrari S.p.A.. Throughout its history, the company has been noted for its continued participation in racing, especially in Formula One, where it has largely enjoyed great success, especially during the 1950s, 1960s and late 1990s.
After years of financial struggles, Enzo Ferrari sold the company's sports car division to the Fiat group in 1969 in order to help ensure continued financial backing for the foreseeable future. Ferrari himself retained control of the racing division until his death in 1988 at the age of 90.
BTW, you also missed the point I made, that if one's workshop fiddles outnumber your Master instruments by a couple of thousand, that doesn't help nor ensure the future value of the Master instrument(s).
I guess long live Free Market Communism....Great eh?
I'm very well acquainted with the history of Ferrari. I'm unclear why you would think otherwise. You indicated that you believed Ferrari did not have a cheap brand of cars. I merely noted that they're now owned by FIAT and consequently most definitely do have the automotive equivalent of a workshop range of cars. Sheesh, it's like discussing something with a jellyfish.
Anyway, fortunately this thread's about to reach its limit so I'll let you have the last word. Go wild.
You missed every point I had made regarding this thread. So if you think you are an expert in violin market analysis, then speak your mind and shed some light on the subject.
You are "critisizing" my observation(s)?
Like I said; if you don't like it........I have others!
I have pointed out my personal observations on the subject. No "dissing" here. I have stated what the facts are and what has recent history shown.
So who is being obtuse here EH?
And BTW, FIAT's, have nothing to do with crafstmanship nor design or etc. of Ferrari's do they?
PS: again you also missed the point I made, that if one's workshop fiddles outnumber your Master instruments by a couple of thousand, that doesn't help nor ensure the future value of the Master instrument(s).
........and despite what we say, Zhu is laughing his way to the Bank (RE: Student Line of Workshop Fiddles)
To your other post:
"But would I rather own a violin workshop than be a good independent maker? Probably."
But only if you lived in China could you afford to and then actually make money.
'Free Market Communism'....Great eh???
Violinist.com Editor Laurie Niles is in New York to cover the biennial event at The Juilliard School, including classes by Brian Lewis and Sarah Chang.
Please consider supporting Violinist.com by becoming a sponsor, and reaching our dedicated community of violin professionals, students and fans!