The good news is that it's a wonderful time to be buying a modern violin. The bad news is: it's really hard to narrow down the search!
Contemporary makers are creating violins of such high quality that some have called it a new "Golden Age" of violin-making. But how does one choose from among so many makers? One way is to listen to those violins, played by an excellent violinist. To that end, last month Metzler Violin Shop in Glendale, Calif. held its second Contemporary Violin and Bow Maker Exhibition. As part of it, on March 23 violinist Blake Pouliot played 35 modern American violins, so that listeners could make a tonal comparision. This was one of a number of such events that Metzler has done and we have covered; others include a 2017 Exhibition of Modern Cremonese Instruments and a 2017 Exhibition of Modern American Instruments.
We have organized this demonstration a way that we hope you find useful, with links to all the makers and their websites (just click on their names) and Blake's demonstration broken into 15-minute intervals, with each violin labeled within the video as well. Much thanks to Mike Kelley and Metzler violins for providing the raw video. The violins in this demonstration ranged in price from $9,000 to $36,000, with most in the $10,000-$20,000 range.
If you are looking for a new violin, listening to these kinds of demonstrations can be helpful. You can find more demonstrations of these makers and others in the links at the bottom of this article.
If you become interested, what are the next steps? Well for these particular violins, all the violins below are currently on exhibit at Metzler Violin Shop through May 31; click on this page to find a list of all the makers, and click on the name of the maker in order to get more information about that particular violin.
But if you are on a more long-term search, here are a few other steps you can take:
One of the wonderful things about modern violins is the fact that you can speak to the maker of the violin -- this is something that owners of antique violins can't do!
Here are the video clips from the demonstration, along with links to each violin maker:
William Atwood, Santa Cruz, CA: 2001
Sam Billings, Los Angeles, CA: 2018
Scott Cao, Campbell, CA: 2016
Andrew Carruthers, Santa Rosa, CA: 2016
David Chrapkiewicz, Washington Grove, MD: 2017
Douglas Cox, Brattleboro, VT: 2016
Michael Daddona, Salisbury, CT: 2017
Jedidjah de Vries, Boston, MA: 2015
Anton Domozhyrov, Winnipeg, MB: 2016
Warren Ellison, Jericho Center, VT: 2017
Julia Felix, Boston, MA 2015
Ron Fletcher, Yonkers, NY 2010
Jonathan Franke, Monroe, OR 2003
Marinos Glitsos, St. Paul, MN 2017
Todd Goldenberg, North Berwick, ME 2017
J. & S. Seifert Grubaugh, Petaluma, CA 2018
David Gusset, Eugene, OR 2015
John Hill, Medford, OR 2015
Randy Hoshaw, Des Moines, IA 1988
Kurt Jones, Whitefish, MT 2000
Alina Kostina, Eugene, OR 2017
Joseph Liu, Los Angeles, CA 2013
Ray Melanson, Rochester, MA 2017
Francis Morris, Great Barrington, MA 2016
Alkis Rappas, Kingwood, TX 2014
Cameron Robertson, Atlanta, GA 2016
Jeffrey Robinson, Flagstaff, AZ 2018
Steve Rossow, St. Paul, MN 2013
Theodore Skreko, Indianapolis, IN 2018
Anja Sonderling, Agua Dulce, CA 2017
Timothy Summerville, Chicago, IL 2017
James Thornton, Chicago, IL 2018
Christopher Ulbricht, Indianapolis, IN 2018
David Van Zandt, Seattle, WA 2017
William Whedbee, Chicago, IL 1988
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