Violin Society of America Convention

Top Modern Violin Makers Honored in the 2016 Violin Society of America Competition border=0 align=

Top Modern Violin Makers Honored in the 2016 Violin Society of America Competition

November 18, 2016, 11:39 PM · It's not necessary to buy a Strad to have a very fine instrument these days, with the art of violin at such a high level. If you are curious about who the best contemporary instrument and bow makers are, here is a good starting point: the winners of the Violin Society of America's 22nd International Violin and Bow Making Competition, announced on Friday in Cleveland.

Top makers of strings instruments and bows came from all over the world to Cleveland for the Violin Society of America convention this week, and the competition is just one part of it. Here are the winning luthiers and bowmakers in the violin and viola categories, chosen from hundreds of entries. Wherever possible, I've provided the link in case you wish to learn more about any of these makers. For winners in other categories, including cello, bass and quartet, please see this page.


Gabor Draskoczy
Violin maker Gabor Draskoczy.
Double Gold Medal for Tone and Workmanship: Gabor Draskoczy

Silver Medal for Workmanship:
Justin Hess
Yunhai Xu
Piotr Pielaszek
Rainer Beilharz
Andrew Ryan
Jinlong Yang

Certificate of Merit for Workmanship:
Michael Doran
Antoine Nedelec
Ryan L Soltis
Eduard Miller
Philip Ihle
Stephan von Baehr & Emilio Crabbé
Shu-Wei Xiao
Christian Schabbon
Fabienne Gauchet
Alina Kostina Keep reading...

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A List of Established Modern Violin and Bow Makers from the VSA's New Instrument Exhibit

October 23, 2014, 2:46 PM · Who exactly are some of the more established modern violin and bow makers who are raising the art of the craft to new level? We hope that the list below can serve as a helpful resource to anyone looking for a fine modern instrument.

Last month during the Violin Society of America's Convention, an entire exhibit was devoted to new violins make by well-established violin and bow makers. Many of these makers have won so many VSA awards that they were no longer eligible to enter the 2014 VSA Competition for makers (Winners of the 2014 Violin Society of America Competition are listed here.)

Called the "New Instrument Exhibit," it featured 120 instruments and bows by 85 makers. Players visited the room all week to test the violins and bows, and they often could meet the maker right there in the room; so it was possible to speak to a maker while testing his or her violin or bow. What an incredible opportunity! Keep reading...

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How Giora Schmidt found his modern violin

October 22, 2014, 2:36 PM · For soloist Giora Schmidt, playing a modern violin is no Plan B.

But coming around to that feeling of certainty was a major education and a long journey. Giora spoke about his experience with modern violins at a lecture on violin quality that took place in Indianapolis last month as part of the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis and the Violin Society of America Convention.

His familiarity with both old and new violins is also probably one reason why he was chosen as one of the 10 violinists who took part in the 2012 Paris Experiment, in which American violin maker Joseph Curtin and French acoustics researcher Claudia Fritz devised a scientific study to compare six old Italian violins to six modern violins. Keep reading...

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Comparing Strads and Moderns, with Phillip Setzer, Cho-Liang Lin and the Paris Experiment researchers

October 21, 2014, 2:34 PM · How do modern violins compare to the best Strads, when played side-by-side?

One of the most memorable events in Indianapolis last month was when violinists Phillip Setzer and Cho-Liang Lin took time from their duties as jurists at the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis to perform on Stradivari violins and great moderns, including prize-winning moderns from the Violin Society of America's instrument contest, which took place at the same time. Not only that, but violin maker Joseph Curtin and researcher Claudia Fritz, known for their experiments with modern and old instruments, provided context by presenting some of their thoughts and findings during this event, called "Violin Quality and the Paris Experiment," which was as much a concert as a lecture on Sept. 20 at the Indiana History Center.

Phillip Setzer started by performing his own arrangement of the Schubert Song, Du Bist die Ruh, first on the 1714 "Jackson" Strad, then on Setzer's own violin made by Sam Zygmuntowicz, which was based on the Jackson. Keep reading...

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