Top Modern Violin Makers Honored in the 2022 Violin Society of America Competition

November 21, 2022, 7:05 PM · Curious about which modern violin makers are achieving excellence in their craft these days? Here is a good place to find top makers: last week the Violin Society of America (VSA) announced the winners of its instrument-making competition in conjunction with its biannual convention, which took place Nov. 13-18 in Anaheim, Calif. The convention, with more than 350 attendees, 26 speakers, and 60 vendors and sponsors, was the first live event of its kind by the VSA since 2018.

The VSA's instrument-making contest was the largest to date, with more than 430 violins, violas, cellos and bows by 258 makers from 21 countries. The instruments were judged by 30 internationally recognized experts, who studied the double-blind entries over four days of evaluation.

VSA winners
Award-winning luthiers smile moments after receiving their VSA medals and certificates.

"Contemporary violin and bow makers have once again demonstrated their collective drive to reach new heights," said VSA President Bill Scott. "The world-class achievements celebrated tonight are worthy of the most discerning musicians who rely on exceptional instruments."

Awards included six Double-Gold Medals in Artisanship and Tone, which is the highest recognition possible. Other awards included 16 Gold and 21 Silver Medals, as well as 76 Certificates of Merit, for a total of 119 awards to commend outstanding examples from modern makers.

Aside from the competition, the 2022 VSA convention featured scholarly presentations, live demonstrations, and a rare collection of 19 instruments by members of the Guarneri family from 18th Century Italy.

Here is a list of the award-winning luthiers:

VIOLIN

Double Gold Medal for Artisanship & Tone
Fabienne Gauchet
Justin Hess

Gold Medal for Artisanship
Daniel Gillespie
Mark Schnurr

Silver Medal for Artisanship
Emilio Kusi Crabbé and Chiling Chen
Gabor Draskoczy

Gold Medal for Tone
Guy Harrison

Silver Medal for Tone
Jake Jiwon Han
Stefan Valcuha

Certificates for Artisanship and Tone
Piotr Pielaszek
Eduard Miller
Ryan L Soltis

Certificate for Artisanship
Alina Kostina
Mira Gruszow and Gideon Baumblatt
Michael Doran
Krzysztof Krupa
Guy Harrison
Christopher White
Andrew Ryan
Viateur Roy
Pawel Kubacka
Ulrike Dederer
Noémie Viaud
Christian Schabbon
Gianmaria Stelzer
Emma Draghi and Milos Seyda
Simon Eberl and Julia Jostes

Certificate for Tone
Haide Lin and Zu-Liang Wu
Mark Schnurr
Michael Szyper
Vladimir Tilev
Alkis Rappas
Jiansheng Mai
Jordan Hess
Zhaoyan Tian
Darryn Smalley
Dereck Coons

VSA Judge
Silvio Levaggi, Artisanship Judge for Viola, Cello, and Quartet categories, records his comments on competition instruments.

VIOLIN BOW:

Gold Medal for Artisanship
Niall Flemming
Victor Bernard

Certificate for Artisanship
Marie Chastagnol
Lucie Martinie

VIOLA

Double Gold Medal for Artisanship & Tone
Mark Schnurr
Emilio Kusi Crabbé & Chiling Chen

Gold Medal for Artisanship
Noémie Viaud

Silver Medal for Artisanship
Piotr Pielaszek
Viateur Roy
Louis Gord

Certificate for Artisanship
Bin Li
Mira Gruszow and Gideon Baumblatt
Theodore Skreko
Ryan L Soltis
Weitao Gong
Krzysztof Krupa
Eunbyul Yoo
Ulrike Dederer
Simon Eberl and Julia Jostes

Silver Medal for Tone
Vladimir Tilev
Alina Kostina
Zhen Hua Ling
Haide Lin and Zu-Liang Wu

Certificate for Tone
Yan Wang
Noémie Viaud
Edwin Halloran
Mira Gruszow and Gideon Baumblatt
Jake Jiwon Han
Zhiling Liang

VIOLA BOW

Gold Medal for Artisanship
Lucie Martinie
Niall Flemming

Certificate for Artisanship
Victor Bernard
Doriane Bodart

trying instruments
A convention attendee plays a violin in the New Instrument Exhibit, a noncompetitive showcase held in support of The VSA Scholarship Fund.

CELLO

Silver Medal for Artisanship
Viateur Roy
Antoine Nedelec and Ryan Soltis
Mark Schnurr
Krzysztof Krupa
Piotr Pielaszek
Simon Eberl and Julia Jostes

Certificate for Artisanship
Noémie Viaud
Chiling Chen and Emilio Kusi Crabbé
Mira Gruszow and Gideon Baumblatt
Michael Doran
Artur Friedhoff

Silver Medal for Tone
Stefano Gibertoni and Valerio Nalin

Certificate for Tone
Peter Bingen
Zoran Stilin

CELLO BOW

Gold Medal for Artisanship
Lucie Martinie

Certificate for Artisanship
Victor Bernard
Marcin Krupa
Niall Flemming
Doriane Bodart

BASS

Double Gold Medal for Artisanship & Tone
Christopher Savino

Gold Medal for Artisanship
Evan Davenport

Silver Medal for Artisanship
Mason Weedman
Christian Pedersen and Paul Hart

Certificates for Artisanship and Tone
Trevor Davis
Tetsu Suzuki

Certificate for Tone
Evan Davenport

BASS BOW

Gold Medal for Artisanship
Jordan Scapinello

Certificate for Artisanship
Eric Gagne
Steven DeCoux

QUARTET

Double Gold Medal for Artisanship & Tone
Mark Schnurr

Gold Medal for Artisanship
Emilio Kusi Crabbé and Chiling Chen
Mira Gruszow and Gideon Baumblatt
Viateur Roy
Piotr Pielaszek

Silver Medal for Artisanship
Krzysztof Krupa

Certificate for Artisanship
Stefano Gibertoni
Noémie Viaud
Simon Eberl and Julia Jostes

Gold Medal for Tone
Simon Eberl and Julia Jostes

Certificate for Tone
Mira Gruszow and Gideon Baumblatt
Artur Friedhoff
Jun Qiu Mai
Emilio Kusi Crabbé and Chiling Chen


Founded in 1974, The Violin Society of America is a non-profit organization that promotes the art and science of making, repairing and preserving stringed musical instruments and their bows. The VSA holds events, publishes journals, and awards scholarships and grants to expand the field of lutherie. Membership is open to all and includes over 1,200 makers, dealers, players and enthusiasts.

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Replies

November 22, 2022 at 08:47 PM · How come none of the bows for any medals for tone?

November 23, 2022 at 01:43 AM · Bows are evaluated strictly on artisanship, and are not played.

November 23, 2022 at 02:04 PM · Im so happy to see my good friend Mark Schnurr attaining success in his craft.Ive known Mark since he made violin #1 and I knew back then that he had enormous talent and would go a long way.Mark has a relentless drive,excellent ear and strong work ethic that is apparent in his instruments.A job well done!

November 23, 2022 at 03:01 PM · That’s some crazy award Mark has achieved.

Double gold medal is already hard, yet he did it with viola and quartet. His violin also got gold and certificate for tone.

November 23, 2022 at 03:21 PM · I lived only 10 minutes away from Mark and went to his house regularly to try his latest creation.It was such a great learning experience for both of us .Mark is very upfront and objective which comes through in each successive instrument.The improvement in violins #1 to about #15 was extraordinary.He moved to Flesherton about eight years ago and built a beautiful studio.I can' t imagine what his latest violins sound like.In fact I think I' ll pay him a visit over the holidays...

November 23, 2022 at 05:47 PM · As I asked before, what about the VSO Awards?

November 23, 2022 at 10:24 PM · Peter, If you do make that trip over the holidays, a blog post about your visit would be really interesting!

November 23, 2022 at 11:36 PM · I never thought of that Diana.Yes.Great idea!

November 24, 2022 at 02:48 PM · Shouldn't bows be evaluated for tone, since everyone knows they differ so much?

November 24, 2022 at 03:10 PM · As a Canadian string player, I think most of my colleagues here are very proud of the achievements of the Canadian luthiers at this competition, Mark Schnurr leading the pack! 3 of the six double-golds went to Canadian makers, along with numerous other awards. Maybe it is something in the maple syrup... Increasingly my colleagues (and me) have chosen Schnurr violins and the works of several other excellent makers resident here, with great satisfaction and some pride.

November 25, 2022 at 03:48 AM · Yep... Mark Schnurr from Southwestern Ontario, Fabienne Gauchet from Montreal, and Guy Harrison from Ottawa. It's quite a good list of gold medalists.

We got the opportunity to try the violins from both Guy Harrison and Fabienne and both was great!

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