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Violin Society of America holds an annual conference and every second year the conference is combined with an international violin making competition. This week long event is a great place to pick up inspiration for new things to try, to look for answers to questions and to spend time with people who truly get it about some of your daily frustrations and achievements.

Entering instruments in the competition can give you a goal for the rest of the working year and drives you to keep improving your game. It also helps me focus my awareness of what my colleagues are up to. Having done this for over 10 years it’s interesting to see fashions change.


Some of the nearly 250 competing violins. There are categories for bow making, bass, cello , viola, violin and string quartet . Instruments are judged on their physical appearance and functionality and separately by eminent musicians for tone. The competition attracts entrants from all over the world.


I was honored and delighted to be awarded a silver medal for cello tone for my rendering of a Ruggieri model in poplar. Players commented on its power, easy response and , in particular its color range