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Violin, viola, cello and bow makers honoured at 2016 VSA competition

Hungarian luthier Gábor Draskóczy scores double gold in violin category

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Ten gold medals were awarded at this year’s Violin Society of America international makers’ competition, held in Cleveland, Ohio, from 13–18 November. Eight of these were given to bow makers, while the only two to be awarded in the instrument categories went to Gábor Draskóczy. The Hungarian-born luthier, who works as head of new making at Florian Leonhard Fine Violins in London, received a double gold for tone and workmanship in the violin category.

Among the silver medallists for violin (workmanship) were Yunhai Zu (China), who won a gold for cello at the China International Violin Making and Bow Making Competition, held earlier this year; Piotr Pielaszek (Poland), a finalist in this year’s International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Making Competition; and Andrew Ryan (US), whose article on fingerboard fitting appeared in The Strad’s Trade Secrets section in April 2012.

Martin Héroux (Canada) won the only silver medal (tone) in the viola category, while six silvers were awarded for cello. For double bass, US maker Robert McIntosh won the only medal, a silver for tone. Kevin Kelly (US), another contributor to The Strad’s Trade Secrets section, won a silver for tone in the string quartet category, where Hayato Nagaishi, a Japan-born maker based in Cremona, won a silver for workmanship. Nagaishi, who received an honorable mention at the 2015 Cremona Triennale, also won a silver for cello (tone).

Bow makers Cody Kowalski (US) and Emmanuel Bégin (France) won three gold medals apiece, each winning in the violin, viola and cello categories. Other gold medallists were Eric Fournier and Emmanuel Carlier, both from France.

The 2016 competition attracted 274 competitors from 22 countries, and from 27 US states. The competing instruments comprised 197 violins, 102 violas, 60 cellos, 8 double basses, 26 string quartets and 60 bows. While the number of gold medals was up from 2014, when nine were awarded, the record stands at 16 golds, awarded in 2012 – 5 for instruments and 11 for bows.

Full list of winners:

VIOLIN

Double Gold Medal for Tone and Workmanship

Gábor Draskóczy

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
VIOLA

Silver Medal for Tone

Martin Heroux

Certificate of Merit for Workmanship

Ryan L Soltis

Yunhai Xu

Shiquan Zhao

Hayato Nagaishi

Marcus Klimke

Certificate of Merit for Tone

Evan Davenport

Zhongqiu Chang

Jian Hua Xie

Zhiling Liang & Zhenyu Liang

Gary Garavaglia

CELLO

Silver Medal for Workmanship

Guy Harrison

Hayato Nagaishi

Peter Goodfellow

Silver Medal for Tone

Mira Gruszow & Gideon Baumblatt

Benjamin Wilke

Lawrence Wilke

Certificate of Merit for Workmanship

Michael Doran

Certificate of Merit for Tone

Andrew Carruthers

DOUBLE BASS

Silver Medal for Tone

Robert McIntosh

Double Certificate of Merit for Tone and Workmanship

William Lakeberg

Certificate of Merit for Workmanship

Joey Naeger

Certificate of Merit for Tone

Arnold Schnitzer

Trevor Davis & David Briggs

Christopher Savino
STRING QUARTET

Silver Medal for Workmanship

Hayato Nagaishi

Silver Medal for Tone

Kevin Kelly

Certificate of Merit for Workmanship

Shuide Mai & Huo Rong Jiang

Mira Gruszow & Gideon Baumblatt

Certificate of Merit for Tone

Haide Lin & Zu-Liang Wu

Martin Heroux

Yi Huan Wang

VIOLIN BOW

Gold Medal

Cody Kowalski

Emmanuel Bégin

Emmanuel Carlier

Certificate of Merit

Paul Goh

Eric Fournier

Victor Bernard

David Hawthorne
VIOLA BOW

Gold Medal

Eric Fournier

Cody Kowalski

Emmanuel Bégin

Certificate of Merit

Joséphine Thomachot

Paul Goh

Eric Gagné

Emmanuel Carlier

CELLO BOW

Gold Medal

Cody Kowalski

Emmanuel Bégin

Certificate of Merit

Emmanuel Carlier

Eric Gagné

Eric Fournier

BASS BOW

Certificate of Merit

Satoshi Kamata & Hitoshi Takeda

Emmanuel Bégin

Susan Lipkins

Steven DeCoux

 

Image: courtesy VSA