Sixteen gold medals were awarded at the Violin Society of America’s international makers’ competition held in Cleveland, Ohio, on 15 November. Feng Jiang, who is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, won gold medals for both tone and workmanship in the violin category – a feat that has occurred only once before – and New York-based Susan Lipkins became the first female bow maker to win gold in the bass bow division.
Jeff Phillips and Benjamin Ruth won golds in both the violin and viola categories (Phillips had achieved the same feat in 2010). Antoine Nédélec also took a gold in the viola section. Kelvin Scott was the only gold medallist in the cello division, and no gold was awarded in the double bass section. Stephan von Baehr and Paul Belin were given a joint gold for their work in the quartet category.
Paris-based Emmanuel Carlier was the most successful bow maker at the competition, winning gold in three categories: violin, cello and bass bows. Gary Leahy took golds in the violin and viola sections. Apart from Lipkins, the only other gold medallist was Emmanuel Begin, who won in the cello section.
The number of gold medals awarded this year almost equalled the record seventeen won in 2010. In that competition, however, only five golds were awarded for instruments, compared with eight this year.
The biennial VSA competition was first held in 1975 and has run every even-numbered year since 1976.