Almost 30 gold medals went to the violin, viola, cello and double bass makers at the awards dinner on 17 November

The award-winning luthiers at the 17 November ceremony

The award-winning luthiers at the 17 November ceremony

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The Violin Society of America’s 2022 violin making competition has concluded with 49 medals awarded to instrument and bow makers. The instrument judges awarded 28 gold and 21 silver medals in total, while the bow judges awarded six gold medals and no silvers.

The 24th international competition took place alongside the VSA’s annual convention, held at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Anaheim, California, between 13 and 17 November. Normally a biennial competition, this was the first to take place since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. At the 2018 competition, only 13 gold medals were awarded, including two double golds for tone and artisanship.

Among the big winners was Canadian luthier Mark Schnurr, who received six medals overall. His quartet of instruments received a double gold medal for tone and artisanship; his viola also picked up a double gold; his violin was given a gold for tone; and his cello received a silver for artisanship. Readers of The Strad can find Mark Schnurr’s Trade Secrets article on making a scroll cast in the November 2022 issue.

Other winners included the husband-and-wife team of Mira Gruszow and Gideon Baumblatt, whose quartet received a gold medal for artisanship. ‘It’s amazing to receive such recognition for the full quartet,’ Baumblatt told The Strad, ‘but even more amazing to be sharing that success with many of our dear friends and colleagues with whom we collaborate so much. This really is a success of sharing knowledge at so many stages. We meet and talk with many of the winners on a very regular basis. The camaraderie within this group is truly unique and wonderful!’

Over 430 violins, violas, cellos and bows were submitted for the competition, by 258 makers from 21 countries. The other double-gold winners were: Fabienne Gauchet, Justin Hess (violin); Emilio Kusi Crabbé & Chiling Chen (viola); Christopher Savino (double bass).

This year’s tone judges were Roberto Cani, Cristian Fatu and Dennis Kim (violin); Andrew Duckles, Alma Fernandez and Teng Li (viola); Ben Hong, Thomas Landshoot and Ken Finch (cello); and Nico Abondolo, David Allen Moore and Duane Rosengard (double bass). The Catalyst Quartet, made up of violinists Karla Donehew Perez and Alex Gonzalez, violist Paul Laraia and cellist Karlos Rodriguez, judged the tone of the submitted quartet instruments.

The artisanship judges were: Tom Croen, Andrea Frandsen and David Gusset (violin); Joseph Grubaugh, Silvio Levaggi and Raymond Schryer (viola, cello and quartet) Nick Lloyd, James Ham and Arnold Schnitzer (double bass and quartet); and Stéphane Thomachot, Yung Chin and Tim Baker (bows).

The full list of winners is below:

Violin

Double Gold Medal for Tone and Artisanship

Fabienne Gauchet

Justin A. Hess

Gold Medal for Artisanship

Mark Schnurr

Daniel Gillespie

Silver Medal for Tone

Stefan Valcuha

Jake Jiwon Han

Silver Medal for Artisanship

Gábor Draskóczy 

Emilio Kusi Crabbé and Chiling Chen

Certificate of Merit for Tone

Dereck Coons

Darryn Smalley

Zhaoyan Tian

Jordan Hess

Jiansheng Mai

Alkis Rappas

Ryan L Soltis

Vladimir Tilev

Michael Szyper

Eduard Miller

Mark Schnurr

Haide Lin and Zu-Liang Wu

Piotr Pielaszek

Certificate of Merit for Artisanship

Eduard Miller

Simon Eberl and Julia Jostes

Emma Draghi and Milos Seyda

Gianmaria Stelzer

Christian Schabbon

Noémie Viaud

Ulrike Dederer

Piotr Pielaszek

Paweł Kubacka

Viateur Roy

Andrew Ryan

Christopher White

Guy Harrison

Ryan L Soltis

Krzysztof Krupa

Michael Doran

Mira Gruszow and Gideon Baumblatt

Alina Kostina

Viola

Double Gold Medal for Tone and Artisanship

Mark Schnurr

Emilio Kusi Crabbé and Chiling Chen

Gold Medal for Artisanship

Noémie Viaud

Silver Medal for Tone

Haide Lin and Zu-Liang Wu

Zhen Hua Ling

Alina Kostina

Vladimir Tilev

Silver Medal for Artisanship

Louis Gord

Viateur Roy

Piotr Pielaszek

Certificate of Merit for Tone

Zhiling Liang

Jake Jiwon Han

Mira Gruszow and Gideon Baumblatt

Edwin Halloran

Noémie Viaud

Yan Wang

Certificate of Merit for Artisanship

Simon Eberl and Julia Jostes

Ulrike Dederer

Eunbyul Yoo

Krzysztof Krupa

Weitao Gong

Ryan L Soltis

Theodore Skreko

Mira Gruszow and Gideon Baumblatt

Bin Li

 

Cello

Silver Medal for Tone

  • Stefano Gibertoni and Valerio Nalin

Silver Medal for Artisanship

  • Simon Eberl and Julia Jostes
  • Piotr Pielaszek
  • Krzysztof Krupa
  • Mark Schnurr
  • Antoine Nedelec and Ryan Soltis
  • Viateur Roy

Certificate of Merit for Tone

  • Zoran Stilin
  • Peter Bingen

Certificate of Merit for Artisanship

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

Bass

Double Gold Medal for Tone & Artisanship

Christopher Savino

Gold Medal for Artisanship

Evan Davenport

 

Silver Medal for Artisanship

Christian Pedersen and Paul Hart

Mason Weedman

Double Certificate of Merit for Tone & Artisanship

Tetsu Suzuki

Trevor Davis

Certificate of Merit for Tone

Evan Davenport

 

Quartet

Double Gold Medal for Tone and Artisanship for Quartet

Mark Schnurr

Gold Medal for Tone

Simon Eberl and Julia Jostes

Gold Medal for Artisanship

Piotr Pielaszek

Viateur Roy

Mira Gruszow and Gideon Baumblatt

Emilio Kusi Crabbé and Chiling Chen

Silver Medal for Artisanship

Krzysztof Krupa

Certificate of Merit for Tone

Emilio Kusi Crabbé and Chiling Chen

Piotr Pielaszek

Jun Qiu Mai

Artur Friedhoff

Mira Gruszow and Gideon Baumblatt

Certificate of Merit for Artisanship

Simon Eberl and Julia Jostes

Noémie Viaud

Stefano Gibertoni

 

Violin bow

Gold Medal for Artisanship

Victor Bernard

Niall Flemming

Certificate of Merit for Artisanship

Lucie Martinie

Marie Chastagnol

Viola bow

Gold Medal for Artisanship

Niall Flemming

Lucie Martinie

Certificate of Merit for Artisanship

Doriane Bodart

Victor Bernard

 

Cello bow

Gold Medal for Artisanship

Lucie Martinie

Certificate of Merit for Artisanship

Doriane Bodart

Niall Flemming

Marcin Krupa

Victor Bernard

Bass bow

Gold Medal for Artisanship

Jordan Scapinello

Certificate of Merit for Artisanship

Steven DeCoux

Eric Gagné

Photo: courtesy VSA