Violin Maker Jeff Phillips Sweeps Rare Golden Double at Violin Society of America Awards

Violin Society of America gold Medal Cover

The competition prizes have today been announced at the 2014 Violin Society of America International Instrument and Bow Making Competition, in Indianapolis - with coveted dual gold medals, for both 'Violin Tone' and 'Violin Workmanship' awarded to Salt Lake City-based luthier, Jeff Phillips.

"It is very exciting, and I am honoured to have won both accolades," Jeff Phillips has told The Violin Channel.

"The prize winning instrument is not a copy of a specific violin but is based on the general models of Stradivari," Phillips has said, " ... you never know what you are going to get when you make an instrument ... you have to guide it somewhat, but also let it be what it wants to be."

A gold medal for 'Violin Tone & Workmanship' was also awarded to American luthier, Collin Gallahue - assistant to famed New York-based string instrument maker, Samuel Zygmuntowicz.

"The standard was very high this year,"  Judge Jan Spidlen has said, "... out of 250 plus violins assessed, we found a number of exceptional instruments - ones not only with mechanical expression, but with a soul."

Jeff Phillips Violin Maker Violin Society of AmericaDuel Gold Medal recipient for 'Violin Tone' and 'Violin Workmanship', Jeff Phillips - with prized Stradivari-Model Violin Copy

"My experience from the past 30 years is that the standard is continually rising and i think it's because of events like this - where makers are coming together, learning and sharing and being given the opportunity to interact with the excellent instruments and bows that are being made around the world," Violin Society of America President, Chris Germain has said.

A gold medal for 'Viola' was awarded to instrument maker Jason Viseltear .

A gold medal for 'Cello' was presented to Michael Doran.

A gold medal in the 'Violin Bow' category was awarded to bow maker Emmanuel Begin.

3 gold medals in the 'Viola Bow', 'Cello Bows' and 'Bass Bows' categories were awarded to Eric Fournier.

A gold medal in the 'Bass Bow' category was also awarded to Susan Lipkins.

Violin Society America Chris Germain Samuel ZygmuntowiczViolin Society of America President, Chris Germain - with VSA Hors Concours, New York-based instrument maker, Samuel Zygmuntowicz

"We thought there would be a great synergy in combing this year's Violin Society of America conference and maker's competition with the Indianapolis International Violin Competition," VSA President Chris Germain has said, "... the Violin Competition is one of the world's major competitions for performance, and the VSA one of the world's major competitions for instrument and bow makers ... hosting them jointly, in the same city, at the same time and place seemed like a natural fit."

Jeff Philips commissioned violins are currently listed for sale from USD $24,000.


Founded in 1973, the Violin Society of America is a non-profit organisation created for the purpose of promoting the art and science of making, repairing and preserving stringed musical instruments and bows. The Society sponsors it's bi-annual international makers competition - and jointly sponsors, with Oberlin College, its renowned annual maker's workshops.