VSA 2014 Convention & Competition Schedule

Please note: rooms and times are subject to change.

2014 PDF Version


Monday, September 15, 2014

Noon – 10:00 PM
Vendor Registration and Set-Up
Room: Cosmopolitan Ballroom (Third Level)

3:00 – 7:00 PM
Convention Registration
Studio Lounge (Third Level)

5:00 – 10:00 PM
Competition Registration
Room: Regency Ballroom (Second Level)

3:00 – 5:00 PM
Board Meeting
Room: Studio Six (Third Level)

8:00 – 10:00 PM
Judges Meeting
Room: Studio Six (Third Level)


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Convention Registration
Studio Lounge (Third Level)

9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Vendor Hall Open

Closed for Lunch 12:30 – 1:30 PM
Room: Cosmopolitan Ballroom (Third Level)

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Competition Judging
Not open to the public

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Seminars

9:00 – 10:00 AM
Award-Winning Characteristics of Competition Entries
Room: Discovery (Third Level)
Moderators: Jerry Pasewicz, VSA Competition Chair and Rodney Mohr, VSA President Emeritus
Join these eminent moderators as they lead a discuss with past VSA Competition Judges on the outstanding characteristics of instrument entries that led to their being award winners.  This is a must-attend session for anyone considering entering the VSA Competition in future years as well as for this year’s competitors to thoroughly understand the competition judging process.

11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Competitors Forum
Room: Discovery (Third Level)
This is open to Competitors only for both bows and instruments. A number of judges will be available by appointment to provide individual competitors with a “judge’s eye” review of their work.  Instruments and bows entered in the competition cannot be used for this forum, so please bring another example of your work for this purpose.  The forum room will be open to other competitors who do not volunteer for this purpose. 

Noon – 1:30
Lunch on Own
Please go by the VSA Registration Desk (Studio Lounge-Third Level) for a list of local restaurants in the area.

1:30 – 2:30 PM
What Do We Mean by “Cremonese Varnish”?
Room: Discovery (Third Level)
Presenter: Joe Robson, Violin Varnish
We often use the phrase “Cremonese varnish”… but what do we mean by that?  Based on observations of the most undisturbed original Cremonese varnishes and other well preserved instruments, a set of properties emerge. 

2:30 – 3:30 PM
Have Tools, Will Travel! Luthiers Sans Frontiéres (LSF)
Room: Discovery (Third Level)
Presenter: Ute Zahn and Anna Huthmaker
An introduction to the work of Luthiers sans Frontieres, a non-profit organization which supports cultural life in third-world countries with donated instruments, tools, repair, and instruction in basic repair techniques.

2:30 – 3:30 PM
What I Learned in the Production Violin Business
Room: Concept (Second Level)
Presenter: Todd Matus
An overview of the acoustic properties discerned from producing larger numbers of instruments (that is, from a large sample size) in light of the principles and experiments studied in the VSA Oberlin Acoustics Workshop.

3:30 – 4:30 PM
The Rebirth of the Fernández Blanco Collection of Fine String Instruments
Room: Discovery (Third Level)
Presenter: Pablo Saravi, Concertmaster of Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra
Pablo Saravi will introduce this important collection of Old Italian instruments, recently restored by Horacio Pineiro, and now on public display at the Museo de Arte Hispanoamericano Isaac Fernández Blanco, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

6:00 – 7:00 PM
Welcome Reception
Location: Outside Vendor Hall (Cosmopolitan Ballroom – Third Level)
Sponsored by Heritage Insurance
Please note that Thursday night Banquet Tickets cannot be sold after 5:00 PM today, so be sure to purchase yours in advance at the Registration Desk.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Convention Registration
Room: Studio Lounge

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Competition Judging
Not open to the public

9:00 AM – 5:30 PM
Vendor/Exhibitor Hall
Room: Cosmopolitan Ballroom (Third Level)

Closed for Lunch 12:30 to 1:30 PM

9:00 AM – 5:30 PM
New Instrument Exhibit*
Room: Network (Second Level)
Exhibit of instruments and bows made by the finest living makers and VSA Hors Concours winners.
*Free admission to public

9:00 AM – 4:30 PM Seminars

9:00 – 10:00 AM Violin Makers’ Forum

The Holy Grail of Purfling – How I Make Pre-Bent Purfling
Presenter: Charles J. Rufino, violin maker
After many years of experiments, Mr. Rufino has developed an efficient method for making purfling that produces pre-bent strips of the correct size.

Rogue Neck Setting
Presenter: Terry Borman, Borman Violins
A novel approach to neck setting that examines the current paradigm and questions whether this is indeed in the acoustical best interest of the instrument and musician or if the method being proposed is advantageous in acoustical results as well as playability and long term health of the instrument.

Wood Ponding, Milo Stamm Method
Presenter: David Folland, Violin maker, David Folland Violins
A step-by-step description of a process to soak maple in distilled water in order to lower its density. This method was developed by Milo Stamm to treat his bridge wood, and the demonstration will show in detail this process for the back and rib wood used in violin making.

Reed and Skin: Natural Burnishers in Violinmaking
Presenter: Joseph Campanella Cleary, Luthier, Campanella Stringed Instruments
Plants of the genus Equisetum, and shark or dogfish skin are traditional burnishing tools, used by humans for hundreds if not thousands of years.  Violinmaking is one of the few modern professions which has preserved their use.  However, more evidence is still needed of their use during the Cremonese era.  This presentation explores the natural history of these materials, demonstrates their use, and asks whether they could have been used during the golden age of violinmaking.

11:00 AM – Noon
How to Make a Copy of a Specific Violin
Room: Discovery (Third Level)
Presenter, Michael Fischer, Violin Maker, Restorer, Dealer
This presentation will outline and describe individual steps of how to make a copy of an old instrument, which is in your possession, and turn it into an instrument which looks similar to the original.  These steps include taking measurements, creating templates, and working methods which are more suited to making a copy than the traditional way of how to make an instrument.

12:00 – 1:30 PM
Lunch on Own
Please go by the VSA Registration Desk for a list of local restaurants in the area.

12:00 – Special Event: Luncheon: Celebrating Women in the Violin Trade
Location: the Eagles Nest restaurant (top level of the Hyatt Regency)
A Networking Lunch for women makers, dealers, wholesalers in the trade.  RSVP at Registration Desk in the Studio Lounge (third level).  No extra charge.  Sponsored by Claire Givens Violins and  Bernhardt House of Violins.
Attendance is limited.

1:30 – 2:30 PM
The Violin Makers of the Mantua School
Room: Discovery (Third Level)
Presenter: Philip J. Kass and Andrea Zanre
This presentation will reflect the results of our archival researches in Mantua, Italy, which we will coordinate with those assembling an exhibition of classic instruments for viewing by the membership.

1:30 – 2:30 PM
Bow Makers Forum: The Wide Wonderful World of Nacre
Room: Concept (Second Level)
Presenter: Steve Beckley, Bow maker and founder and co-owner of BowWorks
An introduction to the history and properties of nacre materials, such as abalone and oyster, which are used in bows and musical instruments.

2:30 – 3:30 PM
The Rugeri Family: A Bridge from Amati to Bergonzi
Room: Discovery (Third Level)
Presenter: Carlo Chiesa
The idea of this presentation is to show how the Rugeri connect the earliest makers to the last ones in the Cremonese tradition.

3:30 – 4:30 PM
Ivory Import Issue Panel
Participants: Yung Chin, John Bennett
Join this panel on this very important issue, presented from the maker/dealer perspective.
Room: Discovery (Third Level)


Thursday, September 18, 2014

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Convention Registration
Room: Studio Lounge (Third Level)

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Competition Judging
Not open to the public

9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Vendor/Exhibitor Hall
Room: Cosmopolitan Ballroom (Third Level)
Closed for Lunch 12:30 – 1:30 PM

9:00 AM – 5:30 PM
New Instrument Exhibit*
Room: Network (Second Level)
Exhibit of instruments and bows made by the finest living makers and VSA Hors Concours winners.
*Free admission to public

9:00 AM – 4:30 PM Seminars

9:00 – 10:00 AM
Did the “mini Ice Age” prior to 1781 Create “Special” Old Wood Not Found Today?
Room: Discovery (Third Level)
Presenters: Steve Sirr and John Waddle
In 2003, a hypothesis was made, linking a European “mini Ice Age” to acoustically unique spruce used by Antonio Stradivari in his golden period.  We show that densities of wood used by Stradivari, the Amati’s, the Guarneri’s, and Bergonzi, all makers who could have used wood from the time period referenced in the article vary widely, and is not different from wood obtainable today.

10:00 – 11:00 AM
Guidelines on Following USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) Standards & A Review of Formal Appraisal Structure
Room: Discovery (Third Level)
Presenter: Gayle Skluzacek, Appraisers Association of America
This talk will focus on the guidelines for appraisers as outlined in the USPAP.  These are the generally accepted standards for professional appraisal practice in North America.  In 2006, the IRS stated that all appraisals submitted for donations are to be written to specific standards - the only standard named was USPAP.

11:00 AM – Noon
A Fundamental Evolution of the Classical Bow: The Angled Frog
Room: Discovery (Third Level)
Presenter: Benoit Rolland
Mr. Rolland will describe his new frog design, the Galliane. It gives a slight helicoidal turn to the hair ribbon and makes the bow easier to play, develops more sound and overtones, and can be used with any existing bow.

12:00 – 1:30 PM
Lunch on Own
Please go by the VSA Registration Desk for a list of local restaurants in the area.

1:30 – 2:30 PM
CNC in the Violin Maker’s Workshop: Omobono in the 21st Century?
Room: Discovery (Third Level)
Panel to be moderated by Ted White
Presenters: John Kirk, Jim Ham, Mike Kemnitzer, and Steve Rossow
Computer Numerical Control (CNC) can reduce manual labor for the production of personal/customized violin family patterns and model.  The panel will discuss affordable digitizing methods and models resulting in a contractual proprietary model that is both reproducible and revisable with your own wood choice.

2:30-3:30 PM
Play, Listen, Measure, Intervene: an Integrated Approach to Optimizing Violin Sound
Room: Discovery (Third Level)
Presenter: Claudia Fritz, Joseph Curtin, Fan-Chia Tao
The recent integration of blind playing & listening tests with in-the-field acoustical measurements has contributed greatly to our understanding of what good violinists want from an instrument. It has also provided violin-makers with a powerful approach to optimizing the sound and playability of their instruments.

3:30 – 4:30 PM
Functional Geometry and the “Traité de Lutherie”
Room: Discovery (Third Level)
Presenter: Harry Mairson, Professor of Computer Science at Brandeis University, Boston
Professor Mairson will describe how François Denis’s “Traité de Lutherie” inspired him to create a computer program to replicate Mr. Denis’s drawings.  It will be available as public domain software.

6:00 – 9:00 PM
Awards Banquet
Meet directly across the street at the beautiful and historical Indiana Rooftop Ballroom.  We will finish up our Scholarship Silent Auction, enjoy pre-dinner drinks, a delicious dinner and presentation of all of the awards.
Following the banquet, the Competition Room will reopen for playing of the instruments.
Be sure to bring your Banquet Tickets with you; your name badge will not provide admittance and tickets will not be sold at the door.


Friday, September 19, 2014

8:00 AM – 5:30 PM
Convention Registration
Room: Studio Lounge (Third Level)

8:00 – 11:30 AM and 6:00 – 10:00 PM
Competition Instrument Exhibit
Room: Regency Ballroom (Second Level)
Free student admission with current ID

9:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Instrument & Bow Critiques
Sign up sheets available at the Convention Registration Desk

9:00 – 11:30 AM
Vendor/Exhibitor Hall
Room: Cosmopolitan Ballroom (Third Level)
Hall will close at 11:30 AM

9:00 – 11:30 AM
New Instrument Exhibit*
Room: Network (Second Level)
Exhibit of instruments and bows made by the finest living makers and VSA Hors Concours winners.
*Free admission to public

9:00 – 10:00 AM
Laurence Witten: The Ideal Collector
Room: Discovery (Third Level)
Presenter: Claire Givens, President and Founder of Claire Givens Violins and NMM Trustee
In the 1960’s and ‘70’s, Witten collected the finest examples in original condition of classical Italian work made between 1550 to 1800, including 2 of the 3 existing untouched Cremonese instruments from this period.  His collection tells the story of the origins of the violin as Witten understood it from his personal study.  Claire Givens will discuss Witten’s concepts and his collection which resides at the National Museum in Vermillion, SD.

10:30 – 11:30 AM
VSA Biennial Business Meeting
Room: Discovery (Third Level)
Open to all members; please join us for an update on the work of the Society.

Noon – 9:00 PM
Vendor/Exhibitor Dismantle

12:30 – 1:00 PM
Shuttle Transportation to History Center
Location: outside Hyatt main entrance

1:00 – 1:45 PM
Playing of the Award Winning Instruments by Tone Judges
Host: Marilyn Wallin
Location: Indiana History Center

1:45 – 4:00 PM
Live Scholarship Auction at the History Center
Auctioneer: David Bonsey
Our auction will kick off with a special Wine & Cheese reception, followed by our live auction which benefits the VSA Scholarship Fund.

4:00 – 4:45 PM
Playing of the Award Winning Instruments by Tone Judges
Location: Indiana History Center
Host: Marilyn Wallin

4:45 – 5:15 PM
Shuttle Transportation back to the Hyatt

8:00 PM
IVCI BSA LifeStructures Finals
Location: Hilbert Circle Theatre
Three of the six violin Finalists perform with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Guest conductor Joel Smirnoff.

9:00 – 11:30 PM
Closing Dessert Reception
Room: Cosmopolitan Foyer (Third Level)
Sponsored by D’Addario


Saturday, September 20, 2014

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Convention Registration
Room: Studio Lounge (Third Level)

8:00 AM – 11:00 PM
Competition Instrument Exhibit
Room: Regency Ballroom (Second Level)
Free student admission with current I.D.

9:30 AM – 3:30 PM
Instrument & Bow Critiques
Closed for lunch 12:30 1:30 PM
Sign up sheets available at the Convention Registration Desk

10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Violin Quality and the Paris Experiment*
Location: Indiana History Center
Presenters: Claudia Fritz, Joseph Curtin, and Fan-Chia Tao. Violinists Cho-Liang Lin and Philip Setzer
This presentation brings together state of the art scientific research and world-class playing. The researchers behind the Indianapolis and Paris blind tests are joined by violin soloists and IVCI jury members Cho-Liang Lin and Philip Setzer for an interactive exploration of the sounds of violins, old and new.
*Free admission to public

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Vendor Retail Shop
Room: Cosmopolitan Ballroom (Third Level)

9:00 AM – 5:30 PM
New Instrument Exhibit*
Room: Network (Second Level)
Exhibit of instruments and bows made by the finest living makers and VSA Hors Concours winners.
*Free admission to public

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Retail Exhibit

8:00 PM
IVCI BSA LifeStructures Finals
Location: Hilbert Circle Theatre
Three of the six violin Finalists perform with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Guest conductor Joel Smirnoff. Following the Saturday concert, a special event “You Be the Judge”: the audience will be asked to compare a series of violins, new and old in this 30 minute experiment. There are no wrong answers!

11:00 PM – Midnight
Instrument and Bow Check Out
Instruments and bows may be picked up without penalty on Saturday evening, September 20, 2014 between 11:00 PM and midnight.  There is a $75 early removal fee for each instrument picked up before 11:00 PM on September 20.
Final and mandatory pickup is Sunday Morning, September 21, between 8:00 – 10:00 AM


Sunday, September 21, 2014

8:00 – 10:00 AM
Instrument and Bow Check Out


2014 PDF Version