The Violin Society of America offers scholarship assistance for needy and deserving students of the art of violin and bow making and restoration. For this purpose the VSA maintains three funds: the Kaplan-Goodkind Scholarship Fund, created in memory of founders Albert J. Kaplan and Herbert Goodkind, the Kun Fund, created in memory of the noted Canadian bowmaker Joseph Kun, and the Aram and Rose Nigogosian Fund created in memory of the parents of Vahakn Nigogosian. Teachers and faculty of leading American violin making schools annually submit the names of those students most worthy of scholarship aid.

To be eligible for a scholarship, a student must be a US citizen, have satisfactorily completed at least one full year of study in the program, have shown serious effort, talent and future promise and have financial need. The administrator of the program will verify these criteria and make recommendations to the VSA. For more information please contact

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The scholarship program is funded by gifts from members and others, through donations of items for the Scholarship Auction (held during the competition week), or direct contributions. Please make a contribution to support the training of new violin and bow makers!

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The Violin Society of America 2016 Scholarship recipients

Chicago School of Violin

Mary Jane Kwan

Mary Jane Kwan of Austin, TX is a third-year student at CSVM, where she currently is varnishing her cello. She learned setup and repair working at A440 Violin Shop. She is a participant of the Oberlin Acoustics Workshop. She draws comics for her violin making blog at Mary Jane is very thankful to the VSA for this scholarship and to everyone who has supported her in becoming a violin maker. 

Ona Oliver

Ona currently works for the Merit School of Music where she is an independent contractor doing repairs on student instruments.

Tommy Coleman

Tommy is a lifelong woodworker and has been a professional woodworker most of his adult life. He has made several stringed instruments including acoustic guitars, octave mandolins, ukuleles and an electric guitar. He has briefly worked at Classic Violins in Mundelein, Illinois.

Ilsa Reed

Before attending the Chicago School of Violin Making, Ilsa had no previous experience. She has played violin her entire life and is currently employed by Austin’s Violin Shop in Sugar Groove Illinois where she works the front desk and mantians rental instruments.

Minnesota State College – Southeast Technical – Red

Tyler Lubke

Tyler started at Red Wing with no past experience in the field of violin making and restoring. He has yet to officially work at a shop outside of school but has helped out with miscellaneous tasks at Claire Given’s shop in downtown Minneapolis.

Carleton K. Johnson

Carleton has focused on the construction and repairs of acoustic guitars. He is currently working on a viola da gamba and bow in addition to a school violin.

Catherine Autrey

Catherine has no experience in the field other than playing the violin, although she greatly enjoys the program she is currently enrolled in.

North Bennet Street

Seth Colon

Seth arrived at violin making when he was living in New York City. He working on custom furniture and playing violin on the side, dreaming of getting into the violin making field but couldn’t see it as a reality. One day while he was browsing at the library, he found  a short book on violin making and it sparked his interest immediately. Soon after he learned an acquintance of his was a violin maker in the lower east side of Manhattan. After visiting his shop and talking about the trade he decided that attending the North Bennet Street School was his best option. “Violin making has been even more fulfilling than I immagined. I have finished three violins and am currently working on a viola. I look forward to bringing my passion into the field and learning from current masters. I’ve had the privilege of spending a week in Cremona, Italy connecting with makers there and being in the presence of the home of Stradavari, Del Gesu, and Amati.

Evan Davenport

Evan has spent most of his life woodworking in some degree, mostly making instruments. He first started by nailing a couple fo 2x4’s together and attaching strings across, making “guitars” from as young as five years old. He bagan playing music at a very young age, starting with piano then later migrating to upright bass. During high school he started apprenticing with Boyd Paulson. Upon completing high school he moved to Brooklyn, NY to intern at Fodera Guitars and the following year he started the violin making program at North Bennet Street School. In the summers since beginning at NBSS, he has had internships with Arnold Schnitzer and Boyd Paulson and has taken varnish courses with Chris Pederson. Evan also contributed to the International Society of Bassists; “Build a Bass in a Week” project, in the summer of 2015.

Violin Making School of

Michael Murray

Mike Murray grew up on a small farm in rural Idaho and enjoyed playing instruments, singing, and loving music. Later during his college years at BYU-Hawaii, I was introduced to the arts and really took to drawing, painting, and ceramics. It took years to figure out how to marry the disciplines. That's when I discovered instrument making. After finishing a Bachelors of science degree in business, I moved to Utah to attend the Violin Making School of America. The incredible marriage of design, craftsmanship, music, history, and all the arts has captivated my mind, and will do so for years to come. 

Spencer Allen Stenquist

Spencer Stenquist was born in Lompoc California in 1993, graduated High School in North Ogden Utah in 2012 and began studying at the Violin Making School of America in 2015. He is currently on his second year of school finishing up his third violin. He also does work for Scoggins and Scoggins Violin Shop in Salt Lake City.

Zachary Goad

While attending the magnet program of Wheeler High School, Zachary was required to fulfill an internship of his choice, as long as it applied to his field of study in his acoustics program. He secured a spot at Williams Gengakki Violins in Atlanta Georgia, where he worked closely with owner Reginald Williams, and his makers Cameron Robertson and Ryan McLaughlin. Both these makers taught Zachary an elementary overview of woodworking, tonewoods, tools used in violinmaking and the life in a shop. Mr. Williams focused more on violinmaking history, matching instruments to bows, and how to deal with customers.  

Click here to view previous scholarship recipients!

The Violin Society of America
14070 Proton Rd.
Suite 100
Dallas, TX 75244
972-233-9107 x224 

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