The Francis Kuttner Memorial Fund

Francis Kuttner - Luthier
Francis Kuttner
1951 - 2023

We lost a dear colleague, a wonderful friend and fabulous maker on June 3rd of this year with the passing of Francis Max Kuttner.

Francis was a fixture in the violin making scene for the past 50 years, earning The VSA Hors Concours in the 1980s as well as many other prizes and awards. He judged numerous VSA and other international competitions and his instruments are in the hands of great players. 

But what Francis loved most of all was helping others. He loved mentoring young makers, offering tips to anyone who asked, inspiring curiosity, and sharing secrets of the craft he’d uncovered along the way.

In this spirit, Francis’s family has established The Francis Kuttner Memorial Fund with The Violin Society of America. This is a dedicated fund committed to helping violin-making students and apprentices get the educational opportunities they need to fulfill their aspirations of becoming a professional maker. Francis’s family and The VSA invite all who were touched by Francis’s unique presence to get involved in building this fund.

Every gift honoring Francis will help keep his memory alive by offering the next generation of makers and restorers the opportunity to develop their craft in an educational setting. You can help us to honor Francis and all he has contributed to so many people around the world by contributing to this important effort.

Francis Kuttner at the bench. Francis attaching a rib Francis Kuttner with his instruments


 In the words of others:

"Eighth in a family of nine children, Kuttner was always at home in a crowd and relished the company of his parents, siblings, in-laws, nieces, nephews, and an extraordinarily large circle of friends and colleagues. Indeed, virtually everyone who met him wanted to be his friend, a trait which seemed only to enhance his modesty, generosity, and delight in good companionship." - Strings Magazine

"Francis influenced and taught several of our colleagues including Itzel Ávila, Joanne van Bosterhaut, Francesco Coquoz, and Stephen Lohmann among others. [...] His membership in the AFVBM, EILA, and The VSA stood him in good stead with colleagues around the world. His love of life, fine foods, and enduring friendships added to the collegial environment in which he found himself. Above all, Francis was a lovable, dedicated friend to those who knew him, and his sharp, smart humor—which was always on point—will be greatly missed." - Bill Scott, Jr., Past-President of The VSA

"Highly regarded for his instruments, [Francis] was one of the few luthiers to have been designated ‘Hors Concours’ by the Violin Society of America (VSA). The accolade is bestowed on makers who have won three gold medals at the VSA International Violin Making Competition; Kuttner won golds for a violin and cello in 1980, and again for a cello in 1984. He subsequently sat on juries for instrument making competitions in Mittenwald, Paris, Cremona and the US." - The Strad Magazine

Click here to make a gift in memory of Francis Kuttner

In his own words:

Digesting Cremona: A Violin Maker’s Recollection of His Student Days in Stradivari’s Hometown

Taking Off the Clamps: Violin Maker Francis Kuttner Describes His Favorite Moment of Crafting an Instrument

The Violin Society of America is a not-for-profit charity under IRS code 501(c)(3).
Gifts are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.
Please make checks payable to:
The Violin Society of America
230 Washington Avenue Extension, Suite 101

Albany, NY 12203