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Julian Cossmann Cooke

If these sessions and exhibits don't bring you to the VSA...

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The final schedule for the Dallas convention November 8 and 9 is out!  (Apologies for any formatting errors.  I had to do it by hand.)


Thursday, November 7

3–6:30pm: Registration Desk Open Arizona Foyer

6:30–8:00pm: Opening Reception Sponsored by Heritage Insurance Services Skyline

Friday, November 8

8:00am–5:30pm: Registration Desk Open Arizona Foyer

8:30am–10:00am: Coffee Sponsored by D’Addario Arizona Foyer

8:30am–1:00pm & 2:00–5:30pm: Vendor Room Open DoubleTree Ballroom

9:00am–5:00pm: New Instrument Exhibit Open Monterey

9:00am–5:00pm: Rare Instrument Exhibit Open Seattle I & II

9:00am-12:00pm; 2:00pm-5:00pm (with specific times assigned to those registering to participate): Mock Judging Exercise Judges: Chris Germain, Chris Reuning, Yung Chin, Douglas Raguse, Bill Scott, Rodney Mohr, Chris Dungey, Julius Quartet, Aaron Boyd Campbell III

8:30–10:00am Panel on Innovations in Restoration Moderator: Jerry Lynn; Presenters: Jerry Pasewicz, Shirley White, and Greg Sapp Time and tide stand still for no one. -- Geoffrey Chaucer. Chaucer was not writing about instrument restoration, but he might as well have been. Restoration methods and materials are a mix of the old and the new. The panel will discuss innovation in the trade in general and highlight methods and materials they have found particularly useful. [NOTE: This session comes with a product warning: do not try these ideas at home for the first time unless under the guidance of a qualified restorer – meaning someone who has already done it several times themselves! Panelists are not responsible for your outcomes if you disregard this caution.] Skyline

Reflections on the Origins of The VSA Presenter: Philip Kass interviewed by Marilyn Wallin The Violin Society has come a long way, baby! (with apologies to Virginia Slims cigarettes) From its very beginnings – a twinkle in the eyes of a small group of visionaries – to today’s premier educational and competition organization for all bowed instruments and their bows, The VSA has seen our craft evolve in leaps and bounds. We have been and continue to be a driving force behind what many consider to be a new golden age. Philip Kass is known to all of us for his expertise in rare instruments, schools of making around the world, and his generosity in sharing the fruits of his extensive research. He is one of those visionaries who were present at the creation. In this interview, conducted by the President of The VSA and stalwart in her own right, Marilyn Wallin, he will discuss where The Society has come from which is critical to planning our path forward. ALERT: Anecdotes will abound! Campbell I & II

10:30am–12:00pm Keynote Lecture: The Challenges for Today’s Makers Presenter: Sam Zygmuntowicz Skyline 

12:00–1:30pm: Lunch on Your Own Dine at the hotel or one of the many options nearby. Remember the Vendor room is open until 1pm!

1:30–3:00pm Hors Concours Panel – Why I Competed and How I Got the Gold Moderator: Kristin Siegfried Ballenger Presenters: Jeff Phillips, Bill Scott, Rodney Mohr When you’re still looking for that first medal, it is hard to imagine winning so many times that you are considered too successful to compete again. But that is exactly what happens to the best of the best in VSA competitions. The panelists are not likely to give you the recipe for the hors concours magic potion – because there isn’t one. What you can put to good use that you will learn during this session is what drove the panelists on their road to competition excellence and what their routine was in choosing a model and getting the work done. The bottom line is you can’t control who is competing or judging. You can only control what happens at your bench. Skyline

3:30–5:00pm Violin Making in Mexico Presenters: Pablo Alfaro and Jaime Gonzalez The main objective of this lecture is to reveal the origins and evolution of violin making in Mexico, from the beginnings in Nueva Espana early XVI Century to the present, in parallel to some of the same activity happening in South America. Some of the most interesting violins found, are folk instrument made by natives, combining the European traditions with the preColombines ones. A quick review of the Mexican Baroque art will guide us through the development of musical activity in different periods of the craft. The first school of music in Texcoco, was founded in 1524, many musicians, composers and orchestras have been very active since. An extensive variety of tone wood, acoustical experiments, schools and makers have been creating the links of this history. Skyline

Violin and Bow Makers and Repetitive Stress Injuries Presenters: Cameron Robertson, Luthier; Sara Propes OTD, OTR/L, MS, CCC-A Violin Makers love what they do, and the purpose of this presentation is to help them continue to do it for as long as possible. This presentation will define what repetitive stress injuries are and how they can impact and impede the work and function of makers in many aspects of their daily work. This can be from a multitude of personal and environmental factors such as chair ergonomics, desk working heights, weight bearing and lifting, pre-existing conditions, tool handle design and body positioning. The presenters will discuss modifications and adaptations that can be made, their benefits, braces and stretching exercises that will help minimize tension, pain and promote good health and injury prevention. Additionally, they will offer opportunities to experience modified tools and equipment and provide additional resources for support and information to implement these strategies in the workplace. The presenters will not be diagnosing people’s conditions during this presentation. Campbell I & II

5:30–7:00pm Promoting Lutherie and Music Education Panel: Outreach Strategies for VSA Members Moderator: Mitch Moehring Presenters: Anna Huthmaker (Luthiers Without Borders), Ute Zahn, Julian Cossmann Cooke Music education and lutherie go hand-in-hand in our communities. We count on music education programs and systems at every level to ensure we have a knowledgeable, committed customer base. In return, we can provide not only first-rate service, but an exposure to our trade can help students at every level better understand the instruments and appreciate the value we bring to our work for them. This panel focuses on students who are less likely to how their instruments are made and maintained in good working order and creating an opportunity for people in developing countries to learn elements of our trade to the benefit of local students and players. And if you question has been, how does all this fit in with my business model, the panel will provide you some answers. Campbell I & II

7:00–8:30pm: Open Mic Night featuring Fort Worth Western swing band The Western Flyers Skyline

Saturday, November 9

8:00am–5:30pm: Registration Desk Open Stars

8:30am–10:00am: Coffee Sponsored by D’Addario Arizona Foyer

8:30am–1:00pm & 2:00–5:30pm: Vendor Room Open DoubleTree Ballroom

9:00am–5:00pm: New Instrument Exhibit Open Monterey

9:00am–5:00pm: Rare Instrument Exhibit Open Seattle I & II

9:00am-12:00pm (with specific times assigned to those registering to participate: Mock Judging Exercise Campbell III

8:30–10:00am Judges Panel Moderator: Chris Dungey Presenters: Antoine Nedelec, Christopher Germain, Arnold Schnitzer, Rodney Mohr Competition Committee Chair Chris Dungey will lay out in clear terms what is necessary to win certificates and medals. The hors concours panel on Friday addressed competition preparation from the vantage point of multiple winners of VSA medals. This panel of distinguished former judges for the VSA will be the first to tell you there is no set formula – either for judging or winning. But they will discuss what they look for in the instruments they evaluate, what makers do that inadvertently makes the judge’s job more difficult, and general rules of thumb makers might follow to increase their chances of coming away from a competition with the hardware. Skyline

Navigating the Baroque Set-Up Presenter: Sarah Peck In today’s musical climate there are many musicians who have chosen to widen their repertoire to include both modern and Baroque performances. As a result, many performers choose to have a separate period instrument for their repertoire. This presentation will discuss some of the basic principles of Baroque play-ability and how it differs from Modern practices. Using these principles, we will learn how to navigate the process of servicing a Baroque client. Topics will include: Assessing the suitability of an instrument and walking the client through the decisionmaking process of a Baroque conversion. The components will include the neck, bridge, fingerboard, tailpiece, and gut strings. The presentation will also touch on some long-held misconceptions of Period instruments. Campbell I & II

10:30am–12:00pm Dispatches from the Oberlin Acoustics Workshop Sponsored by the CAS Forum Presenter: Mary Jane Kwan The Oberlin acoustics workshop held every summer provides a unique opportunity for makers and scientists to collaborate on research that results in insights into the functioning of bowed instruments and their bows – increasingly, insights that makers can put to use in their making. This summer’s projects included fingerboard tuning, soundpost adjustments, bridge tuning, and graduation of plates. Mary Jane Kwan will discuss the measurements taken, the data elements gathered, and the key take-aways related in the final workshop presentations. Skyline

German Bows Moderator: Rich Dodson Presenters: Bruce Babbitt, Rodney Mohr, Yung Chin Makers and restorers of instruments and bows have multiple opportunities to learn about the ins and outs of instrument identification and authentication. Less frequent are the discussions of those aspects of the bow world. The German Bow Book is the product of many years of research, analysis, and photography by Bruce Babbitt, Yung Chin, and Rodney Mohr. Published by The VSA, the 280-page volume reflects the largest number of bows ever assembled and put into print to date, boasting high resolution photographs of 250 bows attributed to more than 55 known makers. The panel will discuss the process and challenges of gaining access to, identifying, and authenticating the bows featured in the book. Campbell I & II

12:00–1:30pm Dine at the hotel or one of the many options nearby. Remember the Vendor room is open until 1pm!

1:30–3:00pm Five-string Cellos of the Cremonese Period Presenters: Matt Zeller and Chris Reuning The co-presenters will discuss the history of the five-string cello in the Cremonese period and show specific examples of historical instruments. They will have at least one instrument (Giovanni Grancino, 1702) present for the audience to see. Skyline

The Question of Style Presenter: Aaron Boyd Violinist Aaron Boyd will serve as guide through some of the earliest known recordings of string playing and discuss their diversity of coexisting styles. This discussion will include a consideration of what these early recordings suggest for even earlier styles, and what currently accepted historically informed performance gets right, and what it may get wrong. Campbell I & II

The State of the Bass Presenter: Dustin Williams We are currently in a “Golden Age” of both bass making and performance. What is going on in the double bass world that made that happen? This discussion will cover things violin makers and shop owners should know about the evolution of the modern double bass. Happenings in the International Society of Bassists, removable necks, low C-extensions, set-up expectations, repair requirements, opportunities for gaining knowledge that will help your repairs and making, double bass accessories, and more. The double bass must not be ignored by violin makers and shop owners anymore! Campbell III

3:30–5:00pm Marketing: Practical Pointers on Using Social Media for Independent Makers and Restorers Presenter: Chris Jacoby When you want to get something done in the real world, well-tended social media accounts provide the contacts and assets you need to succeed. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram offer a place for Violin makers and Violin industry professionals to bypass the cost of traditional marketing while expanding their visibility and efficacy online. The problems members of our industry run into on these platforms are Focus and Serving the Algorithm that disseminates their content and connects their users. By eliminating non-focused content and hashtags, unconnected hashtags, and shared items on a given account, a social media user can more efficiently engage the algorithm that promotes and connects its users and reach a much wider audience before any promotion or money spending takes place. This presentation addresses how violin makers and violin industry professionals can clean up messy presences on social media with a few rules and guidelines. Additionally, this presentation will suggest ways to occasionally shock and boost the algorithm into noticing and promoting them once more. Presenter, Chris Jacoby will will also share his experience selling instruments through such venues, with all the attached problems of payment, shipping, insurance, scams, and uncertainty that non-traditional salesmanship online brings with it. Campbell I & II

Beyond Ithzak Perlman: Serving the Fiddling Community Moderator: Cameron Robertson Presenters: Anya Burgess, Brandon Godman, Fred Carpenter, and Dustin Williams What fiddlers want/what they want/what they really really want (apologies to Spice Girls) Perlman refers to his Stradivari Soil as a fiddle, but do we consider him a fiddler? For many makers, restorers, and shop owners, the major sectors of the market we serve are classical players and students at all levels. But with folk styles of fiddling (and cello and bass playing!) continuing a sort of renaissance, more and more players of those genres are likely to be showing up in our customer bases. What does it mean to provide great customer service to fiddlers? What are their expectations? How open are they to their luthier’s recommendations? Are they really all that different from classical players as customers? The panel – fiddlers and luthiers – will address these and other questions relevant to fitting this sector into an otherwise successful business model. Campbell III

5:30–7:00pm: Closing Reception

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