A Fine Modern American Violin by Joel Shewchuck, 2003. (Ex-Staryk)

Performing before an audience of some 200 people at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix in 2015, Rachel Barton-Pine compared several modern violins with several 300-year-old Cremonese violins. The organizers of the blind sound test asked the audience to vote on which inatrument they liked most without knowing which Barton-Pine was playing. A violin made in 2013 by Arizona luthier Joel Shewchuk placed ahead of the Cremona masters. 

Joel A. Shewchuk began making artisanal guitars in 1995 and made a name for himself as a meticulous craftsman. He apprenticed with Boyd Poulson for violin making and devoted himself almost exclusively to making violins from 1999 to 2009, after which he continued building guitars in addition to violins. He has been a cornerstone of the Scottsdale-Phoenix classical community for more than 20 years and made this violin in 2003, which has been with Staryk since and until the age of 91.

 Steven Staryk was perhaps the defining voice of Canadian violin playing in the 20th century, boasting a discography of 30+ titles and over 190 compositions. At 24, he became the youngest concertmaster of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and earned a storied reputation as concertmaster of the Amsterdam Chamber Orchestra, the Concertgebouw, the Toronto Symphony, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and taught at the Vancouver Academy of Music, University of Victoria, University of Toronto, University of Ottowa, the University of Western Ontario, The Royal Conservatory of Music, the American Conservatory in Chicago, The Amsterdam Conservatory, Northwestern, and Oberlin.


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