A Good Contemporary Violin by Vanna So in Chicago, 2008
Cambodian national, Vanna So completed his first violin in 1988 under the tutorage of Tetsuo Matsuda, with whom he first apprenticed before becoming William Whedbee’s assistant in the workshop of William Harris Lee in Chicago. Specializing in violins and violas, Vanna has since crafted well over 450 instruments and has earned an international reputation as one of WHL’s finest craftsmen. His work is clean and sophisticated, characterized by elegant lines, finer purfling, set close to the round bead of his edge work, and a personal model of greater breadth, with a lighter yet still rich and well textured golden-amber varnish that is at once a nod to both his mentors. This violin was crafted in 2008 and has seen some 15 years of professional use, having spent the last several years in the first violin section of the Florida Orchestra; its voice is powerful, yet sophisticated, with a clear but colorful lyricism that makes it a joy to play, with enough resistance to push the timbre in the upper registers. An example of Vanna’s personal model, with a back length of 360mm.