Photo of Triennale Bronze medal Stradivari by Kelvin Scott

Kelvin Scott Wins Bronze Medal for Violin in the 2009 12th International Triennale Competition in Cremona, Italy.

The Triennale competition, known as the "Olympics of Violin making," rolled around in the fall of 2009. I dearly love this competition as it provides makers with an opportunity to submit instruments which embody the purest and most refined expression of their work as contemporary makers.

I dropped off my two entries, one violin and one viola, and then traveled up to Scotland to await the results. To my delight and surprise, my violin, an instrument modeled on a fine 1717 A. Stradivari, was awarded the bronze medal. I hurried back to Cremona for the awards ceremony, where for me the high point of the evening at the Ponchielli Theatre was when the soloist Bin Huang selected my violin to perform Sarasate's "Zigeunerweisen."

As always, it was very nice to walk the streets of Cremona and to let one's mind inevitably drift to earlier times and the great history the place.

I am very grateful also to all of my friends in Cremona who made my stay and participation in this competition so enjoyable.

The photograph on the left shows the back of my winning 1717 Stradivari. For more views of this violin click here.


Back and Belly Plates of Personal Model Cello

Photo Essay Depicting the Making of my Most Recent Cello.

During the winter of 2008, a client contacted me regarding her wish to have me make her a new cello. She was looking for an instrument that would have a versatile, deep tone, but also an instrument at would be suitable for a smaller woman.

Having previously made cellos ranging from large Matteo Goffriller models on one end of the size spectrum to 7/8-sized "Ladies' Cellos" on the other, I thought it was time to develop a cello model of my own that retained the desirable tonal characteristics of larger instruments, but incorporated some of the more playable features of smaller instruments.

I began the making of this cello in the fall of 2009 and its making bridged over into winter of 2010. I decided to photograph to process of making this instrument, and the resulting photo essay represents a series of small pinhole-like glimpses into the rich experience of making a fine cello.

See the photo essay



Acoustical Testing of Ex-Sauret Del Gesu

A Kelvin Scott Model based on the Ex-Sauret of Guiseppe Guarneri Wins Silver Medal at 2008 VSA

In November of 2008 in Portland Oregon, the 18th international VSA competition was held. Once again, I submitted a Quartet of instrument to the competition. The quartet this time was composed of a large Matteo Goffriller Cello, a Gasparo da Salo viola, and an Ex-Stern del Gesu and a Ex-Sauret Del Gesu. At the Awards banquet, I was very pleased to find out that my violin, the Ex-Sauret, had won a Silver medal for violin Tone.

In addition, my viola received a certificate of merit for tone, and my Quartet of instruments also received a certificate of merit for tone.

The event in Portland was once again a super event, and the Saturday viewing of hundreds of competition violins, violas, and cellos represents a rare opportunity for players and makers to survey the full breadth of what is happening in the world of contemporary violinmaking.

The photograph on the left shows my winning Ex-Sauret after Guiseppe Gaurneri as it undergoes acoustic testing and analysis by the VSA after it had been designated a tone winner.

Graphic of three VSA Medals

Repeat Gold Medal for Viola....

In the fall of 2006 I was fortunate to repeat my performance of 2004 with the winning of a Gold medal for my Viola entry. This viola was based on the work of Gasparo Da Salo.

At the same event in Baltimore, my Forma B Stradivari Cello received a silver Medal for Tone. My quartet of instruments, which was comprised of a Stradivari Cello, a Gasparo Bertolotti 16 3/8" viola, and two Guarneri Del Gesu violins, a 1734 Ex-Huberman and a 1738 Ex-Kemp del Gesu also was privileged to win a silver medal for tone. While not a typical matching of instruments for a maker's quartet, ultimately this group of instruments, all of which were characterized by a darker, complicated tone, ended up blending well to form a strong ensemble.

As always I am very grateful to the VSA for staging these competitions, as they are one of the great meeting times for violinmakers from around the world to share ideas, compare making styles, and compete.

Triennale Viola
Triennale Bronze for Viola!

In the October of 2006, I was very fortunate to be awarded a Bronze Medal for Viola, at the 11th International Triennale competition of string instruments "A. Stradivari" in Cremona, Italy.

For me this award was symbolically very special, for it meant a great deal to me to send a instrument back to the historical home of the violin family, and against very strong competition, emerge with an award.

The viola that I submitted to this competition was a hybrid of a Brescian Da Salo model. As the competition required an unantiqued finished, I regularized some the most free and wild features of the Da Salo that I know and love so well through my antiqued violas. This act of disciplining some of the Da Salo shapes, arches, and lines was very instructive to my viola making, as it revealed how the continuum between the Brescian and Cremonese conceptions of arching effects the tone of a finished viola. While some makers prefer or strictly adhere to either the making of pristinely varnished instruments or to antiqued copies, I prefer to work in both idioms, and I find both type of finish imminently beautiful and valid for today's musicians.


Strad Magazine Cover Page

Kelvin Scott Featured in Strad Magazine's "Launch Pad."

In the October 2006 issue of Strad Magazine, Kelvin Scott was featured as one of the "Strad's pick of up and coming makers" in the world of violinmaking.



Scroll of winning Gasparo Da Salo Viola.
Kelvin Scott Wins VSA Gold Medal at Violin Society of America's 16th International Violinmaking Competition.

As life in my workshop last fall became very busy with new instrument commissions and a flurry of other violinmaking activities, I decided not to attend in person the Violin Society of America's 16th International competition. Instead, I sent two instrument a viola and a violin to the competition to see how they would fare in the competition..

While I was very sad not to reacquaint myself with old colleagues and hear the many interesting lectures that are always on offer at VSA gatherings,, I was amply delighted when both of instruments were granted awards, my new model (see below) Gasparo Da Salo receiving the highest honor of a Gold Medal, and my Ex-Huberman model Guarneri Del Gesu a Certificate of Merit for Tone.

All in all it was a very good outing for my instruments and a pleasing endorsement of of the quality of my instruments.

More information and photos....

Scott and Son Violins?

On March17th, 2004, Ian David William Scott, Rachelle’s and my first child, was born. Since his birth, Ian has been very interested in the sound of violins and enjoys the kind attentions of all of the clients who visit our shop. Now that he is crawling, it is a common sight to see him sneaking into the workshop and chewing on chips and shavings of spruce and maple… craftsman can never get too early a start at knowing his materials!

We look forward to the day when Ian can begin playing and perhaps even making violins.

A New Gasparo DA Salo Model Viola!

Each year I make at least one trip to the U.K., and one of my inevitable stops is the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. The Ashmolean houses one of the world's most outstanding collections of stringed instruments, the Hill Collection of Musical Instruments. Among the instruments in this collection are several very fine examples of Gasparo DA Salo. For years, one viola in particular, has captivated me with its strong and honest elegance, intimating back to another era's aesthetic, one so rarely seen in workmanship styles of our own age.

During the summer of 2003, thanks to the generosity of the collection's curator, I was able to spend two days with the DA Salo viola. This supplied me with the resources to set out and developed a DA Salo model closely based on the Hill Collection's original. The results have been stunning, producing an instrument with a dark and expansive viola tone. I look forward to explore the potential of this model for many years to come.


Kelvin Scott Violins moves its violinmaking studio to its new home in Knoxville.

In spring of 2003, Kelvin Scott Violins moved from its previous location on the north side of Chicago to Knoxville, Tennessee. This represents an exciting time for the workshop, and we have never been busier making new instruments. Nevertheless, we have found our new home city to offer a rich musical landscape, from an interesting concert season with the various area orchestras, principally, the KSO, to the folk music tradition that has such deep roots in Eastern Tennessee.

We look forward to our time here and will do our best to serve the local musicians as well as continue to provide the highest quality new instruments to players all across the United States and around the world.

Kelvin Scott Violin wins Certificate of Merit for Tone at 2002 VSA Convention and Competition

In the Violin Society of America's 15th International Competition for new instruments dna bows, Nov. 11 to 17, 2002, Kelvin Scott's submission of an Ex-Huberman model Del Gesu received one of four Certificate of Merits for Violin Tone from a field of 181 violins. The tone judges weren't the only players who appreciated the sound and appearance of this violin, as it sold "from the display tables" hours before the competition awards we made public.


Radke and Scott Collaboration

In the fall of 2001, my good friend, the master German violin maker, Oliver Radke, and I found ourselves one day lamenting the number of extraordinary historical makers whose work is not widely appreciated due to the sometimes eclipsing orbits of the giants of the Golden era of Cremona. At the time, Oliver Radke was in the midst of a complicated restoration project on a badly damaged Camillus Camilli. This Camilli was a gem of violin, and it served as a impetus for what has become a much-enjoyed collaboration between two makers. To date we have made four Camillis together and we are presently preparing a Storioni model violin and a Goffriller viola.


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