Featured Bow Makers
American bow maker Eben Bodach-Turner crafts violin, viola, cello, and bass bows from his workshop in East Montpelier, Vermont.
Bodach-Turner began making bows in 2000 at the University of New Hampshire Violin Craftsmanship Institute under Lynn Armour Hannings. Through the Violin Society of America Bow Making workshops at Oberlin College, he has worked with some of the finest bow makers in the world today.
Bodach-Turner holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Recording from Ithaca College and performs regularly with several area orchestras and chamber groups on the double bass.
Canadian bow maker Éric Gagné apprenticed and worked with Blaise Emmelin in Toulouse, France before moving to Brussels, Belgium to work in restoration at Maison Bernard with Pierre Guillaume. He was the recipient of two Certificates of Merit at the 2014 Violin Society of America competition: one for a violin bow and one for a cello bow.
He now builds and restores bows from his own workshop in Montréal, as well as through Wilder & Davis Luthiers.
World renowned French bow maker Georges Tepho studied with Bernard Ouchard and Roger Lotte at the Mirecourt School of Violin and Bow Making. He has participated in expositions in Paris, Frankfurt, and Tokyo, as well as in numerous competitions, where his bows have won numerous awards.
He currently works at his shop in Quimper, France, perfecting his craft and mentoring up-and-coming bow makers. Tepho makes his own model of bow, influenced by the elegance of 19th century French bow making, as well as models inspired by the bows of Tourte and Pajeot.
His bows are in high demand among professional players.
Chinese bow maker JianFeng Li studied with celebrated American bow maker John Norwood Lee. He currently works from his studio in the port city of Ningbo in northeast China, and is a member of both the Violin Society of America and the Violin Society of China.
Li’s bows (stamped “Lee”) have won numerous prizes in international bow making competitions, including Silver Medals for his violin and viola bows entered into the China International Violin Making and Bow Making Competition held in Beijing in 2013. Based on 19th century French models, Li’s bows are praised for their elegance and tone production, and are owned by professional players across the globe.
Contemporary British bow maker and restorer Keith Howard Sleeman (b. 1955) has over 40 years of experience building and restoring bows. He began making bows at age 16, copying 19th century French models, and later trained with acclaimed bow maker Malcolm Taylor (1934–2012), who had worked for the famous Hill & Sons workshop.
From his vast research and experimentation, Sleeman has developed his own unique bow making methods for building modern bows influenced by François Tourte, Étienne Pajeot, François Nicolas Voirin, and Dominique Peccatte as well as replicas of historical models from the Baroque and Classical periods. His bows are owned by top string players throughout the world, including Mischa Maisky, Sergiu Luca, Pieter Schoeman of the London Philharmonic, and Liz Green of the Dutch Radio Chamber Orchestra.
He currently works from Salon des Archets, his studio in Barcelona, Spain, where he performs restoration work, builds bows on commission, and oversees the production of a line of bows offered at more affordable prices.
Swiss bow maker Pierre-Yves Fuchs is one of the most celebrated bow makers working today. He studied with Stéphane Thomachot, Gilles Duhaut, Pierre Guillaume, and Benoit Rolland, and established his own workshop in 1997.
His bows are in high demand among professional players worldwide and have won numerous awards at international competitions. In the Violin Society of America competition of 2004, Fuchs received the unprecedented honor of winning four Gold Medals: one for each of his violin, viola, cello, and bass bows, earning him the title of “Hors Concours.”
His bow making style is inspired by Peccatte, Maire, and Pajeot.
Contemporary American bow maker and restorer Robert Ames (b. 1952) studied and worked with William Salchow in New York, serving as the shop’s foreman for many years. He established his own shop in Fort Lee, New Jersey in 1976, and has won awards for his bows in multiple competitions.
Ames is a member of the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers, l’Entente Internationale des Luthiers, and the Violin Society of America. Ames’ bows are owned by professional players worldwide.
Rodney Mohr is one of today’s most prolific and celebrated bow makers. He has won numerous Gold Medals at the Violin Society of America’s bow making competitions, earning the title “Hors Concours,” and has served as president of both the VSA and the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers.
In high demand as a maker and a teacher, Mohr is currently co-director of the VSA Oberlin Bow Restoration summer workshops, and hosts his own series of workshops from his studio in Ashland, Ohio, where he continues to build and restore bows.
Working in Boston’s music community since 1982, Thomas Dignan has studied and restored bows made by the most influential makers of the 19th and 20th centuries, and built his own award-winning models.
He has received the highest honors for his bows with 17 awards from international competitions, most notably gold medals from the Violin Society of America in 1986 and 1992, as well as the International Society of Bassists in 2003. His bows are owned by professional string players worldwide.