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Meet the Staff

Kennedy Violins is owned and operated exclusively by trained, educated, and experienced professional performers, teachers, and luthiers who know classical music and are experts in their individual areas of focus. With our unparalleled expertise, we can guarantee that every instrument is setup and inspected to the highest standards of excellence. 

Contact us at support@kennedyviolins.com or 1-800-779-0242 with any questions about our instruments or services. We are always here to help! 

Leading Representatives

Luthiers

Private Lesson Instructors

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Joel Kennedy, President

joelk@kennedyviolins.com

Joel Kennedy is president and global strategist for Kennedy Violins, Inc. He has played viola and violin for over thirty years. He attended the Eastman School of Music in New York, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in viola performance and completed graduate studies in education there as well. He has played professionally with orchestras in the Unites States and around the world and has students attending top conservatories in the U.S. and abroad.

Joel Kennedy originally started Kennedy Violins in order to create a platform to provide high-quality instruments for his own string students, who often showed up at lessons with violins that were barely playable. Since then, Joel has traveled the world in search of makers who not only approach violin making with the highest professional standards but also as an art form to be respected. Every instrument maker that Kennedy Violins represents has been hand-selected because they adhere to Joel's specific standards. He currently volunteers with several youth orchestras and continues to lead Kennedy Violins towards an even brighter future!

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Karen Kennedy, Vice President/International Liaison

karen@kennedyviolins.com

Karen Tsao is a sales representative who specializes in premium instrument consultation. She received her bachelor’s degree in viola performance from the Eastman School of Music. She has performed professionally in orchestras all over the world.

Karen has served as the principal violist for the Portland Opera. Her particular expertise is traveling the world to test and select the best instruments for Kennedy Violins. She is fluent in several languages and is a great asset to Kennedy Violins in communicating with luthiers and selecting only the highest quality instruments.

Adam Easley web developer/marketing analyst

Adam Easley, Chief Operational Manager

adam@kennedyviolins.com

Adam has been involved with music since he was eight. He plays violin, guitar, and piano. His high school string orchestra was excellent and toured throughout the United States. He studied with Krzysztof Zymovski and James Stern at UOP. At San Francisco State he played jazz violin in the Creative World Ensemble with Havez Modirzideh with whom he also studied advanced improvisation. He also worked in production in San Francisco for Bill Graham Presents as a stagehand and projectionist. At Evergreen State he studied Music Technology and Audio Engineering.

Adam enjoys composing and recording in his home studio. He has taught at the 4/4 School of Music in Clackamas Oregon for two years.

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Jamie Conzatti, Community Relations Representative, Assistant Lessons Coordinator & Cello/Bass Instructor

jamie@kennedyviolins.com

Lessons with Jamie are always energetic, exciting, and encouraging. Jamie has been playing cello since the age of four and started teaching her siblings when she was as young as eleven years old. Since then, she has taught in the Vancouver/Portland area, even spending a school year teaching music in Oaxaca, Mexico. Jamie enjoys exploring all sorts of music styles, from bluegrass to jazz to classical — even some rock and roll. 

Students begin with a solid foundation by learning proper technique. After getting acquainted with ear training and note reading, students can then start playing the music they want to make. Students are encouraged to think outside the box and try new things — Jamie helps every student improve their versatility and creativity.

Jamie always strives to make scales, études, and exercises fun and exciting! She encourages and facilitates opportunities for students to build a solo repertoire and play with fellow musicians. She intends to provide future cellists with a balanced and inspiring learning experience.

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Amy Crocker, Administrative Assistant & Head of Online Sales

amy@kennedyviolins.com

Amy started playing the violin at eight years old, and after ten years of private lessons, Suzuki camps, private gigs, and performances with the Metropolitan Youth Symphony, Clark College Orchestra, and Harding University Orchestra, she finally found her musical passion playing in the pit orchestra for The Music Man. Her favorite musical experiences so far have been performing in her university's production of Beauty and the Beast and Peter Pan with Vancouver’s own Journey Theater. She loves the theater thrill.

Amy brings that same love of teamwork and camaraderie to her position at Kennedy Violins. She is excited to work with customers to find instruments that help them find their own passion.

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Alberto Gonzalez, Customer Service Representative 

alberto@kennedyviolins.com

Alberto Gonzalez was born and raised in Vancouver, Washington, and began playing the violin at the age of ten. He has participated in school orchestras throughout his life, most recently performing with the top chamber orchestra at Mountain View High School from where he graduated in 2016. He also performed in the Evergreen School District Honor Orchestra for multiple years.

Alberto is passionate and dedicated to his work for Kennedy Violins, and is excited to be in an environment where he can be close to what he loves to do — play violin. With music as a main focus in his life, Alberto also teaches ballroom dancing at a local dance studio.

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Liz Lambson, Marketing Communications Writer & Editor

liz@kennedyviolins.com

Writer and luthier Liz Lambson is a classical and jazz bassist from Colorado Springs, Colorado. With a bachelor’s degree in music and English minor from Brigham Young University, Liz has performed with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square, Ballet West, Vancouver Symphony, Columbia Symphony, Columbia River Symphony, American Festival Orchestra, and Utah Shakespeare Festival as well as several rock, folk, and jazz bands.

Liz has performed with notable artists including Renee Fleming, Peter Cetera, Audra McDonald, Sissel, and Michael Martin Murphy, and has performed on movie soundtracks including Forever Strong. Liz released an album of original folk songs in 2006 (Liz Rhodes' Red and Yellow) on guitar and vocals.

As a writer, Liz has worked as a web content manager for small businesses, chief editor of Eagle’s Eye magazine, and a primary contributor to the Kennedy Violins Blog. She is also an aspiring novelist who enjoys painting, needlework, woodworking, running, and spending time with her family of four.

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Katie Lubiens, Online Sales Manager & Violin Instructor

katiej@kennedyviolins.com

With a background in performing classical, traditional Irish, Celtic, gypsy, blues, rock ’n’ roll, country, folk, modern, klezmer, and even improvisation, Katie customizes her lessons to the style of music her students want to learn. Her energetic teaching style gets her students excited about making music while learning the fundamentals of technique and theory which are imperative to becoming a great violinist. She believes that with a strong foundation of reading sheet music and understanding impeccable intonation, her students can take their learned skills into any genre of music with ease. Each lesson with Katie incorporates some form of ear training, sight reading, technique coaching, muscle memory exercises, and defining the student’s personal goals with their violin so Katie can create a customized curriculum to attain their musical aspirations.

Katie currently performs with several groups around the Pacific Northwest. Her groups range from a classical quartet, a traditional Irish group, a classic rock and folk band, a country and blues group, and a gypsy steampunk band. Her vast experience with these different musical genres has influenced her teaching style to incorporate fun new repertoire, technique, and teaching methods into her lesson program. Katie recognizes that music comes in many different forms and styles, and she loves exploring both traditional and new ways to express oneself through music. As a teacher, Katie hopes to inspire her students to find the same joy from making music as she has for so many years. 

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James Manuele, Customer Service Representative

james@kennedyviolins.com

I have been a music teacher for over twenty years, learning and advancing my craft as a teacher. I have studied guitar pedagogy, piano and have written a basic method book that have I use successfully. In my years teaching, I have dealt with students needs from learning disabilities to social issues that create obstacles in their development. I have learned a lot of techniques and communication skills using music as a medium to help those students overcome barriers in their lives.

Music is a powerful tool and used as a universal language that can motivate and inspire students to learn. With years teaching guitar privately, I have also been teaching music and guitar classes since 1997. I have lectured as an educator on the importance of art in the community, at libraries, schools, churches, museums; I am a resident of Vancouver, WA and have offered myself as a liaison to students in the surrounding schools. I have been a part of teaching programs in the middle and high school level and have been invited to participate in school music education advising and productions. I have great joy taking on the responsibility of teacher and mentor and have seen the result of my work from the responses by parents as well as students themselves.

I have been my own advocate as promoter, manager, and local artist in Vancouver, WA. I would like an opportunity to visit with you and welcome you to our family here at Kennedy violins.

Seth Daniel Muck, General Assistant

support@kennedyviolins.com

Seth Daniel Muck, the solid backbone that holds Kennedy Violins together, is the next great artist/entrepreneur of the 21st century. He is currently working on several business/artistic projects for the coming year. He has mastered the majestic yet delicate art of the violin with his studies at Thomas Jefferson Middle school, and moved on to the broader musical horizons with the guitar and mandolin. He has also dipped his virtuoso-like toe in the exciting new waters of electronic music with his release of an album in the past year and the upcoming release of another LP hitting shelves in winter 2016. He is currently studying zoology at WSU with his tarantula/best pal, Brenda. 

Gabe Reed, General Assistant 

support@kennedyviolins.com

Gabe Reed, the bright young talent out of Battle Ground, Washington, has shocked Kennedy Violins with his poise and enthusiasm. He has played tenor saxophone in the past, but has since moved on to the double bass. He currently attends Prairie High School as a Senior, and hopes one day, his dream of becoming a full time business owner comes true. In his free time, Gabe enjoys spending quality time with his fellow co-worker, Seth Muck. Together the two have made many inventions, one of which has been officially patented by the U.S. Patent Office and is set to be on the market by Spring 2017. Gabe loves reading and writing, and has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Gabe may one day find success with his inventive spirit, or his passion for excelling at things he loves. 

Anthony Rabago, Shipping Manager

anthony@kennedyviolins.com

Anthony brings over 10 years of warehouse experience to his role as shipping manager for Kennedy Violins. His attention to detail and organizational background are key to keeping the shipping process worry-free. He enjoys being around people who play so many different instruments and appreciates the family environment at KV.

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Zach Sears, Customer Service Representative

zach@kennedyviolins.com

Zach Sears is a Portland native with a bachelors degree in bass performance from PSU. He’s been an active private teacher in the Vancouver area since graduating in 2010. He’s studied with Jeff Johnson of the Oregon Symphony as well Jazz artists Glenn Moore, Alan Jones, Dan Schulte, and Kevin Deitz. Zach performs as a member of the SW Washington symphony as well as freelancing throughout SW Washington and the Portland area. When he’s not playing bass Zach enjoys permaculture gardening, mountain biking, kayaking, and anything that gets him out in the great outdoors of the pacific northwest. 

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Bryce Witherington, Customer Service Representative

bryce@kennedyviolins.com

Bryce Witherington is a passionate violist and is a student of the sciences and the arts. His interest in music began early with his introduction to his grandmother, and he found a perfect match in the viola near ten years ago. Since, he has studied privately in the viola and in composition, and performed in honors groups all throughout his public education. He is currently focused on his studies at Clark College and working/teaching at Kennedy Violins, but he hopes to begin performing again soon.

His philosophy on musicality is rooted in traditionalism, mostly because of his upbringing with romantic era pieces, but he isn't afraid to explore newer schools of thought surrounding music and society. This is reflected in his personality and expression through expanding his interest in music to his hobbies and interests such as film and animation, where music is often not the centerpiece but an emotional guide.

Shiloh Congleton, Luthier & Amazon Product Specialist

shiloh@kennedyviolins.com

Shiloh Congleton apprenticed one-on-one for several years under an exceptional luthier and master repairman in a West Coast shop authorized by C.F. Martin & Co. After performing warranty-related work on Martin instruments, Shiloh’s professional training has given him the ability to recognize the subtle differences that make instruments perform both as they should and at their best—the latter for which he strives.

Shiloh loves putting instruments in the hands of those that wish to play them, spreading the power of music as far as possible. He strives to provide anyone with a desire to play instruments with high-end setup that are both affordable and playable.

Beyond his expertise in violin setup, Shiloh enjoys building instruments and spending time with his beautiful wife and daughter.

Austin Davis, Luthier

austin@kennedyviolins.com

Austin Davis grew up in Zionsville and Trevlac, Indiana and started playing music at an extremely young age. In high school Austin played in many school ensembles in percussion and strings. In college Austin has enjoyed collaborating in all aspects of the music, including touring, recording, and performing.

In 2011 Austin graduated High School and started studying String Instrument Technology at Indiana University, a violin making program under Thomas Sparks at the Jacobs School of Music. During those years Austin studied Violin Making, Restoration, Repair, and History. Working from 5 years of experience at IU, Austin strives to provide affordable, reliable, honest repairs as well as constructing instruments from scratch.

Jason Dollar, Luthier

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jason@kennedyviolins.com

Jason Dollar is an Apprentice Luthier at Kennedy Violins. Along with his musical background, Jason is excited to bring the technical finesse of his production background to the art of luthiering. He is invigorated by the unique differences every violin has and enjoys the subtleties of this craft. He is inspired by the shared focus of the Kennedy team in providing quality and furthering the world of musicians.

Jason is a Northwest native who loves camping, hiking, and just exploring the outdoors. He has been playing guitar for many years, and has recorded and performed Rock n' Roll of various styles. He looks forward to further sharing the joy of playing music with his niece and nephew.

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Jeff Pomerantz, Luthier & Guitar Instructor

jeff@kennedyviolins.com

Jeff has been performing on guitar for over ten years, concentrating in classical and jazz studies. Other styles include rock, blues, country, and bluegrass. Jeff recently graduated from Frostburg State University in Maryland with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Business, and moved to the Vancouver/Portland area to pursue a life in music. Through designing and customizing a lesson plan for each student, Jeff will provide a personal experience that enhances the strengths of each student, in addition to developing their interest in all music.

Jeff primarily works with beginner to intermediate guitarists on music theory, tonal skills, reading, and technique. Through developing a core background of these skills, students will be free to then become inspired to learn and create. Improvising, group exercises and song arrangement is also apart of Jeffs lessons.

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Brooke Carroll, Viola & Violin Instructor

brooke@kennedyviolins.com

Brooke Carroll has been teaching music for over fifteen years to students of all ages and ability levels. She is a certified Suzuki instructor and can begin students as young as three years old. Brooke has a love for teaching and strives to make each lesson productive, engaging, and encouraging.

Brooke was a full-scholarship Graduate Performance Diploma student at the Longy School of Music, where she studied with eminent violist Roger Tapping and graduated with distinction. She has vast experience performing solo, chamber, and orchestral music, and has played with the South Dakota Symphony, Sioux City Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, and in music festivals in Italy, England, and across the United States. 

Brooke received her bachelor’s degree in viola performance at Biola University. Whilst at Biola, she was a member of the Biola Honors String Quartet with whom she toured to Canada, was featured at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library’s Family Concert Series, and made it to the final rounds of the esteemed Coleman Chamber Music Competition.

Brooke works with students to develop a solid foundation using classical repertoire, technique, and exercises. She is also happy to help students explore other genres including folk, Celtic, and rock.

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Rachel Davis, Cello Instructor

rachel@kennedyviolins.com

Rachel grew up in a musical family. She started singing and playing piano at an early age. In fifth grade, she began playing the violin in the school orchestra. It wasn't long, however, before she fell in love with the sound of the cello. Cello has since been her favorite instrument to play. Growing up in Portland, Oregon provided many opportunities for musical growth. Rachel participated in local groups like the Metropolitan Youth Symphony and the Portland Youth Philharmonic.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in music from Berry College in Rome, Georgia, Rachel moved back to the Northwest where she currently plays for the Willamette Falls Symphony, the Willamette Falls Trio, and the indie rock band, Capraesque.

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Vanessa Moss, Violin & Viola Instructor

vanessa@kennedyviolins.com

A native of Washington State, Vanessa Moss is enjoying a blossoming career in the Pacific Northwest as an orchestral musician, chamber player, and violin teacher. Beginning her romance with music at the age of six, she grew up playing in the Tacoma Youth Symphony, performing her debut concerto at the age of ten, and went on to study violin performance at Central Washington University on full scholarship. Her primary teachers have included Katrin Groschel, Professor Carrie Rehkopf, and Denise Dillenbeck. 

Vanessa competed in the Music Teachers National Association at the national level twice, as first violinist of the Alder String Quartet in 2014 and as violinist of the Mundana Trio in 2012 when they placed second. She was featured soloist with Central Chamber Orchestra, as well as the recipient of the 2013 Achievement in Live Performance award for her performance of Vaughn William’s Lark Ascending. Her playing has been brilliantly received in recitals from Spokane to New York City and Las Vegas. In 2014, she was invited to tour with the Fairbanks Symphony to South Korea for an international orchestral festival.  

Other symphonic collaborations include the Brevard Summer Institute, Yakima Symphony, Auburn Symphony, Lake Washington Symphony, Newport Symphony Orchestra, Portland Columbia Symphony, and the PDX Classical Revolution. As a passionate music education advocate, Vanessa is regularly invited to coach for summer camps, chamber ensembles, and public schools in addition to teaching as a private lessons instructor. Currently a resident of Portland, Vanessa divides her time between freelancing, teaching, good coffee, and her cat, Ollie.