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Our most popular student instruments, made exclusively for Kennedy Violins, are constructed to our professional standards of excellence and made with the highest build-quality and materials. These one-of-a-kind models are unavailable through anyone else and built to our exact specifications.
Each instrument we offer represents what we believe to be the best available throughout the nation at its respective price point. There is no instrument in our product line that we wouldn't be proud to recommend to our own students. Additionally, unlike other instrument suppliers, we specialize exclusively in stringed instruments, therefore exceeding every other internet retailer in our knowledge and expertise.
Customer service is our priority. If you are OUR customer, you will be a satisfied one!
As a Kennedy Violins customer, you are in excellent hands. Below are leading representatives of our team at Kennedy Violins who will not only guide you through the purchase of an instrument that is perfect for you but will make sure you have an excellent customer experience leaving you completely satisfied. As we are all string players, feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns. We hope to hear from you soon!
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 in orchestras all around the United States and has students attending top conservatories in the U.S. and abroad. He is currently a violist in the Portland Opera in Portland, Oregon.
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.
Marisa Kobilan is a fiddler and violinist in the Pacific Northwest and head luthier for Kennedy Violins. Marisa has studied violin making and repair at the Violin Craftsmanship Institute of the University of New Hampshire under Paul Wiessmeyer and Francis Morris. She has also studied with Al Faruolo of Portland, Oregon.
Every instrument that leaves Kennedy Violins has been set-up to Marisa's standards and adheres to the highest levels of playability and sound performance. Her goal is to make sure that every instrument received by a Kennedy Violins customer is ready to play, stays in tune, and will provide years of trouble-free service. She enjoys competing in fiddle contests all across the Northwest.
Chris Hogan, luthier at Kennedy Violins, is passionate about creating, repairing, and finishing handcrafted instruments. His extensive and diverse experience creating string instruments includes five years building parts for harps and hammered dulcimers at Dusty Strings in Seattle. He was also primary string winder at Dusty, making more than 40,000 harp strings.
In addition to his work with violins, Chris enjoys building guitars, having studied in Canada with Sergei Dejonge with a focus on classical and flamenco guitars. He is a perfectionist with his detailed craftsmanship, specializing in the art of French polishing, creating ebony floating bridges for archtop guitars, and installing Pegheds mechanical pegs on flamenco instruments. For the past three years, Chris has exhibited his guitars at the Northwest Handmade Instrument Show.
In his spare time, Chris attends classical guitar performances and continually expands his knowledge of lutherie and instrument construction. He also enjoys long-distance trail running and mountain biking.
Heather started playing violin in the public school system in the third grade. She continued through college where she studied music education. Currently, she teaches orchestra at after school programs for three Portland grade schools and performs with the local Beaverton Symphony Orchestra.
Heather prides herself on being a helpful and knowledgeable person on the other end of the phone with parents who want the best instrument for their child. She is always a willing listener to any questions or need of assistance. Because of her years of experience teaching small children, she is especially adept at providing valuable information concerning which violin and which size instrument is best for young students.
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 about 2 years.
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.
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 is currently the principal violist for the Portland Opera and 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.
Liz Lambson, copywriter for Kennedy Violins, is a bass player, luthier, and writer 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, American Festival Orchestra, and Utah Shakespeare Festival as well as several rock, folk, and jazz bands.
Liz has performed with notable artists such as Peter Cetera, Audra McDonald, Renee Fleming, Sissel, and Michael Martin Murphy, and has performed on movie soundtracks including Forever Strong. She released an album of original folk songs in 2006 (Liz Rhodes, Red and Yellow) on guitar and vocals. Her writing experience includes working as editor of Eagle's Eye magazine, writing and editing copy for small business and corporate websites, creative writing, and blogging.
Liz and her husband moved to Oregon in 2009. She enjoys painting, cross stitch, woodworking, and spending time with her two beautiful sons.
Travis began playing the violin at the age of eight in the Portland public school string program. Recently, he has completed his Bachelor's degree in music performance from Portland State University and has been completely engrossed in the Northwest music culture. Travis has a private studio where he teaches students, in addition to performing with various ensembles and orchestras in the area including the Vancouver Symphony, Portland Columbia Symphony, Classical Revolution, The Degenerate Art Ensemble, and the Contemporary Portland Orchestra Project.
In addition to playing and teaching the violin, Travis enjoys reading, coffee, painting, and going to the beach. Currently he is working towards a master's degree, auditioning for other orchestras in the Northwest, and enjoying being a freelance musician.