in Every Instrument
Our dedicated experts are the driving force of Sullivan Violins, with their knowledge and skills enabling musicians to make beautiful music around the world.
Sullivan Violins is Dedicated to Your
Sullivan Violins is here to help, guide, and advise as you grow your skills and sound. Whether you’re a beginner just getting started, an amateur player looking for an upgrade, or a professional looking for a bespoke precision instrument, we have the knowledge and expertise to make sure you’re getting an instrument perfectly suited for your abilities and musical goals.
Our exemplary team not only curates the finest instruments, but also helps fine-tune each instrument’s set up to ensure quality sound production and playability. We even go beyond the instrument itself, providing all the needed musical accessories to help you grow your skills.
Let Sullivan Violins support you through every milestone on your musical journey.
Ken is a graduate of the Chicago School of Violin Making and a member of the prestigious American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers. He has also served as a board member for the Violin Society of America. His handmade violins are of the highest quality sound producers among modern violin makers. His instruments have won four awards for tone at the Violin Society of America’s international competition.
Ken has a decade of experience as a primary repair and restoration expert for one of the finest violin shops on the East Coast. He opened his own studio in Ithaca, New York in 1994 and one in Phoenix, Arizona in 2001. Ken grew up in Rochester and was a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra in his younger days. Ken returned to the Rochester, New York area in 2006 to be closer to family. Together, Ken and his wife, Carolyn, have expanded Sullivan Violins into a full service violin shop for customers seeking trustworthy expertise and workmanship combined with outstanding customer support.
Besides crafting his own handmade instruments, over the course of his career Ken Sullivan has always provided professional and amateur string players, students, and teachers with a wide selection of instruments for sale, as well as offered expert repairs and restoration services. Ken has won wide praise from his customers for his in-depth knowledge of string instruments, superior craftsmanship, and friendly service. Most notably, Ken has performed various repairs to virtuoso Steven Staryk’s violins, with Staryk going on to purchase two of Ken’s expertly crafted creations for himself.
“I love my craft of violin making. Operating Sullivan Violins has deepened the satisfaction I feel providing instruments, bows, and restorations that enable musicians and players to get so much more out of their playing. It brings me great joy every time we make this happen,” says Ken.
“It is my enduring belief that a successful business is driven by providing outstanding value to customers. At Sullivan Violins, our commitment to customers, along with Ken’s extraordinary technical and artistic skills, allows us to deliver outstanding instruments and excellence in customer support.”
Carolyn grew up in the mid-Hudson Valley of New York and in Colorado. She attended Colorado College earning a BA, going on to complete 2 master’s degrees at Cornell University, an MBA, and an MS in Applied Economics. Carolyn joined Corning Inc. after her master’s work, developing a passion for customers and marketing. She held positions in Corning’s consumer products division, Corporate Marketing, Environmental Products, Optical Fiber, and Corning Gilbert. Her assignments led her to travel the world over, including international assignments in Venezuela and Mexico. She has managed marketing, business development, and engineering teams and supported customers in the telecommunications, consumer, and military sectors.
Carolyn joined Ken in establishing Sullivan Violins in Rochester in 2006. It was an exciting leap into entrepreneurism. Carolyn has responsibility for business administration, marketing, finance, and personnel. She is thrilled to be developing and managing Sullivan Violins business, enabling Ken to focus on his violin making, restorations, and customer support.
“I love Sullivan Violins, because it is a people business that rests on bringing our technical expertise and craftsmanship to players in a way that has a significant and positive impact on their musical experience and expression,” says Carolyn.
Outside their work at Sullivan Violins, Carolyn and Ken are raising two boys. They spend the free time they have renovating their historic home in Rochester, entertaining friends and relatives, playing fiddle music in Rochester’s lively Irish music community, hiking, and traveling.
David Hauck Rental Program and Cello Sales Manager
David is a Rochester native who began playing the cello when he was eight years old. David had the pleasure of studying with Kathy Kemp of the RPO from 2004-2013, and renowned chamber musician Mimi Hwang from 2013-2017. He was a member of the Hochstein Youth Symphony Orchestra from 2009 to 2013 and has had the privilege of touring and performing internationally in Ireland, Poland, and the Bahamas. Most notably, David has played with the Bahamas National Youth Choir and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
David attended Nazareth College and graduated in 2017 with a degree in Music Therapy. After completing his music therapy internship in 2018, he began working at Sullivan Violins and has since worked as the Manager of the Rental Department and Cello Sales. David finds great joy in inspiring the next generation of musicians and matching them with their perfect instrument.
Greg Tracy Associate Luthier
Greg is originally from Kansas City and grew up among a family of musicians. He got his start in the field during high school, learning violin making and repair from his uncle Ken Beckmann. He attended the Chicago School of Violin Making and, after graduating in 2014, returned home to continue working with his uncle and apprenticed with Amos Hargrave in Lawrence, Kansas. In 2015 he was offered a position at Triangle Strings in Raleigh, North Carolina working under Jerry Pasewicz. He has regularly attended the Oberlin Violin Restoration Program at Oberlin College, learning from some of the best restorers in the industry. Greg joined the Sullivan Violins team in 2018 and has enjoyed being able to work with great musicians in the Rochester area.
Samantha Smith Marketing Communications Manager
Samantha grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, and began playing violin at the age of 8. In 2007, she joined the Three Rivers Youth Orchestra and then joined the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra in 2011 until her high school graduation in 2015. She began attending Duquesne University under the study of Rachel Stegeman, playing with the Butler Symphony, Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, and West Virginia Symphony Orchestra during her time there. She attended the National Orchestral Institute located in Maryland in 2018 and 2019. She received distinct honors upon her graduation from Duquesne with a degree in Violin Performance and a minor in Business.
Samantha began working at Sullivan Violins in July 2019, handling marketing communications and sales. Her day to day responsibilities include overseeing promotional events and sales as well as managing string and accessory inventory. Rochester is her first home away from her hometown and she has enjoyed exploring the area.
From Ken Sullivan originals to our restored classics, all Sullivan Violin instruments—violin, viola, and cello—are guaranteed to be of the highest quality and to offer a musical experience like no other.
Ken Sullivan Originals
Ken Sullivan’s handmade instruments are known for their gorgeous sound qualities. Ken’s deep knowledge of acoustical properties comes to life in his handmade instruments. Join the artists who have taken their expression and sound quality to a new level with a Sullivan violin, viola, or cello.
Violin making has achieved new heights. The emergence of world-class violin making schools paired with our modern understanding of acoustics have led to many modern makers being able to achieve both projection and nuance. Sullivan Violins offers instruments from award winning violin and bow makers from across the globe.
Antique & Restored Instruments
Sullivan Violins is searching for special, older instruments worldwide and bringing them into peak condition and tone. We’ve found that many early 20th century German instruments rival their Italian counterparts. With Sullivan Violins acoustics, our customers can get a fine vintage European instrument at a price that is significantly less than a comparable Italian example.
Sullivan Violins has instruments from global workshops. These workshop instruments offer students access to properly set up instruments that ensure excellent, reliable playability at an affordable price. Featured workshops include Eastman Music Company, Heinrich Gil, Jay Haide, as well as bows from Arcos Brasil, L’Archet Brasil, and Codabow.
Our Sound Investment Guarantee
Purchasing an instrument is a special event in a musician’s life. Make your decision with confidence with the Sullivan Sound Investment Guarantee.
It begins with our expert guidance in helping you select your instrument, followed by our professional set-up and fine-tuning to ensure peak performance. We offer outstanding conditioning and unparalleled sound adjustments, and we back everything up with our 100% trade-back guarantee.
Enjoy the beautiful sounds created through the marriage of the highest quality instruments and the highest caliber musicians.
From Concertgebouw to Carnegie Hall
Our instruments bring music to life on stages across the country and around the globe.