Meet the Luthiers


James Banicki

Mr. Banicki graduated from the Chicago School of Violin Making in 1985. He went on to work in the workshops of both John Norwood Lee and William Harris Lee crafting fine instruments and bows. He worked at the Kenneth Warren & Son violin shop for 15 years, eventually becoming one of their senior repairmen. In the Warren workshop he had the opportunity to restore fine and historic instruments including those by such makers as A. Stradivari, Guarneri del Gesu, and Jacob Stainer. When the Warren shop closed their luthier workshop, Mr. Banicki continued to serve the Warren's and their clients including those from the Chicago Symphony.  Seeking refuge from city life, James joined Vermont Violins as Head Luthier in 2006.



edward porte

Ed has been the head of our West Lebanon, New Hampshire workshop since 2006. He is originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota and studied violin repair with Lisbeth Nelson-Butler at the Red Wing Technical Institute. Ed has attended various classes with Karl Roy, Hans Nebel and Lynn Hanning at the UNH summer programs and has furthered his studies attending workshops with Eliza Scrollavezza in Parma, Italy.  His experience includes working with William Scott Violins from 2000-2001. In his time outside the workshop, Ed studies fiddling, biking, and spending time with his children, who studied Suzuki at MacPhail Center for the arts in Minneapolis, MN. Personal musical interests include the Hot Club of France, Baroque and traditional Irish fiddle music.



marcus bretto

Music has had a strong influence on Marcus' life since early childhood. He started playing a multitude of string instruments very early on, and finally decided to learn both violin and woodworking at the age of 12. After realizing that both of these skills could be merged into one, he began performing minor repairs for the stringed instruments at the middle school in his hometown: Hingham, Massachusetts. He continued to do repairs for the district until his graduation from high school in 2013. Marcus continued to follow his passion and enrolled in the violin making and repair program at the North Bennet Street School in Boston, Massachusetts. He completed the three year program, and joined the team at Vermont Violins shortly afterwards to gain more experience as a luthier. Marcus is also a self taught blacksmith, having begun at the age of 14 with the intent of making better tools for the luthierie trade.


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jong-won lee

Jongwon Lee joins us at Vermont Violins from Seoul, South Korea. A student of Tschu ho Lee and Brian Derber at the Chicago School of Violin Making, Jong has dedicated himself to the craft of lutherie for almost 30 years. Jongwon's impressive achievements include repair/restoration projects on Rostropovich's Maggini cello, Pablo Casal's D'Espine cello and Alan Berg's Strad. In addition to an impressive repair and restoration resume, Jongwon has built over 60 violins, 6 violas and 2 cellos. 



harry grabenstein

Harry Grabenstein studied bowmaking with William Salchow at the University of New Hampshire. He was bowmaker at Tourin Musica from 1983 to 1990. Harry continues to build a full range of historical bows for the viola and violin families of string instruments. Using snakewood, pernambuco, ebony and other hardwoods he creates beautifully detailed bows that play expressively and are secure on the string. Clients include: members of Fretwork, The Kings Noyse, the Van Swieten Quartet, the Baltimore Consort, Ensemble Galilei, Chatham Baroque, The Orchestra of the 18th Century, The Boston Symphony, and The Cleveland Orchestra.  Harry has been a fixture at the Burlington Violin Shop since its inception.



marit danielson

After graduating from the Manhattan School of Music in 1987 in Viola Performance, Marit Danielson went on to earn a BA from Bryn Mawr College with a degree in Art History and Philosophy. In love with the instruments, but turning away from a performance career, she combined her love of art, history, music, and craft at the North Bennett Street School of Violinmaking where she earned a certificate of completion in the lutherie school. Her training advanced as a three year intern at the shop of Curtin & Alf, perhaps the premier makers in the United States today. Marit has been an independent violinmaker with national sales and placements in fine violin shops nationally, including Vermont Violins.



young-ju kim

Young-Ju is a bow specialist at Vermont Violins in Burlington. A graduate of the Kaywon School of Art in 1986 and Chugye University for the Arts in Seoul in 1990 for viola performance, Young-Ju brings a wealth of string knowledge with her. She studied at the Chicago School of Violin Making in 1994 and worked at Jong-Won Lee strings for sixteen years.



Maggie Gerty

Maggie comes to Vermont Violins from Minnesota, carrying a psychology degree from St. Olaf college and a degree from the Red Wing Musical Instrument repair program. Maggie has extensive knowledge and experience with Hardanger fiddles, having completed an independent study during her time at St. Olaf on their history, construction, and repair. She is an active member of the HFAA (Hardanger Fiddle Association of America) and enjoys hiking, camping, the outdoors, and small-craft boat building in her spare time.