3949 Russell St., Suwanee (Atlanta), GA 30024 • 770.945.1188
The Story Behind Huthmaker Violins and Our Awesome Staff
Huthmaker Violins started at a workbench in our laundry room in 1989. Buddy Huthmaker was the sole owner-employee-luthier. One afternoon, after finding every inch of the livingroom filled with 'celli and basses for repairs, Dixie insisted that a "real" shop be opened.
Now there were two Huthmakers in a 600 foot storefront. Repairs, instruments, bows, rentals and accessories. It was the beginning of a new passion..
In 1994, we dragged Anna into our web. "I'll give you one year of my life." she said (twenty-plus years ago). As our "Bow Queen," low strings expert and manager, she became the final piece in the Huthmaker puzzle which fitted together perfectly.
In the years that have followed, we've studied instrument and bow restoration, traveled all over Europe, met and worked with gifted makers, admired countless instruments and bows, held international exhibits and engaged with thousands of wonderful customers.
We've grown from 600 square feet to 2800 to 4800 and now we reside in the historic 1880 Rhodes Hotel with eight fireplaces, seven bedrooms, three parlors, wrap around porches, a carriage house and the largest magnolia tree in Georgia. Once upon a time, Margaret Mitchell loved to spend weekends here.
A very valuable part of Huthmaker Violins is the staff members who help us stay on course. Luthiers, Rental Managers, and Director of First Impressions--they are awesome additions to the Huthmaker Tribe. Weekly staff meetings may feature bow/violin identification lessons, new repair techniques, upcoming shop event information, Easter egg hunts and food.
Roland (Buddy) was a professional violinist, conductor and teacher before he turned his passion for string instruments into a violin shop. He holds a B.M. and M.M in violin performance from the University of North Texas and has performed with symphonies and professional quartets.
Working in the areas of violin and bow history and restoration was a natural outgrowth of his love of string instruments. He studied bow restoration and bow making with Arnold Bone, Lynn Hannings and George Rubino. His expertise in instrument restoration comes from twenty-plus years of summer study with Hans Nebel.
When he can escape from the violin shop, Buddy performs as a free-lance violinist, chases a little white ball around the golf course and dreams of salt-water fishing trips. And, yes, he has an MGTD and a DeuxChevaux in our garage.
Anna is the favorite daughter in the Huthmaker clan and emerged from the womb demanding to play the 'cello. She holds performance degrees in 'cello and string bass. When her parents lured her into managing the violin shop, she became our low strings specialist and resident "Bow Queen." She's studied bow restoration and making with Lynn Hannings, George Rubino, Robert Ray and William Salcow.
Anna also performs as a free-lance musician. She has performed with the Celtic band "The Border Collies," recorded with a number of folk singers and performs with the Johns Creek Symphony.
Anna heads two non-profit organizations: Trail Dames and LSF-USA (Luthiers Sans Frontières). With LSF, she's traveled to Equador, Haiti, Cuba and Trinidad to do bow repairing and luthier education. With Trail Dames, she empowers women to climb mountains.
Chief matriarch, Dixie was a professional violist, orchestra director and author before she "retired" to work in the violin shop full-time. She holds degrees in viola and music research. Yes, music does increase children's learning abilities.
As an orchestra director, she developed several award-winning programs in Florida and Georgia, and taught at in the Suzuki program at Southern Methodist University before joining the famous Success Through Strings Project in Dallas, Texas.
Her duties at the shop include the rental program, finances, final judgments, advertising, peace maker and (her personal favorite) buying trips to Europe.
One of her passions, beside family and music, is writing. When not at the shop, Dixie can be found at home creating a new novel.
Francisco created his own position at Huthmaker Violins. A graduate of the School of Violinmaking in Xalapa Veracruz, Mexico and the International School of Violinmaking in Cremona, Italy, Francisco is a lifetime learner. While in Cremona, he also worked with Maestro Michael Schimpf and Maestra Luisa Campagnolo. In addition, he has worked in his own shop, taught violinmaking in Veracruz, and worked in several American shops before joining us. His violins have won gold and silver medals. Francisco brings a high level of expertise in restoration and repair to our shop as well as a delightful personality--and a wonderful new brand of coffee.
Jonathan plays the 'cello, loves to travel (has visited over 8 countries), enjoys fishing, running and speaks Russian.
His love of building, making and repairing, led Jonathan to study string instrument repair at Minnesota State College Southeast Technical. He has also spent several summers studying with Hans Nebel in North Adams, Massachusetts.
Combine his degree in history from The College of Wooster with his string instrument restoration experience and add a dollap of ease with customers and you have a very valuable member of our tribe.
We have nicknamed him the "Bass King" because he has become the bass/'cello specialist for the shop.
Jonathan spends his spare time restoring his beautiful 1992 BMW convertible.
When Derek first applied for a position at Huthmakers, he sent pictures of the violin he had made and a picture of his dog, Monkey. A graduate of Minnesota State College Southeast Technical Violin Repair Program, he has also studied violin restoration with Hans Nebel at North Adams, Massachusetts.
His restoration and repair skills in our workshop are enhanced by his "wicked" sense of humor. He may look serious but look out for the zingers. His favorite place at the shop is in the hammock on the second floor porch--or so he says.
Derek plays the violin, guitar and banjo, and is a member of our Main Street Symphony.
Derek spent several years as a chef before studying instrument repair. Sometimes we get lucky and he cooks dinner for our crew.
In this picture, he poses with a young musician and her 100 year old family violin Derek restored.
The first time we met Donna was when she came to our shop to buy a viola bow. Her next trip was to become our counter person or Director of First Impressions. Donna plays the viola, performing with the Atlanta Community Orchestra, Jonesboro Methodist Orchestra and chamber music groups. The highlight of her summers is a week long chamber music camp where she continues to expand her ensemble repertoire.
A retired Special Education teacher, she loves traveling with friends, riding her bike to Trader Joe's and spending time with her family. And in the true Southern tradition, Donna is an excellent cook and hostess.
Jack is a retired teacher who works with us handling the rental program: contracts and payments. He's the perfect person for the job with his attention to detail, IT expertise and his Southern telephone manners.
In his spare time, Jack enjoys gardening, homebrewing and DIY projects. Our friendship goes back many years when his son ('cello) and daughter (violin) took lessons with us. Wife, Sylvia is a very fine pianist.
Jack majored in music--the saxophone . . . oh well.
We’ve always known Jenny Zimler. She began playing the violin as a child and would visit the shop regularly with her mother. High school followed by college, Jenny was always part of our shop family. After graduating with a degree in music, Jenny mentioned she had always been interested in bow restoration. Days later, Jenny became Anna’s apprentice, sitting at her new workbench, carving plugs, shaping face plates. Jenny’s value to our shop is exciting. She loves string instruments, loves working with bows and is a natural when working with customers. Away from the shop, she performs with several chamber music groups. Taking care of her dogs, organic gardening, crafting and cooking are some of her loves. Her travels include backpacking though Eastern Europe—alone.
Huthmaker Violins supports the Atlanta Symphony
When our Atlanta Symphony was locked out of Symphony Hall in the fall of 2014, we stood in support of our ASO musicians.
3949 Russell St., Suwanee (Atlanta), GA 30024 • 770.945.1188
Hours: Tuesday through Friday 12:00-6:00
Saturday 10:00-3:00 or by Appointment