Biography

After nearly a decade in New York making instruments for elite musicians with violinmaker Samuel Zygmuntowicz, serving as Workshop Foreman for much of that time, in 2020 Justin Hess moved to Philadelphia excited to continue making his award-winning instruments out of his own studio.

Justin’s appreciation for string music started young, originally kindled by his mother, an orchestral cellist. This and his aptitude for woodworking, inherently high standards, and attention to detail translate naturally to making instruments.

He attended the North Bennet Street School’s acclaimed violinmaking and repair program in Boston where he was honored with an award for Distinguished Craftsmanship upon graduation. He went on to work with Christopher Germain and with Frederick Oster, focusing primarily on restoration, before moving to New York to concentrate on making new instruments with Samuel Zygmuntowicz in 2011. In 2020 Justin established his own studio in Philadelphia dedicated to making fine instruments for demanding musicians.

Participating in three international Violin Society of America biannual competitions Justin was awarded with a Double Gold Medal for Violin Tone and Artisanship in 2022, a Gold Medal for Violin in 2018 and a Silver Medal for Violin Workmanship in 2016. Justin is a member of The American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers.

JH 2018 Gold Medal
JH 2016 Silver Medal