At Grand Rapids Violins, you can be sure that your instrument is in the hands of highly-trained artisans with incredible work ethic and attention to detail. We're not just luthiers - we're string players too, so we understand the importance of a job well done and share your love for a beautiful, finely tuned instrument.
In addition to being an restorer, instrument builder and co-owner of Grand Rapids Violins, Kevin Flannery plays double bass with the Grand Rapids Symphony.
Kevin moved to Grand Rapids from Lafayette, Louisiana in 1976 to play with the symphony and soon thereafter, began working with Steven Reiley at Guarneri House doing repair and set-up on violin family instruments.
Kevin started Flannery Music Company in 1981, specializing in lower string work. His business included repair, restoration, and making commissioned copies of existing instruments. Kevin met Matt as a customer, providing repairs for his bass, and then took Matt on as a student, teaching him to build a bass. They stayed in touch, and when Matt finished his luthier education and moved back to the Grand Rapids area, the two decided to combine their talents and open a full-service strings business.
Of special interest to Kevin are unique instrument commissions, including early stringed instruments (six- and seven-string gambas and five- and six-string violones). Kevin’s focus is on attention to detail, and he strives for constant quality improvement.
In his spare time, Kevin loves road cycling and woodturning, the process of turning chunks of firewood into bowls and hollow forms.
Matthew Noykos, co-owner of Grand Rapids Violins, is an award-winning instrument builder and restorer and a member of the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers.
Matthew has a Certificate of Lutherie from the Violin Making School of America in Salt Lake City, as well as a Bachelor’s of Music from Grand Valley State University and a Master’s of Music in performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Matthew spent a number of years working for Jerry Pasewicz in Raleigh, North Carolina. There he carried out a wide variety of advanced restorations and also spent a great deal of time working on sound adjustments with Jerry, who received his education in the workshop of René Morel of New York. Matthew also had the honor of serving a bow-making apprenticeship with Jerry.
In recent years, Matthew has garnered a reputation for exacting work and high standards among his clientele and colleagues. He is constantly striving for excellence in his craft and continues to work closely with colleagues across the globe, through organizations such as the Violin Society of America and the Oberlin Violin Making and Restoration Workshops.
Having focused more on cello in recent years, Matthew now considers himself mostly a cellist, and he also plays piano, organ, and violin. He is currently a member of the Heritage Hill String Quartet. When not in the shop, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Sonja, and kids, Lucia and Theo.
Katie Hettinga joined Grand Rapids Violins as our customer relations manager in 2021. As a string player and teacher herself, Katie welcomes customers to the shop and takes pride in helping them with their instrument needs.
After earning a Bachelors in music at Western Michigan University, her love of all things strings led her to the Chicago area where she taught middle school orchestra and private violin and viola lessons. Fast forward ten years and one amazing viola making experience with Kevin Flannery, Katie now uses her knowledge of strings to assist customers and keep the shop running smoothly. Her varying responsibilities at Grand Rapids Violins include inventory, customer relations correspondence and rental program. While her instagram skills and latte making techniques are still under question, she loves problem solving and strategizing new and more efficient ways of operating.
When not at the shop, Katie maintains a strong studio of violin and viola students from the Grand Rapids and Jenison area. Katie enjoys attending concerts and festivals, especially those featuring her musician husband, Joe Hettinga. She and Joe have two children, Allie and Dean.
Peter Lynch is a violinmaker originally from New Jersey. He works part of the week at Grand Rapids Violins and has been with our shop since August 2021.
Peter also has his own shop in Manchester, Michigan —Peter Lynch Violins. There he focuses on making new instruments and doing set-up and sound adjustments. He has been a violinmaker since 2007. He has trained with Feng Jiang and Michael Darnton and enjoys attending Oberlin Restorations Workshops to further develop his restoration skills.
Living near Ann Arbor, Peter helps coordinate with musicians from the east side of the state for Grand Rapids Violins, transporting instruments and bows for sales, restoration, set-up work and rehairs.
Peter is also the president of the Michigan Violinmakers Association.
Robert Johnson joined the team at Grand Rapids Violins in August 2021. He graduated with honors from the violin repair program at Red Wing in 2018 and completed his doctoral degree in double bass under Jack Budrow at Michigan State University the following year. Lutherie had been an interest of Robert’s dating to his undergraduate years at Central Michigan under Ed Fedewa. Driven by a desire to make string education more accessible, for his doctoral work he began training in lutherie to allow for writing an exploratory series of curricula to teach basic skills, anatomy, and history both at the university level and to string educators.
In addition to his responsibilities at the shop, he is also studying bass making with Kevin Flannery. Robert is an active freelancer and teacher, playing in orchestras all over Michigan including Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, West Michigan, and many more. Other appearances include Dallas Winds, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, and Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He is also on the faculty of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and performs at the Baroque on Beaver summer festival every August.
In his spare time Robert enjoys reading, visiting with friends, Ultimate Frisbee, and playing Rocket League.