Danny Oh – Violin Maker
In 1995, Danny Oh was double majoring in Physics and Aerospace Engineering at UCLA when a business opportunity was presented to him. A friend of his father needed a part time sales agent in the U.S. for the orchestral string instruments he was made in Korea. And as any engineer would, he began measuring and quantifying. He studied the best examples of fine sounding instruments. And before long, again as any engineer would, he made his own model. Then he made another, improving and building on what he learned from the previous one. And then another.
In 2002, Danny teamed up with Owen Lee to set up their workshop in Los Angeles, California. From there they imported and distributed instruments from China, Korea, and Germany. Here they modified some of the instruments they imported to improve their sound and playability, creating new lines. And, they began building instruments under their own marque Owen and Parkley.
Danny received his formal training renowned violinmaker Amos Hargrave of Lawrence, Kansas.So far, he has worked over 500 instruments in his workshop, with no plan to stop any time soon. Today at Los Angeles Violin Shop, Danny specializes in making violins, violas, and cellos in a unique collaboration of old Italian violin making traditions with modern scientific methods.
Through his education, training, and experience making instruments, plus his willingness to experiment, Danny has gained a reputation for his expertise in tone and getting the best from the instruments he works on. An expertise he happily shares with his customers and employees at Los Angeles Violin Shop.
Hojoon Owen Lee – Violin maker, Instrument Appraiser
Owen Lee began his violin adventure in 2002, when he began importing violins, violas, cellos, and basses from various countries including China, Korea, and Germany.
Through diligent effort and excellent customer service, Owen built strong relationships with many well-known violin shop owners across the country. When they talked about the violin business and meeting customer expectations, one problem kept coming up: the inability to improve on the instruments provided by third parties.
This led Owen to renowned violinmaker and restorer Amos Hargrave in Lawrence, Kansas. Working with Hargrave, Owen learned the skills of violin making as they restored Old Italian instruments and restored the health of other fine instruments as well.
After his apprenticeship with Hargrave, Owen continued and intensified his study of old Italian and French violins. And today, he uses his experience and expertise to provide accurate and informative appraisals on customers’ instruments. Owen regularly visits Europe to look for hidden gems, and best quality antique instruments and bows from all over the Europe.
“There are so many so called ‘experts’ in the violin world,” Owen often tells customers. “Yet a lot of these experts are so easily deceived because of lack of experience and eyes to distinguish the real valuable antiques.” “Anyone can call themselves an ‘expert”, Owens said, “but it takes years of experience handling and inspecting these instruments to build real expertise. Most of violin specialty shops can give customer advise about the market value of the instruments, but there are very few who can give certificate of authenticity. Also most of old certificate (over 30 years or more) are not valid in present days because of the amount of resources are completely different.
Owen is constantly on the hunt for the best sounding instruments for his customers, but there is another aspect he is looking for was well. He is looking for instruments as potential investments. Since he has been tracking the string instrument market for a number of years, and works with many dealers across the country, Owen can give accurate advice to customers and investors, including forecasting the potential return on investment any instrument might have.
Owen’s background as a violinmaker, an independent business owner, his passion for these instruments, and his experience working with and examining some of the best instruments from the likes of Antonio Stradivari, Guarneri Del Gesu, J.B Vuillaum, the Gagliano families, and many more, he can confidently give accurate advice and appraisals to his customers.
After long partnership and training with renowned French appraisers, Mr Jean-Francois Raffin, Sylvan Bigot, Yannick Le Canu for French bows and Jean-Jacques Rampal, Jonathan Marolle for fine instruments, whose certificates are recognized around the world, Owen Lee and The Los Angeles Violin Shop are proud to announce they will be hosting an event in January 2019 with these experts, where they will exhibit some of their finest instruments and bows, and offer appraisals of customers’ instruments. More details to follow as the dates grow closer.
Jin Kyung Ryoo –Restoration Expert and Violinmaker
From an early age, Jin Kyung Ryoo (she likes to be called “Esther”) had a strong passion for orchestral string instruments. But instead of being a famous soloist, Ester dreamed of keeping the soloist’s instruments healthy and restoring them when they fall on hard times. And she began restoring violins.
Ester followed her passion to Cremona Italy where she studied restoration and violinmaking at the Cremona Violin Making School. Upon graduation in 2005, she took a position in Eric Blot’s Violin Shop in Cremona, where she applied and developed her skills, and quickly was restoring fine old instruments.
In 2006, Ester moved to New York to take a position with Christophe Landon’s Rare Violins where she worked on many fine and rare instruments. In 2009, she returned Korea to work in Christophe Landon’s shop there. During her tenure with Chistrope Landon’s, Ester has restored many fine old instruments, including a number of famous old Italians.
Ester brings a wealth of experience and skill, and we are happy and excited to welcome her to the team. By the way, she also speaks 4 languages.
Daniel Hooper – Sales Manager
Daniel began his violinistic journey in the fourth grade, and came up through the public school music program. Along the way, he took a number of Superior ratings at Solo Festivals, won chairs in many Junior High and High School Honor Orchestras, and was a member of Youth Symphony West for four years. He attended the Conservatory of Music at University of The Pacific, where he majored in Music Education and studied violin under Warren van Bronkhorst.
Daniel took his degree in English Literature at San Francisco State University, but still found time to play with San Francisco Children’s Opera, The University Symphony, and other community musical groups.
On returning to Los Angeles, Daniel decided to get seriously reacquainted with his violin, and that lead him to Los Angeles Violin Shop, where Danny and Owen were looking for a Sales Manager to help them grow their business and make themselves more widely known to the public school orchestra directors.
“The driving force behind Los Angeles Violin Shop,” according to Daniel, “is to put the best sounding instruments in the hands of players regardless of their performance level or budget. That means that students and those just starting out can get an instrument optimized to its highest potential, just like those of top performer. And they get the same service. That’s why I enjoy working at Los Angeles Violin Shop.”
You can find Daniel running around the Southland visiting High School Orchestra directors, talking to students about the importance of proper care and mantainence of their instruments, and helping customers in the shop, when he’s not trying ou