About Us

Bowed String Instrument Specialists

The Little Rock Violin Shop (LRVS) is Arkansas's superior source for the rental, sales, and repair of bowed string instruments. We carry a wide selection of new and antique instruments and bows, as well as strings, cases, and accessories.

Unlike general music stores and online retailers that only care about selling you an instrument, we care for the life of your instrument. Our expertly trained repair professionals perform complex restorations as well as routine instrument and bow repairs needed to keep your instrument in its best playing condition. 

Whether you're a professional or an amateur musician, a student, or just starting out, we guarantee you'll leave LRVS happy and sounding your best!

 Take a tour of our shop and visit our Reviews page to see what parents, teachers, and professionals are saying about LRVS.

 

STAFF 

joe-joyner.jpgJoe Joyner

OWNER

Little Rock Violin Shop owner Joe Joyner began his career at the Lisle Violin Shop, working part time while a student at the University of Houston. After graduating summa cum laude with a degree in viola performance, he went to the Bow Making School of America where he completed a four month restoration course with master French bow maker Jean Grunberger. In 2007, after a few years working as a full-time bow repairman at the Lisle Shop, Joe moved back to his hometown to start the Little Rock Bow Shop (now Little Rock Violin Shop). Meticulous by nature, Joe enjoys the intricacies of bow repair work and attended the Oberlin Bow Restoration Workshop in 2012 and 2015.

Joe also plays viola in the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and Little Rock String Quartet. A passionate supporter of chamber music, he is the vice president and a past president of the Chamber Music Society of Little Rock. Joe is a product of the public school system and graduated from Little Rock's Mills University Studies High School. His musical mentors include James Hatch, Joe Vick, and Lawrence Wheeler.

Joe's love of music is rivaled only by his love for the instruments that produce it, and over the years Joe has dedicated himself to the study and identification of antique bows and instruments. Seeking instruments for study and sale, Joe has traveled the world to visit museums, view private collections, and attend instrument auctions and conferences. He has amassed a large collection of violin making reference books, which he uses in conjunction with consultations from professional colleagues to identify and appraise instruments and bows that come through the shop.

Outside of work Joe enjoys playing golf and taking his dogs on long hikes through the beautiful Arkansas wilderness.

 

 

micah-kelly-hicks.jpgMicah Donar

RENTAL ACCOUNTS MANAGER AND CELLO SPECIALIST

Micah Donar received her BM and MM degrees in Cello Performance from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. Her teachers included Yehuda Hanani, Udi Bar-David, Diane Bucchianeri, and Stephen Feldman. In addition to performing around the state in several ensembles, she teaches cello at Harding University, UCA’s Community Music Institute, and Searcy’s Community School of Music. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the bass viola da gamba, an instrument that was popular during the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

 

 

josh-small.jpgJoshua Wheeler

HEAD OF INSTRUMENT RESTORATION

​Joshua Wheeler has been creating and repairing woodcraft, electronics, and mechanical tools since he was very young. He began working as an apprentice at the Little Rock Violin Shop in 2013 and became the shop's head of instrument repair and restoration in 2020. Under the tutelage of Shop's previous head of repair, Wesley Rule, Josh learned the fundamentals of instrument setup and all manner of restorations, from soundpost patches and neck grafts, to complex crack repairs and varnish restoration. In addition to his training at LRVS, Josh has also worked on violin setup with master luthier Jerry Pasewicz, and in 2019 attended the prestigious Oberlin Violin Restoration Workshop, a one week intensive that brings together the world's best instrument restorers to work on their most difficult projects. Since then, he has continued to incorporate the skills learned there, committed to the pursuit of excellence and the love of music. Joshua is an accomplished violinist and violist and also finds time for camping, hiking, computing, and designing innovative toys for his younger brothers and sisters.

 

 

matt-kelly-hicks.jpgMatthew Nicholson

HEAD OF BOW RESTORATION

Originally from Omaha, Matt Nicholson graduated in 2005 from the University of Nebraska Omaha with a degree in double bass performance. Soon thereafter, he started work at a local violin shop and began attending violin restoration workshops such as the Southern California Violin Makers and Oberlin. He moved to Raleigh, NC in 2010 to apprentice for Jerry Pasewicz. In 2014, Matt worked for J.R. Judd’s Violin Shop before becoming the bow restorer for Potter Violins in 2015 until March of 2020 when he joined the Little Rock Violin Shop.

 

 

omobono.jpgOmobono

GREETER

Omobononamed for the younger of Antonio Stradivari's two sons, is LRVS's official greeter. Interestingly, Stradivari named his son after Saint Homobonus, the patron saint of business people and his hometown, Cremona, Italy. "Omo" is a chocolate, long-haired miniature dachshund and is an avid hiker, regularly completing 5-10 mile hikes and summiting Pinnacle Mountain dozens of times.

 

 

francesco.jpgFrancesco

GREETER IN TRAINING

Francesco is the newest member of the LRVS staff and is named after the eldest of Stadivari's sons. Born on December 24, 2019, our Christmas dog still has lots of puppy energy and his favorite activities are hiking and picking fights with his older brother, Omo. Francesco is a miniature dappled dachshund.

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