Board Members
Jessie Gilbert, President

Joined the Chicago School of Violin Making Board of Directors in 2004. She graduated from CSVM in 2002. Before entering the school she worked for 30 years as a psychotherapist, specializing in work with children and their families. Jessie received her BA from Harvard University in 1970 and her MA in Social Work from the University of Chicago in 1973. She lives in Oak Park, IL with her husband Alan, an attorney. Currently she focuses on bow work and fundraising for the school.

Petio Kostov, Vice President

Joined the Chicago School of Violin Making Board of Directors in 2011. His study of violin making began in Bulgaria under Vladimir Naidenov. He continued his studies at the CSVM under Tschu Ho Lee and Rebecca Elliott, graduating in 1997. During and after his studies at the school, he assisted Tschu Ho Lee with repair and restoration as well as instrument-making. Petio was an instructor at the school from 1998 to 2001. He is also a co- founder of Classic Violins Corp. where he currently handles repairs and restorations, recently dedicating most of his time to making new instruments. He is a member of the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers and the Violin Society of America, where he has won awards and recognitions.

James Zartman, Treasurer

A graduate of DePauw University and holds an LLB from Harvard Law School. He practiced law in Chicago for 40 years and was a partner in the firm of Chapman and Cutler, specializing in trust and estate law, income, gift and estate tax matters and organization and administration of not-for-profit corporations. He is a Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel; Academician, International Academy of Estate and Trust Law; and listed in each edition (until retirement) of Naifeh and Smith, The Best Lawyers in America. Jim is an author, lecturer and legislative draftsman in the fields of trust, estate and tax law. Hw has been an avid amateur chamber music player for 50 years, a collector of books on the history and construction of the violin and related stringed instruments, and a member of the Violin Society of America since 1992. Jim also plays harmonica, banjo, folk and country fiddle.

Mary Ellen (Mel) Sapp, Secretary

Joined the Chicago School of Violin Making Board of Directors in 2014. She has a diverse background, having been a bond salesman for over 10 years working with institutional customers, a legal assistant for an estate planning attorney for 5 years, and a computer support specialist for Aldi for 4 years. Before opening a retail violin shop in Montgomery, IL in 2007 with her husband, Greg Sapp, she was inside sales manager and customer service manager for a large manufacturer. All of these experiences provide her with a useful and practical understanding of business, particularly as it pertains to marketing and customer relations.

Tschu Ho Lee, Director Emeritus

The Director-Emeritus of the Chicago School of Violin Making. He was born in Seoul, Korea. He was a violinist for the KBS Symphony Orchestra in Seoul, Korea from 1956 until 1963, prior to his study of sculpture at Hong-Ik University. He graduated from the Mittenwald Violin Making School, which he attended from 1964 to 1967. From 1967 to 1970 he was the assistant to Mittenwald violin maker Josef Kantuscher. In 1968 Mr. Lee received a Master's Certificate (Geigenbau Meister) with Gold Medal from the German Government.

Mr. Lee moved to the United States in 1970 and began work at Kenneth Warren & Son, Ltd. As a violin maker and restorer. He was co-founder of the original K. Warren and Son School of Violin Making in 1975. In 1983 Mr. Lee took over the school and changed the name to the Chicago School of Violin Making. He continued as Director of the Chicago School of Violin Making until 2003, when the school became a non-profit corporation. He was named Director-Emeritus of the school and continues in an advisory capacity to the students.

Mr. Lee was a workmanship judge at the 13th International Competition of the Violin Society of America in November 1998 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and also at the 17th Violin Society of America International Competition in Baltimore, Maryland in November 2006.

He has made more than 300 instruments including violins, violas, and cellos and continues to build new instruments for a worldwide market. He is a member of the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers.

James A. Casey

An attorney who practices law in the area of trusts, estates and foundations as a partner with the international law firm, Mayer Brown, LLP. He has been rated by Chambers USA and recognized by Best Lawyers in America. He is the Chair of the Planned Giving Advisory Committees for Ravinia and WTTW/WFMT. Mr. Casey received a law degree from The John Marshall Law School in 1995 and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Western Michigan University in 1989. He has been a Certified Public Accountant since 1989, and practiced as an accountant before attending law school. Jim and his wife Ann, and their two sons live in Chicago. He enjoys conducting his sons' daily violin practices, and teaching them traditional fiddle tunes.

Greg Pine

Joined the Chicago School of Violin Making Board of Directors in 2011. He serves as the CEO of MPA, an analytic consulting firm that partners with health care organizations to monitor and improve clinical quality and cost effectiveness. Greg earned his BA in Math and Economics from Pomona College. Before assuming his position with MPA, he worked for Merrill Lynch in the 1990s and then served as President of Healthcare Quality Insights, a Chicago based software development firm. Greg's support of all things musical is best demonstrated in his marriage to violinist Rachel Barton Pine. He often accompanies and supports her on her tours. They are the proud parents of a daughter.

James A. Warren

President of the firm of Kenneth Warren & Son, Ltd., of Chicago, IL. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a BA degree in Business Administration, he joined the Warren firm in 1975. He was actively involved in forming the Kenneth Warren & Son School of Violin Making in 1975 (now the Chicago School of Violin Making) and served as its President from 1976 to 1982. A member of the Appraisers Association of America, he serves as his firm's sole expert for matters of authenticity. He has sponsored a number of research projects on historic violin makers and is involved in a project to co-author a book about bow maker Francois Xavier Tourte. Jim also serves on the Board of Directors of the Violin Society of America.

Rodney Mohr

A 1982 graduate of the Kenneth Warren & Son School of Violin Making (now the Chicago School of Violin Making), Rodney Mohr joined the Chicago School of Violin Making Board of Directors in 2014. He worked for Kenneth Warren and Son during school and upon graduation worked for bow maker John Norwood Lee in Chicago. In 1985 Rodney and his wife Ann, also a CSVM graduate, established Mohr & Mohr in Mansfield, Ohio. Their daughter Katherine has joined the business as the first second-generation female bow maker in the United States.

Rodney is co-director of the Oberlin Bow Restoration Workshop in Oberlin, Ohio, has taught at the North Bennett Street School in Boston and has given numerous demonstrations at the Chicago School of Violin Making. He also hosts his own bow rehairing, restoration and making workshops at his studio in Ashland, Ohio. He received third prize at the International dé Paris Competition and has received numerous certificates for workmanship from various international competitions. Rodney has won three gold medals for bass bows from various Violin Society of America competitions, earning him the title Hors’ Concours. He has also earned the degree of Master of Bow Making from the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers and has made more than 800 bows.

Rodney is a past-president of the Board of Directors of the Violin Society of America and the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers. He has also been a bow judge and panel participant for Violin Society of America competitions and conventions.

Christopher Brathwaite

A Senior Wealth Planner in William Blair & Company, LLC’s Wealth planning group, Mr. Braithwaite consults to families with significant wealth, business owners, and corporate executives and provides strategic wealth planning guidance in the areas of tax efficiency, estate planning, and strategic asset allocation. He is a member of the Investment Management Consultants Association and the Chicago Estate Planning Council.

Mr. Brathwaite is a violinist and a member of the Evanston Symphony Orchestra. He earned a BA from Johns Hopkins University, a BMus (Violin Performance) from Peabody Conservatory of Music, and MBA from University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management.

Paul Zafer

Currently Concertmaster of the Chicago Sinfonietta, Mr. Zafer performed as Concertmaster with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Kalamzoo Symphony Orchestra, Lincoln Symphony of Nebraska, Elgin Symphony, Illinois Phiharmonic Orchestra, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Orchestra. He is currently a member of the Lake Forest Symphony and the Penninsula Music Festival Orchestra in Door County, Wisconsin and is a substitute musican with the Music of the Baroque, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Concertmaster for the Lion King National tour. He also has performed in many Broadway in Chicago shows.

Paul earned an Artist Diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, a Bachelor of Music in Performance degree from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Music degree from Northern Illinois University.

Mr. Zafer is currently on Faculty at Wheaton College and is one of the coaches for the DePaul University Symphony Orchestra. During the summers he is on faculty at Camp Musicale des Laurentides in Quebec, Canada. He has taught and coached at North Park University, the Chicago School of the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, Stanford University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Missouri-St. Louis, the Royal Conservatory of Toronto and the University of Toronto. He and his wife, Betty Lewis, reside in Wilmette, Illinois.

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