1955: Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
1966: Began playing cello
1972: Cello performance major at University of Minnesota School of Music
1975: Violin Making School of America, Salt Lake City, UT. Instructors: Peter Paul Prier, Anton Smith, Paul Hart
1979: Graduated from VMSA. Guest examiner, Hans Weisshaar
1979: Chester E. Groth Music Co., Minneapolis, Minnesota
1980: Opened the Davis Violin Shop, Minneapolis, Minnesota
1997: Claire Givens Violins, Minneapolis, Minnesota
2010: Frank Davis Violins, Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
I grew up in a music loving family and began playing cello when I was 11. Over the years I was privileged to have excellent and supportive teachers along with many fine musical opportunities. In 1972 I continued my cello studies as a performance major at the University of Minnesota. As much as I loved playing, I was always fascinated by the instrument itself. After many months of researching possibilities for learning violin making, I found out about The Violin Making School of America in Salt Lake City, Utah. With support from my family, teachers, and friends, I applied to the VMSA, was accepted, and began my studies there in the fall of 1975. The training program at VMSA was comprehensive, demanding, and rigorous. During my years in Salt Lake City I also worked in the shop of Peter Prier where I learned repair and restoration, continued my musical studies, and played in various orchestras, ensembles, and musical performances.
After graduating from VMSA, I returned to Minneapolis at the invitation of Chester Groth, owner of Groth Music Co., the most prestigious violin shop in Minneapolis at the time. In late 1980 I established my own workshop, The Davis Violin Shop. After many years I found myself spending too much time running a business, and not being able to do what I love the most, which is being at the workbench. So I ultimately closed my store, and in 1997 began at Claire Givens Violins, and worked there until 2010.
Today I am at my own workbench, making instruments full time. I currently live in Minneapolis with my wife, Nobuko. Nobuko is the Executive Sales Representative in Japan for L’archet Brasil, the world’s only company representing only the finest independent bow makers from Brazil. Nobuko is also a fine violinist, a linguist, and teacher of Japanese. We both continue to actively play in orchestras and small ensembles in the area. Between us we have three adult children: Greer Davis who is an opera singer (soprano) in New York City, Sho Yokota who is working in Nagano, Japan, and Yuu Yokota who is a college senior in Tokyo, Japan.