Peter Seman, President
Peter joined the Board in 2018. He is a self-taught left-handed violinist, with a lifelong passion for building and playing violins. After high school, he attended the School for Fine Arts at Buffalo State College but left school to play in a band that played traditional Bluegrass and Gypsy Jazz.
In 1984 he moved to Chicago to attend the Chicago School of Violin Making. While enrolled he also worked for several local violin shops, where he developed repair skills and learned the intricacies of bow re-hairing. After graduating the school he opened his own shop with a partner in 1989. Since then, Seman Violins has grown from the original two people to nine, all of whom have either graduated from the CSVM or are now attending it.
Peter is past board president of the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers and currently serves on its foundation board, a nonprofit that is publishing a book about the history of violin making in America entitled The American Violin. He also serves on the board of Callipygian Players.
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.
Arnold Cohen, Treasurer
I’ve spent 40 years of engineering work at large corporations. Currently a Software, Hardware Quality and Project Manager at IBM. Previously was at Motorola for 30 years as a Senior Manager responsible for Cellular phone infrastructure testing, Customer support, Quality management, Outage analysis and prevention. Hobbies include violin playing, music and woodworking. Recently built an electric violin, and currently working on my first acoustic violin. Live in Skokie, grew up in Skokie. Married over 30 years, with 2 grown daughters (Teacher and Pediatrician), and one dog.
Sara Deliberato, Secretary
Sara Deliberato Younglove holds a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from Bowling Green State University, and is a proud 2016 graduate of the Chicago School of Violin Making. While in the program, she worked at Seman Violins to further develop her skills. After graduation, she continued honing her skills in violinmaking, restoration, and bow rehairing at Psarianos Violins in the Detroit area. She currently resides in Tennessee, where she continues to build and repair instruments out of her home workshop. Sara has played in many orchestras including the International Symphony Orchestra, Perrysburg Symphony, Oak Ridge Symphony, and most recently she joined the Bryan Symphony Orchestra as Box Office Manager.
Case Arts law LLC’s founder and Principal, Kevin Case, represents musicians and artists nationwide in labor and employment matters, including the drafting and negotiation of collecting bargaining agreements (CBAs) and individual employment contracts on behalf of symphony and opera musicians. He has negotiated CBAs on behalf of the musicians of the Chicago Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Florida Orchestra, Chicago Lyric Opera, and the Grant Park Symphony (among others). In 2015, he was appointed General Counsel to the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM).
Also a seasoned litigator, Mr. Case has broad-based experience advising clients in cases involving employment discrimination, employee discipline and discharge, non-competition and other restrictive covenants, and personal injury. He has litigated cases through arbitration and trial in both federal and state court, argued before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the Illinois Appellate Court, and conducted mediations in the Cook County courts as a certified mediator for the Center for Conflict Resolution in Chicago. He is a member of the Chicago Bar Association’s Labor & Employment Law committee and Media & Entertainment Law committee, as well as the Employment Rights and Responsibilities Committee of the American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law and the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee.
Kevin Case also brings to Case Arts Law LLC an unusual combination of successful careers in both music and law. Before going to law school, Mr. Case was a sought-after concert violinist and symphonic musician. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, he held positions as concertmaster of the Memphis Symphony, the Grant Park Symphony, and the Dallas Opera, and performed regularly with the Chicago Symphony and the Chicago Lyric Opera. He advocated for musicians’ rights during his playing career, serving as chairman of the Grant Park Symphony players’ committee and delegate to ICSOM.
Prior to forming Case Arts Law LLC (and its predecessor firm Moen & Case LLP), Mr. Case was an attorney in the Chicago office of one of the country’s top law firms, Jenner & Block LLP. There, Mr. Case handled a wide range of sophisticated and complex matters, including taking on some of the nation’s largest banks, securities brokers, and hedge funds in matters where hundreds of millions of dollars were at stake. Before joining Jenner & Block, Mr. Case served as a law clerk for the Honorable Rebecca R. Pallmeyer of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, assisting the Court in resolving cases involving employment discrimination, securities fraud, patent infringement, civil rights, and labor law.
Mr. Case graduated with high honors from the Chicago-Kent College of Law, where he earned the school’s Certificate in Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution, was inducted into the Order of the Coif as a result of graduating in the top four percent of his class, and served as Executive Articles Editor for the Chicago-Kent Law Review. He also holds a Certificate in Collective Bargaining Studies from Cornell University.
Mr. Case has written extensively about labor issues in symphony orchestras, in articles including “Sustainability”: No, That Word Does Not Mean What You Think It Means; “Right to Work”: Is It Really About Workers’ Rights?; and The Commoditization of Symphony Orchestra Musicians. Mr. Case also authored two articles published in the Chicago-Kent Law Review: Tanks in the Streets: SUVs, Design Defects, and Ultrahazardous Strict Liability; and “Lewd and Immoral”: Nude Dancing, Sexual Expression, and the First Amendment, which won the 2007 Burton Award for Legal Achievement.
Mr. Case still performs regularly in Chicago as a violinist with the top-flight ensemble Music of the Baroque, and as concertmaster of the Midwest Mozart Festival.
After graduating from the Chicago School of Violin Making in 1985, Jeff took a position with Shar in Ann Arbor assisting award-winning violin maker David Burgess constructing new instruments and performing restorations. Beginning in 1988 he managed and directed Shar’s old instrument division, eventually becoming Vice President of Shar Fine Instruments, Ann Arbor & Toronto. In 2003, he took his leave of the firm to open his own studio where he offers restoration, appraisal, expertise, consultation, and sales of old and contemporary instruments and bows.
Jeff is an accredited member of the Appraisers Association of America and the director of the Oberlin/VSA Summer Instrument Restoration Workshop. He is also a past board member of the Violin Society of America.
Elizabeth La Porte
Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Macalester College and is a 2011 graduate of the Chicago School of Violin Making. After finishing the program, Elizabeth developed her skills in violin and bow repair and restoration at several respected shops in the Chicago area.
In 2015, Elizabeth joined the internationally renowned workshop of Rare Violins of New York. Working daily with fine instruments and accomplished musicians inspires and informs her continued violin making.
As a professional in the field, Elizabeth has worked to strengthen engagement and communication among violin makers and restorers. She has supplemented the education of CSVM students as a guest lecturer and joined the School’s Board of Directors in 2019. She is eager to help students develop professional relationships, and to promote the Chicago School’s mission of education and fine craftsmanship.
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 the 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.
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.
A native of Taipei, Taiwan, Yi-Ping Yang immigrated to the United States at the age of 18 to further her musical studies, culminating in an Artist Diploma from Yale University and invitations to several of the world’s foremost chamber music festivals. While performing actively as a violist, she gradually became enamored with the instrument trade on her regular visits to violin shops in New York City. Prior to joining our team, Yi-Ping was the Managing Director of Reed-Yeboah Fine violins and is a co-founder of the New York Contemporary Violin and Bow Maker’s Exhibition, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
Through her considerable experience, Yi-Ping has earned the trust of noteworthy performers and collectors both in the United States and abroad. She has worked with musicians in most of the leading American, European, and Asian orchestras and has developed a broad client base that relies upon her for guidance. In addition to representing instruments and bows from the collection, Yi-Ping manages the day-to-day operations of our firm.
Jim is 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. He 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.
Paul Zafer is the Concertmaster of the Chicago Sinfonietta, a member of the Chicago Philharmonic, and the Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra in Wisconsin. He is currently on the faculty of Wheaton College, and Camp Musical des Laurentides in Quebec, Canada. Zafer is a chamber music coach for the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Music Institute of Chicago Academy as well as an orchestral coach for the Orchestras at DePaul University.
A native Canadian, Zafer made his solo debut with the Calgary Philharmonic at age 14. He also has appeared as featured soloist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Joffrey Ballet of Chicago and the Chicago Sinfonietta, and most recently in March 2019.
Zafer has played violin in a wide range of ensembles. He has performed as concertmaster with Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Peninsula Music Festival, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Lincoln Symphony of Nebraska, Elgin Symphony, Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Lion King National Tour. He has also played with the English Chamber Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, Music of the Baroque, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Santa Fe Opera, Canadian Opera Company and the National Ballet of Canada.
In addition to performing, Zafer has worked with student musicians as a private instructor, coach, and mentor. He has coached ensembles at North Park University, CCPA-Roosevelt University, Royal Conservatory of Music and the University of Toronto, and has given Masterclasses at Stanford University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Missouri–St. Louis, Northern Illinois University and the Rockford Music Academy. He has taught at North Park University, DePaul Community Music Division and the Birch Creek Summer Music Camp.
Zafer earned an Artist Diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, a Bachelor of Music in Performance from the University of Toronto, and a Masters of Music from Northern Illinois University. He and his wife Betty Lewis reside in Wilmette, Illinois.