Paula Keller Smith, Owner/Manager Keller Strings LLC

  • Second generation violin shop entrepreneur since May 1990. Owned and operated Keller Strings, LLC, (Violin family instruments, bows, repair and restoration, instructional studios, rentals) in the Midwest region prior to moving the business to New Orleans in February, 2013.
  • Created and marketed  WildHair®, dyed horsehair for wholesale and retail  1995 – 2010
  • Mentors and instructors: Frank Keller (Father, deceased); L. Gene Bearden, Owner Bearden Violin Shop St. Louis, Missouri, International Society of Violin and Bow makers; Lynn Armour Hannings, Bowmaker, Member- American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers.
  • Member of National Association of Music Merchants, Violin Society of America, and New Orleans, Inc.
  • Instructor in bow rehairing workshops and numerous bow rehairing demonstrations. Minor repairs Instruction to University Music Majors at Loyola University, and Kansas State University.
  • Favorite skills: Customer service, bows (rehairing and restoration), varnish touchup

John W. Smith, Owner/Manager Keller StringsJohn LLC

  • Violin Shop sales and restoration since May 1991. Keller Strings, Inc., (Violin family instruments, bows, repair and restoration, instructional studios, rentals) in the Midwest region.
  • Trained under Frank Keller, Horst Klaus, Violin Maker, Boston;  Gene Bearden, Violin Maker, St Louis
  • Favorite skills: restoration – violins, violas, and cellos. Finding the correct instrument for my customers. Favorite repair: button graft/sound post patch.

Kevin Mah, Social Media Manager/Customer Service

  • Violinist and composer; studied under violinist Amy Thiaville and composers Jim Walsh/William Horne at Loyola University
  • Compositional style can be described as contemporary classical, exploring polytonality, and different cultural styles, like fusing Japanese and Western European.
  • Once worked in the indie film and wedding industry in New Orleans
  • Some favorite composers include Igor Stravinsky, Gustav Mahler, Takashi Yoshimatsu, Koji Kondo, Yuka Kitamura, Christopher Larkin, and Olafur Arnalds.
  • Currently a music composition graduate student learning about stringed instrument repair here at Keller Strings!

Grace Collins, Violinist/Customer Service

  • Began playing violin at the age of 4
  • Attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) as a part of the Classical Instrumental and Academic Studio departments (‘18).
  • Currently studying Violin Performance at Oberlin Conservatory with Sibbi Bernhardsson.
  • Grace has studied and performed with both national and international music festivals.