Phone: (585) 442-9272 | (800) 828-3548

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"As Executive and Artist Director of the Academy of Strings, I can recommend The String House of Rochester, New York without hesitation. They have provided instruments of outstanding quality and value to our students for over fifteen years. Their willingness to work with our families in their choice of an instrument is in my opinion, second to none in the country. This type of service and genuine interest in matching instrument to musician is hard to come by these days. When you couple sincere help and advice with the highest value pricing I have seen, you end up with a winning combination."

Timothy Barrett
Executive and Artist Director
Academy of Strings, Johnson City, TN

Our Staff  

Stephen Kanack, Owner

Stephen Kanack began playing the cello at the age of 5. He studied with Carol Clark and Sam Christler of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and with Alan Harris at The Cleveland Institute of Music where he earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Cello Performance.

After spending parts of two summers performing in Germany, Austria, and Italy, Stephen developed an interest in violin repair and identification and decided to partner with his father Alex Kanack who founded The String House in 1970. Working together, many ideas were shared with a multitude of information coming from summer workshops attended with Hans Nebel, considered to be one of the best craftsmen in the world.

Stephen’s involvement in the business led to the expansion and move in 1985 to its current location at 1531 Monroe Avenue in Rochester, N.Y.

Stephen travels throughout the country and abroad in search of fine instruments, spending much of his time matching those instruments to prospective clients.

Paul Kanack, Owner

Paul Kanack is a graduate of the Ithaca College Business School (1986). Since 1992, he has been involved in all aspects of bow repair and restoration at The String House. After apprenticing with Lynn Arnow Hannings, he refined his bow making skills with William Salchow in 1997. He is a maker, restorer, and authenticator of bows for all string instruments. He is also an accomplished musician and composer playing violin, viola, guitar, and bass.

Joe DeSain, Restorations & Repairs

Joe has been with The String House since 1993 and is involved with all aspects of instrument repair and restoration. With prior experience as a quality control inspector for 19 years, Joe received his training as a restorer from Alex Kanack who he worked alongside for 17 years. His genuine interest and attention to detail is of vital importance for this position and Joe certainly exhibits those characteristics. When not busy at work, Joe enjoys woodworking, boating, gardening and attending high school soccer games coached by his son.

Dale Clark, Bow Restorations & Repairs

Dale Clark graduated from the Eastman School of Music having earned his Bachelor’s Degree in 1948 and his Master’s Degree in 1954. He served in the US Army 1951-1953. He also received his performance certificate on trombone and was awarded the position of 2nd trombone in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and held that seat from 1947-1960.

Eager to pursue additional interests, Dale returned to college and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1958 and a Bachelor of Science Degree with a concentration in Electrical Engineering in 1962. He worked as an electrical engineer at Xerox corporation from 1962-1992.

Dale joined The String House in 2002. Trained by both Alex and Paul Kanack, Dale remains a vital part of the bow department performing all aspects of bow repair and restoration.

“Married to the best gal in the world” June 8, 1957-December 13, 2011.

Shelley Bogino, Customer Service

Shelley has been a lifelong customer of The String House receiving her 1st violin at the age of 2. Growing up in a musical family benefitting from talented teachers (Joyce Dumm, Ginny Wensel, Jim Dumm) the violin became a very important part of forming a personal love and appreciation of music. Completing the Suzuki program, being a member of the RPYO and Penfield High School Orchestras bring the fondest memories of growing up to mind! With over 20 years working at The String House, Shelley has kept the “family run company” feel alive believing that if someone takes the time to call or stop in, whether it be for a piece of sheet music or our finest violin, taking care of this person in a friendly informed atmosphere is her number one priority.

   Betsy Turner Sprague, Customer Service

Beginning her relationship with the violin acquired from Alex and Gladys Kanack at the age of 4, Betsy Turner Sprague has considered The String House her second family for as long as she can remember. She is a Suzuki Violin and Eastman Preparatory Studies Graduate, and RPYO Alum. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance, and a Master of Science degree in Counselor Education. Her wonderful teachers include John Turner, Ginny Wensel, James Dumm, Anne Rylands, Linda Case, Pamela Gearhart, and Oliver Steiner. She was Concertmaster and on the Board of Directors  of the Finger Lakes Symphony Orchestra for 23 years. She is currently a free-lance violinist in the Rochester and surrounding areas, and also teaches many wonderful private violin students out of her home in Fairport.

Betsy returns as an employee of The String House after many years of teaching, performing, and raising her family. In addition to her violin studies, she received training in small instrument repair and proper set-up from her father John Turner, teacher Jim Dumm, and loving mentor Alex Kanack. She is thrilled and feels so fortunate to be able to incorporate her passion, experience, and knowledge of string instruments in all of her musical “jobs”!