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

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"My students throughout the country have been purchasing instruments from the String House for 25 years. Parents are thrilled with the quality of service as well as the value of their purchase. I love the individual attention given to each of my student's needs. At every level, students have the opportunity to choose from among several different types of instruments so it's possible for them to have the "just right" instrument. Many thanks to the Kanacks for bringing so many of my students into their family over the years!"

M. Diane Slone
Chair of Strings, Community Division
The Hartt School

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 his grandchildren.


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”!