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Our Story

We've been delivering violins to music lovers and academies for almost 50 years!  


Maple & Spruce, originally known as "Ya Yin Music", was founded in 1975 by David and Virginia Chen. They carried on as a mom and pop shop until 2005. Today, Maple & Spruce is managed by their daughter Nina.

We share a great love of music with all those we work with and are proud to be the quiet caretakers of violins that have been studied and played on by hundreds of young students. It is an honor to chat with former customers who now rent instruments for their own children to study music.

About Our Team:

Nina Chen Sobota, Manager - Nina started playing violin at age of 5 and studied under Ruth Ray, a colleague of Jascha Heifetz, and Almita Vamos. She soloed with the Elmhurst, Fox Valley and Wheaton Symphonies when she was sixteen and currently is a first violin volunteer with the Oak Park River Forest Symphony Orchestra. She studied architecture at MIT and is currently teaching violin and researching the math behind the harmony of music and space. 


Eric Hwang, Luthier -  Eric started playing the violin when he was 9 and studied under Christine Fredenburgh of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic (and disciple of Ani Kavafian). He studied at the Chicago School of Violin Making where he completed 2 violins, a viola, and a cello. He apprenticed with Louis Torick in 2016 and scribed for Lisa Gass at the 2018 Violin Society of America International Competition. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Chicago Booth School of Business. 


Robyn Sullivan, Luthier - Robyn started playing violin at age of 7 and majored in Music at Skidmore College. She apprenticed under and co-made her first violin in 2004 with Geoffrey Ovington. Robyn graduated from the Chicago School of Violin Making in 2009 and has since worked with several professional shops in the Chicago and Milwaukee areas. 

Our Team

We are excited to be a part of your musical journey and look forward to meeting you soon!

Eric Hwang


Nina Chen


Our Team

Music Hubs

Northwest Indiana Suzuki School


Chicago River North

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