I can neither gloat about having won violin making competitions, nor about having any medals or certificates of merit to my favor.
With good cause:
I do not participate in violin making competitions. The goal of these competitions is to compare what is not comparable. On the one hand, because a classical string instrument is the expression of a personal interpretation in a very restricted domain (in several competitions, violins which are not a copy of a Stradivari from the golden period are not even considered). In case the participating luthier masters his craft, his violin will be the expression of his personal taste.
On the other hand, the jury is also delivering judgments based on personal taste or based on fashion or on an arbitrary academic approach. (Sometimes, the winners are already known before any judgment…)
And as we teach our children: “There is no accounting for taste!” QED.
More proof? The instruments of French luthier Paul Kaul were highly rewarded in the first half of the 20th century. Today, they are pretty unmarketable. Are they bad?
No, but they constitute a very particular approach to violin making which is out of fashion nowadays.
Another proof ? The violins of Guiseppe Guarneri “del Gesù” have become the most expensive instruments in the world, getting even higher sales results than Stradivari’s.
Nevertheless, during his lifetime, and contrary to the latter, Guarneri doesn’t seem to have sold a single instrument to any distinguished violinist…