Joe graduated in 1987 from the North Bennet Street School in Boston, where he studied violin making and restoration under Ray Melanson. Upon moving to New York he began working as a repair person, first at New York Violin Shop where he worked with bowmaker Sue Lipkins, and later alongside Kerry Keane at Steve McGhee's shop. In 1994 he established his own shop on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and in 2007 moved the shop to the Morningside Heights neighborhood. Joe grew up playing the cello and after obtaining a degree in geology from Lehigh University took his cello to be repaired and was inspired to change direction and become a violinmaker himself. Joe's shop was the subject of a lovely 2001 story in the New York Times.
Nancy has been managing the office end of the shop for several years. Immediately prior to joining her husband in the business she had been working as a librarian at Columbia University and for many years before that she worked in the music business, having held management positions with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and later the New York Philharmonic.