Gen Sato was born in Tokyo and raised in a musical family in Shizuoka, Japan. His mother is a vocal and piano teacher and his father is violin maker Masato Sato. He moved to the United States to attend the Chicago School of Violin Making (CSVM) in 1999 and graduated in 2002. Although it was his father’s suggestion to study violin making, he fell in love with the history and beauty of violins. He worked as an assistant to the master of the school, Tschu-Ho Lee, in his senior year.
After graduating from CSVM, he started work in a Chicago shop under the guidance of Koo-Young Chung where he learned the basics of instrument set up and became passionate about restoration.
To pursue more extensive training, he moved in 2005 to Los Angeles, California, to work at the esteemed shop of Hans Weisshaar. Under the guidance of Georg Ettinger and Margaret Shipman, he learned restoration in depth. He quickly rose to the position of workshop manager and senior restorer at Weisshaar. In that role, he trained interns and staff and managed quality control while performing significant restorations on historically important makers. Also while at Weisshaar he helped teach a restoration course in Mittenwald, Germany.
After spending ten years at Weisshaar, in 2015 Gen Sato’s passion for restoration brought him to Boston and Reuning & Son Violins where he is thrilled to work on some of the best historical string instruments extant and to restore them to their makers’ vision.
Gen Sato lives in a suburb of Boston with his wife and daughter. He enjoys bicycling in his spare time.