Claire founded Claire Givens Violins, Inc. in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1977. Drawing on her knowledge of music, musicians and fine stringed instruments,Claire Givens focused on building a business to serve the special needs of string players by offering the finest instruments, bows, information and restoration services. Since its founding, Givens Violins has experienced tremendous growth and success in all areas.
After her marriage to Andrew Dipper in 1990, Dipper joined Givens Violins as Vice President. Andrew Dipper, a highly respected maker and early instrument restorer brought Dipper Restorations from Taynton, Oxfordshire, England.
Ms. Givens oversaw the research and publishing of Violin and Bow Makers of Minnesota, a history of the 160 makers who worked in Minnesota beginning in the late 19th century. In 1988, she hosted the Violin Society of America International Violinmaking Competition. In 2005 she organized a conference for the National Music Museum named The Secrets, Lives and Violins of the Great Cremona Makers. She has written “In Focus” articles in The Strad magazine featuring a fine viola made by Minneapolis maker Mathias Dahl (June 2001), and a violin made by Giocoma Zanoli, Verona c. 1749 (October, 2000). In October 2010, Givens co-wrote with Andrew Dipper a Strad article on the King Henry IV Amati Bros.
Ms. Givens is a member of the Violin Society of America (VSA) having served as a Director from 2010 to 2014, the American Musical Instrument Society (AMIS), the American String Teachers Association (ASTA), and NAMM. She served on the board of the Minnesota String Task Force and MN ASTA from 1987 to 1999. She has been a musical instrument appraiser for the Antiques Roadshow since 1999 and has appeared on numerous shows. Currently, she serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees for The National Music Museum and the Board of Advisors for the Yale University Musical Instrument Collection. She is an accredited member of the American Appraisers Association.