MUSICIANS PRICED OUT: Old rare violins have
escalated in price so as to be all but unaffordable for musicians.
"With even the biggest private collectors, let alone performers,
finding it hard to keep up, the great Italian fiddles seem destined
for public or institutional ownership, like the great Italian
paintings before them." The New York Times 02/11/01 (one-time registration required for access)
BETTER NOT DROP IT: Sixteen investors have
joined forces to purchase violinist Robert McDuffie the instrument
of his dreams: a 1735 $3.5 million Guarneri del Gesù violin known
as the Ladenburg (whose past players include Paganini). The partners
are leasing the instrument to McDuffie for 25 years, after which
time it will be sold for an expected profit. "The price of
rare violins makes it virtually impossible for individuals to
afford them. In Europe, the Middle East, and Japan, governments
or businesses purchase these instruments and lend them for little
or no fee." New York Times 2/06/01 (one-time registration required for access)
PRICED OUT: Young string players are facing
an instrument crisis. "In the past 10 years, prices of violins
have more than doubled. My generation faces the prospect of never
owning a violin without the help of a patron."
Philadelphia Inquirer 03/15/01
MAASTRICHT'S OLD MASTERS SHRINKING: The number
of Old Master paintings for sale has been dwindling. As a consequence,
"although it is known mainly as an Old Masters fair, Maastricht has expanded its other categories
in recent times and this year includes some stunning Impressionist
and 20th-century pictures." The Telegraph (London) 03/12/01
WOODEN WONDER: When an instrument upstages
the performer playing it. San Francisco Chronicle 10/29/99
PAGANINI'S FAVORITE VIOLIN - a Guarneri
called "the Cannon" - is brought out only for special
occasions. This week it got only its second-ever concert in America.
San Francisco Examiner 10/28/99
MA LEFT HIS $2.5 MILLION CELLO in a New York City cab
last weekend. But he had his receipt for the ride and was able
to track down the cabbie and get it back. (Reuters) MSNBC 10/18/99
RECORD PRICE FOR A VIOLIN: Reports that Yehudi
Menuhin's Guarneri sold at a Zurich auction this week for $3 million.
GOVERNMENT ISSUE: Singapore government buys
$600,000 Guadignini violin to promote young Singaporean violinists.
Violin is loaned for three years to those chosen, with a possible
three-year renewal. Singapore Straits Times 01/13/00
FIRST PRIZE - A STRADIVARIUS: The Canada Council
selects a crop of young musicians to whom it will lend valuable
musical instruments, including a couple of Strads.
PRICE FIDDLING: The trade in string instruments
is as much an art as it is commercial transaction. When
Gerald Segelman died in 1992 at the age of 93, he left one of
the world's great collections of rare stringed instruments, worth
between $15 million to $34 million. Eight years later, Segelman's
estate claims in a lawsuit that a handful of the world's top violin
dealers colluded to plunder the collection, robbing the estate
of millions that had been willed to charity. Minneapolis Star-Tribune 02/20/00
MODERN STRADIVARIUS? A biochemist claims he's discovered
exactly why violins made in Stradivari's day are so magnificent.
And he's begun turning out his own instruments, which have been
"bought for as much as $15,000 apiece and reviewed favorably
by members of the Cleveland Quartet, Chicago Symphony, and New
York Philharmonic. Yehudi Menuhin played one, on loan for 15 years."
So why aren't musicians flocking to Joseph Nagyvary's workshop?
Discover Magazine 06/00
THE "CONCEPT CAR" PIANO: "At
$250,000 (or £170,000), Yamaha's Disklavier Pro 2000 is not merely
the most stylistically radical and technologically advanced piano
in the world, it is easily the most expensive, too." Yamaha
makes it to celebrate 100 years in the biz. The Sunday Times 07/30/00
DAMAGED INSTRUMENTS: The Dallas Symphony got
a rude surprise when they got off their plane for a European tour.
Several of the orchestra's instruments had been damaged in the
cargo hold of the plane. "The basses had literally come unglued,
apparently while stored in the un-air-conditioned cargo hold of
an American Airlines Boeing 767 jet during a 3½ hour on-the-ground
delay Wednesday night at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport."
Dallas Morning News 09/03/00
BOW-MAKERS STRUNG OUT: Violin bow makers are
screaming. Since 1800, virtually all violin bows have been made
of pernambuco wood from north-east Brazil. "This wood – nothing
else, it seems, will do." But there is a proposed ban on
the export and use of the wood. "This ban will kill the business.
Not only will people be forbidden to make new pernambuco bows:
it will also be illegal to tour with them."The Independent 10/29/00
FAKE STRAD? The conservator of musical instruments
at the Metropolitan Museum has suggested that the world's most
celebrated Stradivarius violin is a fake. "The so-called
Messiah, or Le Messie, is housed in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford
University and estimated to be worth some $20 million. By implication
Pollens has cast doubt on the very system of authentication and
valuation that currently prevails in the market, a market worth
$50 million per year worldwide by some estimates." Forbes 01/10/01
PRICE FOR A VIOLIN: Reports that Yehudi Menuhin's Guarneri
sold at a Zurich auction this week for $3 million. CBC