Stradivarius violin

15 Stories

Thief's Ex Clueless She Had Stolen Stradivarius for Years

Says she almost fainted when appraiser said they had to call the FBI

(Newser) - Philip Johnson was dying of pancreatic cancer when he brought his former wife, Thanh Tran, to the basement of his home in Venice, Calif. Under a tarp weighted down with bricks was a violin case with a combination lock. He gave the case to Tran and didn't say a... More »

How a Stolen Stradivarius Surfaced After 35 Years

Roman Totenberg was right to suspect Phillip Johnson: FBI

(Newser) - Violinist Roman Totenberg always suspected who stole his $250,000 1734 Stradivarius violin from his office in Cambridge, Mass., after a concert in 1980. Security cameras spotted violinist Phillip Johnson, then 27, lingering outside the room and Johnson's ex-girlfriend later said he had taken it. Without proof, Totenberg could... More »

One of World's Priciest Violins Was Hidden in Heiress's Closet

Bidding has begun for Stradivarius owned by Huguette Clark

(Newser) - Funny what turns up in the closet of reclusive, deceased heiress: In this case, one of the world's most expensive musical instruments. Christie's has begun accepting sealed bids for a 1731 Stradivarius violin that had been in a closet of Huguette Clark for about 25 years, reports NBC... More »

Stradivarius No Match for New Violins, Test Finds

Soloists assess renowned instruments with surprising results

(Newser) - Musicians have long been captivated by the instruments of the Stradivari family; centuries after they were built, they've become the stuff of legend. Yet new blind tests seem to shatter the notion that a Stradivarius is actually superior to today's violins. In fact, the tests found expert violinists... More »

Police Find Stolen 300-Year-Old Stradivarius

Three arrested in connection with case

(Newser) - Ah, the sweet sound of justice. Police have arrested three people in connection with the armed theft of a 300-year-old Stradivarius violin, and recovered the instrument, which is valued at a hefty $5 million. Police consulted Taser International about the stun gun used in the robbery, and traced it to... More »

Armed Robber Snatches 300-Year-Old Stradivarius

Stun gun was used on Milwaukee concertmaster

(Newser) - One of the most valuable instruments in the world was stolen Monday by a robber who used a stun gun on the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's concertmaster in a parking lot before making off his with his priceless Stradivarius violin. "The artistic heritage of Milwaukee was assaulted and robbed... More »

Stradivarius Turned In to Lost and Found

Musician forgot it on a Swiss train

(Newser) - A Stradivarius violin likely worth millions of dollars was turned in to a Swiss lost and found. The owner had loaned it to a musician friend who left it behind on a train in Bern. Train staff searched in vain for it, then spotted another passenger on surveillance cameras walking... More »

Stradivarius' Powers Just a Musical Myth

Researchers show that even pro musicians can't tell the difference

(Newser) - They’re famed far and wide as the finest violins on the planet (one recently sold for $16 million) , but do Stradivarius violins actually sound better? A study suggests they don’t, NPR reports. Researchers assembled a group of six violins—two Stradivariuses, a Guarneri, and three modern violins—and... More »

Stradivarius Violin Sells for $16M

Violin built in 1721 has hardly been played

(Newser) - A Japanese music foundation has sold a renowned Stradivarius violin for $16 million at a London auction to raise money for tsunami disaster relief. Proceeds from selling the nearly 300-year-old violin known as the Lady Blunt will go to relief projects in northern Japan, the nonprofit Nippon Foundation said today.... More »

$1.9M Stradivarius Stolen at Sandwich Shop

Two pricey bows were also in the case

(Newser) - A quick pit stop at a London sandwich shop turned into disaster for a musician when her $1.9 million antique Stradivarius violin was stolen last Monday, Reuters reports. Also in her case were two rare and expensive bows valued at $98,000 and $8,000, respectively. The 314-year-old violin... More »

'Beckham of Classical Music' Is Hit on Charts, With Ladies

David Garrett loves Metallica, sets world records

(Newser) - He covers Michael Jackson songs, and considers Mozart and Metallica equally influential—David Garrett is not your average classically trained violinist, but perhaps that’s why his self-titled debut has sat atop the classical crossover charts for three weeks. The German-born 28-year-old—who modeled on the side during his time... More »

The Secret of the Strad's Superiority

Scientist find mellow tone is in the wood

(Newser) - Stradivarius violins—300 years old and valued at least $3 million each—are universally recognized as producing the richest sounds. Now, the Daily Telegraph reports, scientists believe they know why. X-rays of several old and new instruments show the wood used by 17th-century violin makers has a more uniform density... More »

Violinist to Serenade Taxi Driver

Concert at Newark airport for cabbie who returned $4M Strad

(Newser) - When violin virtuoso Philippe Quint left a 1723 Antonio Stradivari “Ex-Kiesewetter” in a New Jersey taxi two weeks ago, he was distraught: The $4 million instrument was not only irreplaceable, it was on loan. But the cab driver returned the violin next morning, and today, in gratitude, the Grammy-nominated... More »

Sour Note: Violinist Busts Strad

British virtuoso Garrett falls on priceless instrument

(Newser) - British violin virtuoso David Garrett revealed this week he tripped and fell onto his Stradivarius at the end of a December concert, seriously damaging the priceless 290-year-old instrument. The 26-year-old former child prodigy and male model is left with a violin that will take months and more than $100,000... More »

Stradivarius Market Hits High Note

Rush for 300-year-old violins sparks intrigue, drives price to millions

(Newser) - The price of violins by 18th century Italian master Antonio Stradivari has shot through the roof in recent decades, with the instruments now worth 500 times their weight in gold, reports Der Spiegel. Three powerful dealers control a shadowy worldwide market rife with intrigue where frenzied collectors seek out the... More »

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