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$950K Violin Collection Ruined. 3 Years Later, Ex-Wife Arrested

The destroyed collection included 54 violins and 70 bows

(Newser) - The world's tiniest violin might not be enough to express one man's loss, allegedly at the hands of his ex-wife. The Japan Times reports 34-year-old Midori Kawamiya was arrested Tuesday, accused of destroying her ex-husband's $950,000 violin collection in 2014 as the two were divorcing. Authorities... More »

It Was a Symbol of Venezuelan Unrest. Now It, Too, Is Broken

Wuilly Arteaga says National Guard damaged his violin

(Newser) - Wuilly Arteaga has played his violin through weeks of anti-government protests in Venezuela, his songs enduring even as he was forced to dodge tear gas canisters hurled in his direction. But on Wednesday, the music was silenced. Arteaga—often seen playing Venezuela's national anthem on the front lines—says... More »

Pilot Tells Woman She Can't Carry on Her $20M Violin

The Joseph Guarneri 'del Gesu' violin from 1742 is on loan to Rachel Barton Pine

(Newser) - A renowned Chicago musician is going public with her airline spat over a piece of carry-on luggage—because that piece of luggage happens to be a 1742 violin insured for almost $20 million. Rachel Barton Pine says an American Airlines captain refused to let her bring the Joseph Guarneri "... 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 »

The Violin's Shape Was an Accident

Researchers reveal how it 'evolved'

(Newser) - The shape of today's violin wasn't the result of some genius's design specifications; instead, it developed over time, likely improving by chance, researchers say. As the Christian Science Monitor reports, an instrument's sound depends heavily on the way air flows through it: The more air that... More »

Woman Plays Violin During Her Brain Surgery

Naomi Elishuv serenaded doctors with Mozart as they resolved tremor problem

(Newser) - Naomi Elishuv used to be a world-class violinist who played with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, but uncontrollable shaking caused by a neurological disorder called essential tremor forced her to stop playing 20 years ago, the Telegraph reports. She only recently learned of deep brain stimulation, the surgery that 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 »

Barred From Plane, Violinist Plays Bach on Tarmac

Zach De Pue gets revenge in perfect fashion

(Newser) - When US Airways wouldn't let a classically trained violinist bring his violin aboard a plane, he responded in appropriate fashion: He played Bach on the tarmac in protest. More precisely, Zach de Pue of the trio Times for Three played Bach's Prelude from the Sonata in E Major... 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 »

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 »

Titanic Violin Fetches 3 Times More Than Expected

Goes for nearly $1.5M at auction

(Newser) - A violin believed to have belonged to the bandleader on the Titanic, who famously went down with the ship, was already expected to fetch a record price at auction: almost $500,000 , which would have made it the most expensive piece of Titanic memorabilia ever sold. Well, it hit that... More »

For Sale: Bandleader's Violin ... That Went Down With Titanic

Expected to fetch almost half a million

(Newser) - If you have a good chunk of change to spare, you may be able to snatch up a piece of Titanic history tomorrow—perhaps even play a tune on it. A water-damaged violin believed to have belonged to the historic ship's bandleader will hit the auction block, and it... More »

Bolshoi Violinist Dies After Fall Into Orchestra Pit

More rough news for Russia's renowned theater

(Newser) - More bad news for the scandal-tinged Bolshoi Theater : A violinist who had been a part of its orchestra for four decades died yesterday after tumbling into the orchestra pit the previous day. The circumstances behind Viktor Sedov's fall have not been revealed, reports the BBC , which adds that a... More »

Experts Confirm Violin Played on Deck of Titanic

Bandmaster was performing 'Nearer, My God, to Thee'

(Newser) - A salt-stained violin that sank with the Titanic a century ago may soon come up for auction, the New York Post reports. Experts have authenticated the instrument, and say that bandmaster Wallace Hartley played it in the ship's final moments as he led his eight-member group in performing "... More »

Spider Silk Spun Into Violin Strings

Up to 5,000 silk threads needed for each string

(Newser) - A Japanese researcher who specializes in spider silk has used 300 plucky golden orb web spiders to weave silk threads he could turn into violin strings, reports the BBC . Shigeyoshi Osaki used up to 5,000 silk threads to produce each string, twisting them together tightly in a "unique... 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 »

World's Most Expensive Instrument on Sale for $18M

It's a 269-year-old Vieuxtemps Guarneri del Jesu violin

(Newser) - The most expensive musical instrument in the world is for sale in Chicago. No it's not a Strad, but rather a 269-year-old Vieuxtemps Guarneri del Jesu violin. Among the oldest extant musical instruments, the violin awaits the collector who has a spare $18 million lying around. The asking price is... 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 »

Shoulder Lost to Cancer Doesn't Stop Violinist

Teen cancer survivor Joe Ginem plays on after reconstructive surgery

(Newser) - For one Florida teenager, playing the violin was everything—until a rare bone cancer ravaged his arm to the point where Joe Ginem couldn’t lift a pencil. After undergoing chemo, his shoulder needed to be reconstructed, and the surgeon told him he could do so in a way that... More »

GPS Rescues $600K Violin Left in NYC Cab

Technology 'cut the driver out of the picture,' says taxi boss

(Newser) - GPS technology reunited a violinist with the $600,000 instrument he left in a New York cab yesterday, the Times reports. After Korean musician Hanh-Bin left a vehicle without his 18th-century instrument, the Taxi and Limousine Commission was able to find it in less than an hour, using the cab’... More »

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