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Stolen Strad Reborn After Nearly 40 Years

Violinist Nathan Meltzer revives prize instrument in Cambridge, Mass.
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 16, 2019 4:35 PM CST
In this photo provided by Chris Lee, Juilliard student Nathan Meltzer, recipient of the "Ames, Totenberg" Stradivari of 1734, plays the instrument in New York on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018.   (Chris Lee via AP)

(Newser) – A Stradivarius violin stolen four decades ago from the virtuoso Roman Totenberg and returned to his family by a federal prosecutor came alive again—at the crime scene, the AP reports. Nineteen-year-old star violinist Nathan Meltzer revived the prize instrument of the late Polish-born musician on Friday at a public concert in Cambridge, Mass. He played the same music as Totenberg did minutes before his Stradivarius disappeared one night in 1980. The thief was a former student, and the violin was eventually found in a California attic.

Recovered by the FBI, it was returned to Totenberg’s daughters four years ago by the US Attorney in Manhattan. Nina, Jill, and Amy Totenberg were at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge for Friday’s concert. The instrument is now on loan to the teenage soloist. (In related news, an airport was locked down after a musician was mistaken for something else.)


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