After two years of hard work in approving the loan, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (MCO) has been presented with the musical instrument.
Made by the legendary Antonio Stradivari in 1723, the violin is now owned by an anonymous group of heirs, who have been negotiating the transfer with the MCO Foundation.
Gregory Ahss, an Israeli violinist, will play the Stradivarius during his period as concertmaster of the MCO and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra.
Indeed, it was at the Lucerne Festival, where the MCO is in residence, in which the violin was presented on the opening day to its new soloist.
The MCO Foundation works to support the advancement of young talent through scholarships and contemporary music by commissioning new work. It also funds chamber music concerts in new and unusual formats such as in clubs.
For most violinists, playing a Stradivarius is a dream come true, but the price tag is often a hefty one.
Last June, one of the most well-preserved Stradivarius violins, owned by the Nippon Music Foundation, was sold at auction for a record-breaking £9.8 million.
The Lady Blunt, named after Lord Byron’s granddaughter Anne, was made by the Italian violin-maker in 1721 and the sale reached over four times the previous auction record for a Stradivari violin.
Experts estimate that there are around 600 Stradivarius violins that remain in existence, but some of them could be lost.
It was reported last week that a collection of rare violins have disappeared after the world’s biggest violin dealer filed for bankruptcy and was arrested for fraud.
Dietmar Machold’s Austrian castle is home to hundreds of musical instruments and 17 have vanished, five of which are Stradivarius and four are Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu.
Yet to be uncovered, the collection is thought to be worth around £50 million.
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