Monday, February 23, 2015


Faced with ever-escalating costs for the classic instruments of Stradivarius, Guarneri, Amati and other Italian makers of the 17th and 18th centuries, now routinely fetching seven- or even eight-figure prices, string musicians often strike deals for extended loans or leases of the instruments with the collectors, investors or institutions that own them.

A useful arrangement – while it lasts.

Since 2002, violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann has played the Lady Inchiquin Stradivarius, an instrument once owned by Fritz Kreisler, on a lease with a German bank. Then the bank shut down. The company clearing up its affairs is putting the Strad up for sale, but at a price Zimmermann can’t or won’t pay.

Just before engagements with the New York Philharmonic, the violinist has returned the Strad, Monica Houston-Waesch and Jennifer Smith report in The Wall Street Journal:

Meanwhile, Alexander Pavlovsky, first violinist of the Jerusalem Quartet (which performed last week at the University of Virginia), is “desperately looking for a new instrument,” according to an appeal sent out by the group. The Pressenda violin that Pavlovsky had been playing for 10 years has been taken back by its owner and will be sold.