Visiting David Fulton, collector of Strads, del Gesùs and more. border=0 align=

Visiting David Fulton, collector of Strads, del Gesùs and more.

May 22, 2017, 7:38 PM · There is a man in Seattle who collects violins...

I first heard of David Fulton a while back, when I first interviewed James Ehnes. At the time, Ehnes had just come out with an album called Homage, which celebrated 12 of the finest violins and violas ever made by Stradivari, del Gesu, Guarneri, Bertolotti and Guadagnini.

Who owned these violins? The answer was David Fulton, an amateur violinist and founder of Fox Software, which was purchased in the early 1990s by Microsoft. Now living in Seattle, he had a impressive instrument collection -- some 22 instruments at that time -- that he had been building ever since he caught the bug in the early 1980's.

It would seem that Fulton caught that bug from Dr. William Sloan, who is a friend of mine, and a friend to many violinists and violin makers across the globe. Sloan is the Los Angeles-based urologist who owns the 1714 "Leonora Jackson" Stradivari and a 1742 Guarneri Del Gesu. Sloan has also made several violins himself, and he throws an annual Handel Messiah reading party that I've attended and written about many times here on

In Fulton's words, Sloan is a "certifiable fiddle nut." Knowing Dr. Sloan, I can attest to that. The two met in college, at the University of Chicago, where both played in the University Symphony. Fulton was the concertmaster, but neither of them was a music major. They actually became good friends some 20 years later, when they found themselves living in Toledo, Ohio and recognized each other while attending an opera performance. At that time, Sloan was contemplating his first Strad purchase from Bein and Fushi of Chicago, and Fulton went along for the ride, literally. Soon later, Fulton bought a 1698 Pietro Guarneri of Mantua violin for more than the price of his home, and he has been collecting ever since.

I met Fulton and his wife, Amy, in October, after a recital at Dr. Sloan's house. After a nice conversation, Fulton said, "If you are ever in Seattle, come by and see my violins." I wasn't sure if he was serious. After all, I'm not exactly James Ehnes or Joshua Bell or the late Isaac Stern - all personal friends of Fulton's. Nonetheless, I decided that if I ever were in Seattle, a place I'd only visited once, I would certainly make an effort to come see the Fultons and those fiddles -- and make a report for everyone!

As fate would have it, just a few months later my son announced that he wanted to attend a youth film festival in Seattle called NFFTY, which would be screening two of his films. Robert and I decided to go along -- and to factor in an extra day to see the sights.

For me, seeing the sights meant: 1. good coffee and 2. Fulton's fiddles. Keep reading...

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Win Ysaye's violin transcription of Chopin's gorgeous Ballade No. 1 op. 23!

Win Ysaye's violin transcription of Chopin's gorgeous Ballade No. 1 op. 23!
This week we are giving away four copies of Ysaye's transcription of one of the most beloved pieces for piano by Chopin, revised by Jacob Niederhoffer. Enter here to win: (Ad)

Types of Stand Partners border=0 align=

Types of Stand Partners

May 22, 2017, 10:25 AM ·

  1. The Pro. How did I even end up sitting next to this prodigy?
  2. The Show-Off. Please stop playing the Sibelius violin concerto in d minor. I get it. Everyone gets it.
  3. The Whisperer. This is way more interesting than listening to the violas attempting to play louder!
  4. The Snacker. Half of you wishes he would stop crunching, half of you wants him to share.
  5. The Slacker. She never has a pencil. She already lost her music. You have to take on the role of the Responsible One (see number 21), otherwise you’ll both be dead. You’re kinda surprised that she remembered the concert was today. Oh look, she’s wearing black jeans instead of dress pants. “Yeah we sit in the back no sweat man no one will notice.”
  6. The Crush. I actually practiced that tough passage.
  7. The Jazz Musician. Probably knows what secondary dominants are and can sing and identify all the modes. I’m 5% annoyed and 95% secretly jealous of your mad skills.
  8. The Best Friend. You write messages to each other on the back of the music so the conductor won’t know you’re chatting.
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Comments (19)

The Week in Reviews, Op. 182: Kyung Wha Chung, Leonidas Kavakos, Gil Shaham border=0 align=

The Week in Reviews, Op. 182: Kyung Wha Chung, Leonidas Kavakos, Gil Shaham

May 22, 2017, 9:24 AM · In an effort to promote the coverage of live violin performance, each week presents links to reviews of notable concerts and recitals around the world.

Kyung Wha Chung performed the complete Bach Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin at Carnegie Hall.

Leonidas Kavakos performed the Brahms with the New York Philharmonic.

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