A Fine Violin is Put in the Hands of a Fine Violinist: Augustin Hadelich is loaned the 'Kiesewetter'

August 12, 2010, 9:24 AM ·

In an era when the finest violins are fetching millions of dollars, you might wonder if such objects ever reach the hands of violinists, who don't tend to be millionaires.

To that end, I have some good news: Violinist Augustin Hadelich has just been awarded the use of the "Kiesewetter" Stradivari of 1723, on loan from Clement and Karen Arrison of Buffalo, New York, through the The Stradivari Society, director Suzanne Fushi said.


Augustin in recital at Carnegie Hall in 2008 - photo by Erin Baiano


Augustin has been playing on the “ex-Gingold” Strad of 1683 since winning the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis in 2006. The winner of the competition is awarded the use of the instrument for four years, until the next competition, in which the instrument is awarded to the next winner. With the Indy Competition set to begin September 10, Augustin was running out of time.

“I'm really excited about, and grateful for, this loan,” Augustin wrote to me after receiving the “Kiesewetter.” “I'm still getting to know it, of course. It has a very big, beautiful sound, and many colors and nuances that I will have fun exploring over the next months. It was made 40 years after the ex-Gingold that I've been playing, and yet in some ways they feel similar when I play them.”

The “Kiesewetter” had been on loan for five years to violinist Philippe Quint, who will now be loaned the "Ruby" Stradivari of 1708 through an anonymous donor, Fushi said. The “Ruby” was previously loaned to such artists as Vadim Repin, Leila Josefowicz and Kyoko Takezawa.

“Of course I was sad to give the ex-Gingold back,” said Augustin, who returned the “Gingold” on Wednesday, “since I'd been through so much with that violin over the last 4 years.” Augustin has kept a busy schedule of recitals and concerts, most recently making the news when he stood in for violinist Nikolaj Znaider at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, where Hadelich played the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the New York Philharmonic.

Hadelich might play the Gingold one more time (unless he plays the new fiddle!) in recital at 8 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center in Indianapolis, during the 2010 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis. The competition takes place Sept. 10 through Sept. 26, and you will certainly get the chance to listen in, as the whole thing will be podcast, and I will be going to Indianapolis to write about it, Sept. 22 through Sept. 26. I'm looking forward to the chance to hear some of most promising young violinists of today, and also to the chance to meet modern violin makers and test new violins during the Spotlight on Today's Violin Makers Sept. 25 and 26, with luthiers such as Gregg Alf, Terry Borman, Joseph Curtin, Joseph Grubaugh & Sigrun Seifert, Feng Jiang, Francis Kuttner, Wendy and Peter Moes, Frank Ravatin, Raymond Schryer and William R. Scott.

I hope to meet some V.commies at the IVCI as well! In the mean time, congratulations to Augustin!



August 12, 2010 at 08:08 PM ·

I am so happy for him, and for us, who will get to listen to this new partnership! He is outstanding and certainly deserves this.

August 12, 2010 at 10:21 PM ·

Augustin Hadelich is outstanding and one of the most promising violinist in the circuit right now. Love his playing. love his sound, love him as a true musician.

August 13, 2010 at 09:55 AM ·

I am happy with that too! Augustin played here recently and he is such a nice player.


August 13, 2010 at 03:22 PM ·

Certainly good news. Glad to hear it. :)


Laurie, hope you have a good visit in Indy. Be prepared. It's been insanely hot and humid here.

August 14, 2010 at 04:58 PM ·

I was lucky enough to get a decent seat to hear Hadelich play Sibelius with the Reno Philharmonic this Sept 12!  There were only a few tickets left on the website last night  . .

August 15, 2010 at 06:43 AM ·

I have, ahem, a few questions, excuse my total lack of knowledge regarding this:

How does the loan procedure work? is it a formal contract for a set period of time, and there is no chance of changing that?

Is there a 'heirarchy' so to speak of more desirable to less desirable instruments?

Does the loanee get a chance to play before accepting the offer - what about if the instrument doesn't suit?  

Who is responsible for paying the insurance for the violin while it is on loan?

Does the bow get loaned as well, or do the players have a stock of their favourite bows, and just becasue of the quality of everything, one of their existing bows is always a good match?

Is the actual owner of the instrument ever revealed, or is always done by a broker with anonymity preserved? Does anyone know who owns this pool of instruments?

?  ??  ?

August 15, 2010 at 11:40 AM ·

Regarding the "loaner" violin:  They're on loan thru Bein & Fuschi, and the Strad Society out of Chicago....This particular Strad is loaned by Clem Arrison, who is a great man, amateur violinist himself  (our quartet played his wedding a few years back !) and has the wherewithall to own several quality instruments....Vengerov, Adele Anthony and others have played Clem's instruments on loan. I met Clem during a rehearsal of a community orchestra.  Seeing I was playing on a decent instrument, he approached and asked about its pedigree, we chatted and used to spend considerable time talking:  violinists and violins.  The violin owner works out some sort of deal with the player, and Clem would always mention that he'd heard his violin over the weekend....it might have been Rome, or Buenos Aires, but he went to the concert....Life is good.   You can easily get on the B & F mailing list and see what's for sale, and read some fascinating fiddle stuff from their literature.

August 17, 2010 at 06:01 PM ·

 What a great fiddle...I played on this violin for an afternoon 5 summers ago, under very fortuitous circumstances.  A very penetrating sound.  

Congrats Augustin!

August 17, 2010 at 08:18 PM ·

That's interesting, Peter. Sounds like philanthropy could be a great job if you can do it. It must be a great feeling to hear so many different voices emerge from these great instruments.

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