The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music is selling five fine violins, including the 1750 Giovanni Battista Guadagnini violin that was loaned to Joshua Bell early in his career.
"I officially started my career in 1982 at the age of 14, while continuing my studies at Indiana University under the great Josef Gingold," Bell said. "I was unable to afford a great violin at that time, but thankfully Indiana University was in possession of this wonderful Guadagnini violin, and kindly lent it to me during this crucial period in my musical life, until I was finally able to purchase an instrument of my own. I played dozens of concerts on this fine violin and have fond memories of its glorious tone."
The violins will be sold at auction on May 16 in New York, through Tarisio Fine Instruments and Bows. The other violins being sold by the Jacobs School include a c. 1680 Francesco Rugeri; a c. 1770 Gennaro Gagliano; a 1810 François Louis Pique; and a c. 1900 Annibale Fagnola.
When it comes to the Guadagnini, Bell was just one violinist who used the violin, which was given to IU in 1963 by an anonymous donor and was loaned to deserving students.
Proceeds from the sales will benefit the Jacobs School of Music’s students and faculty -- though it looks like my alma mater will be short five fine violins!
Having the chance to play on a fine violin is a rare and valuable opportunity. When an institution has an asset such as a fine Guadagnini violin, that institution is in a position to help its students become acquainted with the unique capabilities of such an instrument. The institution can even help launch a career, as Indiana did in loaning the violin to Joshua Bell.
Let's hope the new owners put the these fiddles to good use.
BELOW: The very young Joshua Bell plays the last movement of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto on the Guadagnini violin loaned to him at the time by Indiana University. From a 1982 master class with Josef Gingold.
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