violinist trips, destroys Strad

February 13, 2008 at 07:10 AM · Here's the story about David Garrett, 26, who fell at the end of a concert at the Barbican and landed on his violin.

Replies (98)

February 13, 2008 at 07:54 AM · Have a nice trip, see ya next fall. Best argument for keeping a couple behind glass.

February 13, 2008 at 08:00 AM · accidents happen. I wouldn't be surprised if it's happened before with other owners of strads and guaneris.

February 13, 2008 at 07:55 AM · What a nightmare.

Interesting that the damage was done when the Srad was actually IN the case and not just while he was coming on or off stage. I would REALLY like to know what brand of violin case he was using. He says that he fell on top of the case which seems to imply that it imploded on the violin... Whatever happened, it obviously didn't provide the protection you'd have expected in that situation. Hope his insurance was up to date.

However, at least the lad is lucky to have friends in high places. Nice of Beare to produce another Strad "just like that" for him.

February 13, 2008 at 08:13 AM · The replacement came with three goons watching his every move :)

February 13, 2008 at 09:34 AM · I had a sinking feeling deep down in my stomach after reading the article.

I must be suffering from prune deficiency...

February 13, 2008 at 09:52 AM · I was wondering about the case, too. In my mind, I was picturing a Strad in an old wooden box, like the kind you find up in an attic somewhere. Certainly there are more protective cases that could have spared it some damage.

February 13, 2008 at 02:41 PM · Yeah, let's hope he didn't have the Strad housed in one of the violin cases we've all been touting over the last few months.

Seriously, I wonder what kind of case it was that provided so little protection. Yikes.

February 13, 2008 at 02:55 PM · So terrible. I found myself starting to cry while I was reading the article. Especially when they quoted him saying that it was like losing a friend. I am such a sap...

I can only imagine how I would feel if I smashed my violin, and it is not nearly a strad!

February 13, 2008 at 03:10 PM · Can we presume it was fully insured?

February 13, 2008 at 03:17 PM · There is a lesson in this for all of us.

February 13, 2008 at 05:25 PM · Ouch...frightening reading that, particularly when one is about to be on the road for two months...


February 13, 2008 at 04:30 PM · the lesson is?

Get the best case you can afford. I would imagine that a violin like that should have a real good case to protect it. But maybe that's not the ''case''.

Maybe the three goons have him with strings attached like a puppet so he won't fall anymore.

February 13, 2008 at 04:33 PM · It's a pity, the San Lorenzo is quite a famous Stradivari... I find strange that the instrument was damaged inside it's case, cases are so good today that will resist impacts. I really would like to know the detailed extension of the "destruction".

February 13, 2008 at 04:51 PM · Has anyone heard of this violinist?

February 13, 2008 at 04:51 PM · I was bored this afternoon so did a little research and came up with this picture from Mr Garrett's fan website - it shows the San Lorenzo in a case and I am SURE I have seen this brand around when I was looking for my newest case (I ended up with a Musafia Aeternum which is heavy but built like a tank,) but can't place the name, but it doesn't look like the sturdiest case you'd imagine. Any ideas from case experts: (photo is halfway down the page)

February 13, 2008 at 04:54 PM · really sad story.

i have seen an elephant standing on a pool cover ad.

time to use that for a violin case!

February 13, 2008 at 05:01 PM · He should have had a Musafia...

February 13, 2008 at 05:05 PM · Terribly distressing story. But it raises an interesting question: If you in one of those extreme situations where you had to choose between saving a Strad and saving someone's life, which would be more important?

February 13, 2008 at 05:07 PM · you can put a price on a strad,,,

but if a presidential candidate has to choose between saving a cheap ebay violin and his or her opponent, i think i know what will be the choice!

February 13, 2008 at 05:11 PM · I noted from his website that he has a Guadagnini. Might he be feeling more embarrassment than real pain at this point?

February 13, 2008 at 05:27 PM · THIS page has a picture of LeRoy and Dorothy Weber standing on one of their cases.

No mention of whether there is a Strad inside. ;)

February 13, 2008 at 05:50 PM · Something that is "destroyed" is "destroyed" and lost forever, beyound repair, but the article mentions that the instrument will be restored...

If some cracks representes "destruction" so perhaps 80% or Cremonese violins are "destroyed". We see the outside and think "it's in mint condition", but if we could see inside the soundbox...

I see such news with a pinch of salt... PR?

February 13, 2008 at 05:53 PM · From Sander Marcus:

"Terribly distressing story. But it raises an interesting question: If you in one of those extreme situations where you had to choose between saving a Strad and saving someone's life, which would be more important? "

I have a friend who has an enormously valuable 290-something-year-old cello. He says "It's not like it's a person... I mean, after all, you can replace a person." I'm pretty sure he says it tongue in cheek, but I wouldn't want to test it. :-p

February 13, 2008 at 06:03 PM · OK, we all know what the answer would be if we had to chose between saving a person and saving a Strad. It's a no-brainer: the Strad would win. Let's raise the stakes. Which would win if you had to chose--your Strad or your dog?

February 13, 2008 at 06:11 PM · ops, that is a tough one,,,

ok, lets lower the stake,,,how about between you and a strad? any real artist out there?

February 13, 2008 at 06:29 PM · "I was all packed up and ready to go when I slipped," Garrett told the Evening Standard. "People said it was as if I'd trodden on a banana skin. I fell down a flight of steps and on to the case. When I opened it, the violin was in pieces. I couldn't speak and I couldn't get up. I didn't even know if I was hurt – I didn't care. I've had that violin for eight years. It was like losing a friend."

He landed ON the case? I think anyone who makes the violin that big a part of their lives guards it to almost a subconscious level. I mean, one would try to land to the side, on ones arms etc.

I remember there being an advert for a violin case in the Strad years ago where the guy drove off and the case was left on the top of the car. He ran back and found the instrument was undamaged.

Now, who is dumber, the guy who fell ON the instrument, or the people who lend him another expensive instrument?

February 13, 2008 at 06:56 PM · You don't know the circumstances, and it isn't always possible to manage to acrobatically save your violin.

February 13, 2008 at 06:50 PM · Just 10 days ago, I was browsing around Amoeba Records, and came across David Garrett's DG recording of the 'Spring' Sonata in the clearance section. I asked my violin buddy "Who is THIS?", and now I know the answer is "The guy that totaled his Strad". I didn't buy the CD though.

Anybody else scroll through the fan site? He seems to have a very talented hair stylist...

February 13, 2008 at 06:59 PM · "He landed ON the case? I think anyone who makes the violin that big a part of their lives guards it to almost a subconscious level. I mean, one would try to land to the side, on ones arms etc."

Okay guy, take your violin in your case, fall down a flight of stairs and tell me how you and your instrument turn out. Let me know if your amazing subconscious helped to save your violin.

Really, don't be ridiculous.

February 13, 2008 at 08:25 PM · you're not alone...

February 13, 2008 at 08:39 PM · Hi,

The story is disturbing - poor Mr. Garrett! But, accidents happen to everyone, I guess.

As for the one of the violin on the roof of the car, it is a true story. It was a Gagliano, not a Strad. And the case was the Amercian Case Company's Continental case (the old model) that SHAR used to carry. I forget the name of the guy - someone once mentioned it to me.

As for the rest, I won't touch that with a ten-foot pole.


February 13, 2008 at 08:45 PM · As long as it avoided a sound post crack in the back it should be ok. The restorers in London can work miracles these days.

PS: It's not very nice to laugh at others peoples misfortune. Poor guy.

February 13, 2008 at 08:51 PM ·'s not nice - at all - to laugh at someone else's misfortune, particularly considering the fact that we could all slip and fall. I did once - luckily for me the only thing that broke were the pegs (I tripped down stage stairs after a rehearsal when I was in sixth grade).

February 13, 2008 at 09:14 PM · People who walk around carrying priceless instruments should look into ballet and tai-chi to increase their strength and balance.

... like soccer and football players do!

February 13, 2008 at 10:29 PM · The leader of the former Lindsay Quartet, Peter ... the name escapes me ... came a cropper when he tripped on the stairs and snapped the neck of his Strad, I believe.

February 14, 2008 at 12:27 AM · It's a shocking story, but I wonder if the reporter exaggerated the damage to the instrument. It might look shattered, but is it permanently damaged? The writer makes it seem as if this young man is an internationally famous celebrity...well, I follow the violin world somewhat closely and I've never heard of him. So maybe other aspects of the story are sensationalized. I feel bad for him, though, and hope the violin can be repaired. It would be interesting to know which case he was using.

I know a young man who sat on a chair holding his Vuillaume and the chair collapsed (who could be prepared for such a thing?) and the violin shattered. the luthier who rebuilt it, who also repaired my daughter's violin when she dropped it (see other thread about losing our instrument insurance) rebuilt the Vuillaume and I've been told by two different sources (secondhand knowledge, though) that the instrument sounded even better after it was repaired, the sound was "opened up." I don't know about loss of valuation. My daughter's instrument, no Vuillaume or Strad, was repaired and did not suffer any loss of quality or valuation. She was lucky.

February 14, 2008 at 12:48 AM · Maybe someone can fill in the rest of this story -- the facts are too vague to rememeber exactly.

I remember reading in a violin book about a famous violinist who, while visiting California, lost his Strad in the tide of Pacific Ocean. The case washed up a couple days later -- and it was a disaster. The violin had been soaked in sea water. It was rushed to a famous violin repair expert in California and he was able to completely take it apart and restore it to the old splendor.

February 14, 2008 at 01:03 AM · That was the "Red Diamond" Strad.

It was restored by Hans Weisshaar. Michael Weisshaar (his son, young at the time) remembers an extended period of time when he didn't see much of Dad, after that fiddle came into the shop in pieces.

February 14, 2008 at 01:17 AM · Who plays the "Red Diamond" Strad at the moment?

February 14, 2008 at 01:29 AM · > The writer makes it seem as if this young man is an

> internationally famous celebrity...well, I follow the

> violin world somewhat closely and I've never heard of him.

You doubt his celeb status because you have never heard of him? With all due respect, I have got to say, Murphy's law comes to mind: you seem to have taken yourself a little too seriously.

I too, follow the world of classical music, ensembles and artists and before this news item he never showed up on my radar either, but in the age of the internet and google all you need to do is a web search for "david garrett" and you'll get loads of information about this guy, confirming his prodigy and celeb status.

As for the exaggerated headline, I agree that this is sensationalism but that's nothing new, the vast majority of internet news headlines are exaggerated and sensationalist.

February 14, 2008 at 01:53 AM · I think anyone with a Strad would get the sturdiest case possible. If he fell on the case and broke the violin inside, I think he'd probably be injured himself.

February 14, 2008 at 02:18 AM · One of my Russian friends told me they have been making cases over there which you can drop on ice and the violin will be completely fine.

February 14, 2008 at 02:39 AM · wow, that's terrible :(

February 14, 2008 at 03:02 AM · "You doubt his celeb status because you have never heard of him? With all due respect, I have got to say, Murphy's law comes to mind: you seem to have taken yourself a little too seriously."

How can I take myself too seriously when I look like a penguin?

My favorite anecdote in this vein was of a Finnish pianist (will be unnamed) who came to the US as part of a big promotional tour of Scandinavian artists in the late 70's. He was frustrated because, unlike the dozens of other Scandinavian artists in the program he didn't have many dates in the US, so he felt he was not getting proper recognition. He was heard to complain, "I'm a world-famous artist, and nobody knows it!"

What did you mean by "Murphy's Law"? Or was that was a reference to the smashed violin?

February 14, 2008 at 03:08 AM · You may be a penguin, but you are wearing a bow tie.

February 14, 2008 at 06:27 AM · Christian, I meant the advert was IN the strad magazine, not A strad

February 14, 2008 at 09:02 AM · I have met David Garrett. It was 2002 in Israel.

This story is somehow suspicious to me...

February 14, 2008 at 09:42 AM · I agree, I've seen how others have carried around their Strads and del Gesus. To some it's like their own child and if something like this were to happen it would be the same as a death of their own child.

February 14, 2008 at 10:54 AM · I googled the subject and all articles about that

mention the nickname of the Strad, the "Beckham" style, the destruction, the same photo, that is, all the articles were written by the same person, perhaps a PR, in my humble opinion, but I may be wrong.

February 14, 2008 at 01:40 PM · Hi Ward,

Sorry - was reading too quickly. But since the story is true, I thought I should mention its details.


February 14, 2008 at 01:56 PM · I think that short of a high tech CSI report we will not know. I agree that players treat their instruments like they are children and guard and care for them. Hence my subconscious comment.

February 14, 2008 at 02:19 PM · Here's some more detail about the actual damage the instrument suffered, certainly sounds like he should have had a better case. Great publicity for Beares of course...

February 14, 2008 at 03:31 PM · Well, if the photo in this article is from the San Lorenzo we see that it already had a top breast patch and many repairs, I think it will be

restored to its former sound and shape.

The article mentions "Two cracks have split the soundpost, the top side of the violin", which I think is wrong, the soundpost would never split, but it may have caused the top splitting.

February 14, 2008 at 03:36 PM · I am happy with my Jaeger case when I read this. I weighs a ton but it's indestructable.

February 14, 2008 at 03:50 PM · He was interviewed on Radio 4 (Today prog) this morning (14th Feb). It wasn't a Strad it was his Guadagnini from 1772. And it happened in December last year at the Barbican.

Still tragic nonetheless, but shows how the news report has been distorted.

February 14, 2008 at 04:09 PM · So it's a Guadagnini, not the Strad... Hummm....

Public Relations work?

February 14, 2008 at 04:11 PM · "So it's a Guadagnini, not the Strad... Hummm....

Public Relations work?"

Now we, and many others, have all heard of him. I got wind of this article yesterday on other message boards, not even violin-related. So if this was a publicity stunt, it worked.

February 14, 2008 at 05:08 PM · Is being clumsy really good publicity E. Smith? One of the oldest publicity stunts for string players trying to make a name for themselves is to "lose" or have their instrument "stolen" and miraculously recovered a few days later :)

February 14, 2008 at 05:32 PM · Dumb joke #32.

What kind of music did the violin play?


February 14, 2008 at 05:51 PM · So, was is the Strad or the Guad???

I am confused. Was this real, or for publicity? I know it is all speculative, but what are everyone's thoughts?

February 14, 2008 at 06:59 PM · What does IMAO mean? I thought IMAO meant "in my arrogrant opinion." Why would you say that?

Baroque = it broke

February 14, 2008 at 07:26 PM · It's Latin and stands for

Iacto Meo Aperto Ore

literally "my mouth having been thrown open" ie with laughter - "laughing fit to burst"

As in graffiti uncovered on a wall at Pompeii:

"Brutus currum XXX millibus passuum per horam delevit, IMAO"

"Brutus wrote off his chariot at 30mph, PMSL" (that latter's another Latin acronym, I'll explain it later)

February 14, 2008 at 10:09 PM · Ultum gratiae pro explicatus.

Quod EGO mos extraho Brutus secundum meus equus!!

Quam eram ut?

February 14, 2008 at 08:10 PM · I didn't understand that Todd - it was all Greek to me.

If I put it back through Babelfish, will I end up with what you started from?

Take care mate - or "bonam diem habeas" perhaps? ;-)

February 14, 2008 at 10:09 PM · Ultum gratiae pro explicatus.

Much thanks for the explanation.

(Quod EGO mos extraho Brutus secundum meus equus!!)

(And I will drag Brutus behind my horse!!)

February 14, 2008 at 08:20 PM · ^^^^^

Oh,this is hilarious---I love it !

Great work !

February 14, 2008 at 09:20 PM · Yes, nice one Todd, very good!

Given the original content of the thread, does the violin need another label inserting?

Ie "Stradiuarius fecit anno MDCCXVIII."

And then "Garrettius cadens copulavit anno MMVIII"

February 14, 2008 at 10:03 PM · Let me guess…

Stradivarius made in 1718.

Gerrettius broken and repaired in 2008.

February 14, 2008 at 10:15 PM · And if Stradivari heard about this story, he might say, "Quod EGO mos extraho Davidus Gerrettius secundum meus equus!!"

February 14, 2008 at 10:19 PM · Mamma mia, che bel Latino, complimentone!!!

Quod abundant non nocit!!!

February 14, 2008 at 10:28 PM · you didn't just say 'what a bunch of idiots', did you?

February 14, 2008 at 10:34 PM · pugnabimus

February 14, 2008 at 10:39 PM · "Puto Stradivarium mortuam esse"

February 14, 2008 at 10:57 PM · cadens = falling, which "cadence" comes from - "that phrase again, it had a dying fall" etc

pugnabimus - were you searching for the future perfect, Buri, see here - ie "pugnaverimus", "we will have had a fight", signalling to Sharelle that there'll be trouble if she carries on like that? ;-)

February 14, 2008 at 11:19 PM · If anyone wants to know what being in a conservatory is like (and why I only applied to universities for grad school)... just look at the above. (other topics include "Shosty" and "Tchaik" symphonies etc etc...).

February 15, 2008 at 03:30 AM · Lad with a Broken Strad! Now this is reminding me of one headline years ago in NY. A violinist was giving his debut concert and just that day a fire broke out in the boiler room and he decided to take his violin and escape to the roof. The headline ran Fiddler on the Roof ,Violinist fiddles while building burns. The debut was sold-out

February 14, 2008 at 11:16 PM · oh,dying falls

where i live,we pride ourselves upon falling

whomever gains the most falls wins

we consider falling as a status symbol,in a way

great it is to compare notes re falling

in a way,to fall is sublime

especially whilst dancing

i really get a huge thrill out of breaking a chandelier whilst upon the dance floor ie with my hands,as i twirl my female partner---this could be a very appropriate occasion to fall and love every moment of falling.

fallings are memorable,and should be remembered as a pleasurable experience,as well as humorous--really,everyone falls--from time to time.

do not be ashamed of falling,unless you fall on your fiddle THEN things are horrid and desultory.

February 15, 2008 at 12:35 AM · Having been the subject of "publicity" akin to this - that being oddly related to something that could be called disastrous (, I do have to say that there are parts of this thread that are quite humorous, but there are also parts of it that are incredibly unkind.

Regarding publicity: Kyung-Wha Chung, in an interview, speaks very candidly about the flood of publicity and critical acclaim that came to her after one of her public performances in London after winning the Leventritt:

"It was very successful, though at first everything seemed to be against me: I had stepped in at the last moment, and there was so much confusion that I hardly had any rehearsal, but as a result the musicians were all the more concentrated at th e performance. The communication with the audience was very strong, so the event was a wonderful experience. The concert was a benefit and not supposed to be reviewed, but the critic with the Financial Times wrote one of the bes t reviews I have ever received in my life. It was really quite embarrassing---he simply said I was better than everybody else, mentioning a lot of names. I just ignored it, but it was a gold mine for the managers, and I got engagements all over Europe"

So - with that said, would it be safe to say that press is what press is, and leave this poor man alone?

February 15, 2008 at 01:31 AM · lmao: laugh my a** out

I bet he broke it before and decided he would fall on the case, so he could claim insurance

February 15, 2008 at 01:42 AM · how much money do you have to bet?

February 15, 2008 at 02:29 AM · I've had some bad things happen to my violin. One time, I left my violin on a chair, and some lumbering fatass comes and accidently knocks the violin over, and the bridge collapsed. "luckily", I only got a couple of scratches on my violin, but I am still pissed as hell for that

February 15, 2008 at 03:13 AM · he broke the violin....what about the bow(s)?

February 15, 2008 at 03:16 AM · I teach high school Latin and I was grinning ear-to-ear reading all the Latin in this thread.

Some of you quite obviously know your Latin; everyone, however, was very witty.

Thanks for making my day!

February 15, 2008 at 03:28 AM · dolce et decorum est pro prune mori

February 15, 2008 at 03:39 AM · FYI, FWIW, "lmao" = LMAO = "Laughing My A** Off" < ROFLMAO

JSYK :-)

February 15, 2008 at 03:41 AM · Joe Fischer wrote on February 14:

“ a way, to fall is sublime... to fall and love every moment of falling..."

Very clever -- and timely for Valentines Day.

February 15, 2008 at 03:38 AM · Ut supra,Latin can be great fun-at times.

Esto perpetua in re a magnum opus.

February 15, 2008 at 03:43 AM · Oh, he fell on it. I read it like he was tripping and destroyed it.

February 15, 2008 at 05:11 AM · excuse my crude bluntness, but this is pure idiocy. Any halfway decent case would not allow a violin to be broken from a fall or being fallen on. If he were to fall with the violin on stage I still would not have any sympathy as I have done the same thing and managed to keep my violin safe somehow. And lastly, whoever was lending him the violin in the first place should have required him to be using a suitable case. This neglect just makes me sad and upset at the same time. Ok, I'm done.

February 15, 2008 at 06:25 AM · I'm glad somebody finally asked the question that's been on my mind since I read about this: where the heck was his bow? Nobody is saying anything about a bow! Did a Tourte just end up as toothpicks? Did he splinter a Sartory? Is there a Pecatte in pieces? You can't tell me the fiddle had cracks from head to toe and the stick just waltzed off whistling "Rosin the Beau"!

February 15, 2008 at 07:46 AM · It turns out (as pointed out earlier), that the violin that was damaged was a Guadagnini not a Stradivarius. The radio interview is on the BBC site. This accident actually happened last year. The timing of this press release is rather interesting.

February 15, 2008 at 07:49 AM · .

February 16, 2008 at 07:05 AM · Reporter's correction:

February 17, 2008 at 03:38 AM · This is one fascinating thread. I have been spellbound reading it. The dinner has burnt. So what. The inelegant truth has been revealed. Wisdom shared. Relationships have been made and broken. Prunes have been translated into Latin. Love, loss, shattered fiddles and illusions.

Saturday nights in my household don't get better than this.

February 17, 2008 at 03:54 AM · "Saturday nights in my household don't get better than this."

Terez, darling, you need a sloppy night out.

February 17, 2008 at 04:40 AM · >Terez, darling, you need a sloppy night out.

Honey, is that an invitation?

February 17, 2008 at 05:10 AM · Absolutely.

February 17, 2008 at 08:34 PM · Woo hoo!

And on that poetic note, the tragic and occasionally puzzling saga of David Garrett and the squashed Strad-but-no-longer-a-Strad-but-a-Guad is hereby archived.

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