Aaron Rosand's del Gesu Sold For $10 Million

October 22, 2009 at 05:31 AM ·

Here is the article from the NYT Arts Beat blog:



Replies (30)

October 22, 2009 at 05:42 AM ·


I feel like I`ve lost p@art of my body with Rosand retiring.  For some reason I actually clicked on him playing Zigeunerweisen on Youtube just last night.  It was just so right and so technically superior than all the overblown hacking that passes for this piece in the hands of many of today`s players.   I love th ebit in the article about `a prominet soloist in his day,`   as though he hasn`t done much in the last twenty years.....



October 22, 2009 at 06:44 AM ·

Wow.  Tough thing to do, but at that price...

I guess now he'll have the Widenhouse copy as his #1 instrument?

October 22, 2009 at 06:55 AM ·

"A prominent soloist in his day" is a literary outrage.  This man is absolutely brilliant! 

Sorry for venting.

October 22, 2009 at 01:22 PM ·

Yes, that phrase is 'damning with faint praise'. Aaron Rosand has been one of the finest soloists of the 20th century, and his marvelous playing continued virtually undiminished through his 80th year, almost a decade into the 21st century. "In his day"? I think not!

 The astute violinist/critic, Henry Roth, compared one of his recordings with the best of Stern and Perlman. In fact, comparisons are really beside the point. Rosand's outsize virtuoso technique, his gorgeous tone, at the same time rich, sensuous, focused and intense, his understanding of the music that he played, suffused with style, flair and panache, his contributions to unearthing of many forgotten gems of the Romantic repertoire, his exciting stage presence - all this and so much more have stamped him as a violinist's violinist with a voice at least as unique as the del Gesu that he sold.

I studied with him briefly but very meaningfully some years ago. He made an indelible impression upon me, and I learned so much from him in a short time. I was privileged to hear his last two Summit Festival recitals - given while still recovering from back surgery. Apparently, he never completely mended; he was scheduled to give one more this past summer, but cancelled, as he was in a lot of pain. I recently heard from someone who knows him well that he is doing better and is back to teaching at Curtis, so the legacy is continuing. But with his retirement from the stage, we sadly come to the end of an era. We'll not soon - if ever - see and hear his like again.

October 22, 2009 at 01:41 PM ·

More likely the Widenhouse will stay behind his Poggi. I suspect that if he's like most players who are downgrading, the del Gesu will get replaced with some lovely old violin that costs a fraction of the del Gesu's sale price. He could buy an Amati and still come out nine million bucks ahead.

October 22, 2009 at 02:03 PM ·

Henry Roth was a skilled, articulate, professional violinist, and would be in a position to appreciate Rosand, a real Player's Player.

I was lucky enough to hear Rosand live in the 80s, in high school, when he subbed for an ailing Midori.  He played Pag 1, and was amazing.  It was one of the strongest audience reactions I have ever felt.  Rosand wasn't a household name back then, like Perlman or Stern, but he knocked my socks off.

I hope that del Gesu has a nice Eau de Cigar about it for a long, long time...

October 22, 2009 at 08:04 PM ·

Aaron Rosand played the Beethoven concerto with my University orchestra in around 1981.   It was spectacular.

October 23, 2009 at 12:36 AM ·

What a shame. Aaron personally helped me bering the Stamford (Ct.) Symphony to promince back in hte 1970's 1980's. He donated his valuable time and talent. He became a personal friend. In my humble opinion he was one of the best ever violinists. Knowing the history of THAT violin and Aaron, I believe he's gained quitea few million, butlost a dear friend and colleague.

October 23, 2009 at 12:51 AM ·

I have to admit I don't seem to have any CDs of Rosand.    Any "must buy" recommendations from v.commers please?   Would be great if they featured the violin in question!

Whilst I can understand him selling  the instrument to ensure financial security for himself and his family (plus the amazingly generous charitable donations he is making) my heart really goes out to him - always hard to part from a friend who has accompanied you on a long journey.

October 23, 2009 at 01:18 AM ·


I have a bunch of his Vox CDs, and the Mills College DVD, and all are fabulous.  A must-have is the 2 CD Vox set, the "Ernst, Godard, etc", which has his recording of the Joachim concerto. 

October 23, 2009 at 01:23 AM ·


all his recordings are superb but as Anne says,  the Joachim /Ernst/Godard is the non-plus ultra of performance virtuosity. I rank it among my all time top ten greats.  That is -really- saying something.



October 23, 2009 at 01:55 AM ·

Among my CD's that I didn't already have in vinyl, I particularly recommend his album of Romances, and his 2-CD set of the complete sonatas and Hungarian dances of Brahms. Playing-wise, you just can't go wrong with anything Rosand has ever recorded. However, technically, in terms of the recorded sound of the CD itself, I have a problem with disc 2 of his 2-CD set, "Rosand in Norway". Maybe it's just my copy, but it's all taken from live performances, and maybe some of them were just not well-recorded to begin with. But you know? it's worth it for the Sinding suite alone. OK - the 1st mvt. may not have the speed and laser-like etched lucidity of Heifetz, but every note is in place in that live performance, and in the 2nd and 3rd mvts. his tone is richer than the great H. Again, you just can't go wrong with Rosand. 

I hope he'll come out with his memoirs He has a fascinating story to tell.

BTW, I have his vinyl of the fabulous Joachim and Goddard, which he autographed for me when I first met him. That was the 1st recording of his that I bought. Oddly enough, the Joachim was playing in my mind's ear when I woke up today. Maybe there was just something in the air!

October 23, 2009 at 02:06 AM ·

Totally agree with the recommendations of Anne, Buri and Raphael.

October 23, 2009 at 02:45 AM ·

Is he retiring from teaching as well or "just" from performing?

October 23, 2009 at 04:04 AM ·

He truly was one of the greatest violinists during the last century. I just bought Kim's recording of the Joachim, I believe that I have all versions now? But noone comes near Rosand either techniqually or musically, and especially tonally. To bad he didn't record the entire thing.

October 23, 2009 at 04:50 AM ·

Rarely has a violinist's temperament been so well matched to his instrument. They did seem inseperable and thankfully we have these wonderful recordings that others have mentioned to cherish this relationship. I would add that his Beethoven Sonatas with his wife Eileen Flissler are also quite wonderful and there is a video of him playing at a mansion called Bel Eden. His charm and true love of playing come through beautifully on that video as well. Aaron Rosand remains one of the consummate artists on  any instrument.

October 23, 2009 at 05:12 AM ·

His Romances album is a must have, the best Dvorak op.11 ever recorded...also his Hubay/Ernst/Joachim album is great, it is what got me really interested in 19th century violin music.  J 

October 23, 2009 at 08:04 AM ·


well,  I`m just wallowing in my own pittle `Rosand Retrospective` with a youtube listen to a 1988 performance of the Chacconne.  Presumably at this time he was being prominent.  A realy macho Bach although always tasteful and structurally flawless.   Striking things,  the sound and phrasing comes from the bowing not the vibrato,  as it should be.  Plus,  he is uncompromising in his use of the bow for voicing.  Deep bass lines are at the heel,  delicate filigree soprano at the point.  None of this arty farty faffing around in the middle of the bow garbage so often produced.   Not afraid to use a heavy spicatto at the heel either.

A real lessson in bachmanship.



October 23, 2009 at 12:47 PM ·

So who is the lucky new violinist playing on the instrument?



October 23, 2009 at 02:28 PM ·

I have always favored his interpretations of the Beethoven sonatas.


October 24, 2009 at 04:11 PM ·



October 27, 2009 at 05:32 AM ·

I see it as a bitter-sweet story: It's sad for him to be part with his soul but his soul will move on through one violinist to another and another after that for as long as violinists exist. That's something to be smiling about, isn't it?

October 27, 2009 at 05:43 AM ·


so it should be `sould` for 10 million?



October 27, 2009 at 05:49 AM ·

Well, we don't know about what's behind and ahead with the very sould $$$$. It may bring world peace, no?

November 3, 2009 at 09:02 AM ·

Here is a You Tube performance of Rosand doing the Bach Chaccone: Very muscular and with a brisk tempo. Enjoy --


Ted Kruzich

November 3, 2009 at 04:10 PM ·

Oooh thanks for posting that Ted, really enjoyed listening to the playing.  Going on the amazing tone colours, this must presumably be the Del Gesu that he is using?

Actually, listening to this amazing violin - it makes me think - how can one differentiate between the quality of this instrument (which sold for $10million) and the one which Joshua Bell recently played which is on sale for $18million.  Same maker, excellent provenance... just where does that extra $8million come in?  

November 3, 2009 at 09:04 PM ·

Here is more on Rosand's   ex- Kochanski Guarneri

Violinist Aaron Rosand relinquished his violin in a London hotel last week after more than half a century with the instrument. Rosand sold the instrument because he “had” to; he wanted to ensure it will be played as he approaches his golden years--a contingency to which the Russian billionaire who bought the violin agreed.

That is how he described the sale of the instrument he had played for more than 50 years, the famed ex-Kochanski Guarneri del Gesù. The buyer was a Russian billionaire whom Mr. Rosand declined to identify and who paid perhaps the highest price ever for a violin: about $10 million.
Mr. Rosand, a prominent soloist in his day, acquired the instrument in 1957. It took him 10 years to pay off the loans for it. Meanwhile, he said he was besieged by other virtuosos who wanted to buy it from him.
“I’ve made 35, 36 recordings on it,” Mr. Rosand said. “At least there’s a living legacy of what I’ve done with that violin.”
The ex-Kochanski dates to 1741 and is considered one of the finest Guarneri instruments in existence. Like many famous violins, it acquired the name of one of its owners, Paul Kochanski, a Polish virtuoso who died in 1934.

November 4, 2009 at 01:31 PM ·

Ted -isn't this the same article that began this thread?

Rosalind - yes, AR used his del Gesu on all but maybe the first couple of his recordings. The "Vieuxtemps" del Gesu, that Bell played on is, I believe, actually going for "only' $13 million - don't give Mr. Fushi any crazier ideas! No, it's not worth $3 million more. I think that it's simply greed and nerve. I personally think these prices are insane - and not only for violins. When people sometimes have asked me 'what makes a Strad worth x amount,' I say 'I don't know - what makes a Picasso or Van Gogh worth 10 times that amount?' it comes down to whatever someone is willing to pay for it - like that crazy Tarisio auction several years ago when a Sam Z. went for, i think, $130. I hope that even among the wealthiest collectors or orginizations in the world today no one will buy the "Vieuxtemps" at that price, and send a message to greedy dealers that they've gone too far. But someone probably will buy it - because they can.

March 2, 2010 at 11:11 PM ·

Aaron has always been in my top 5 favorite violinists.  He never made a bad record, that's for sure!  I remember, years ago, seeing a VHS tape "An Evening at Bel Eden" - a recital at this certain mansion I think?  Anyone know where to get a copy of this?  I know it never was released on DVD but if anyone has a VHS copy, that'd be cool.  Let me know, please.  oceanave@usa.net  Thanks! 

March 3, 2010 at 01:08 AM ·

 Kind of O/T, but I owned a copy of that exact instrument.  They were briefly side by side in a shop when Mr Rosand walked in and unknowingly placed his instrument near mine. :)  I didn't realize he sold it..... it's sad what he said about his playing days.  I hope he can still practice, even if he chooses not to play in public.

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