Famous violinists who did not (or do not) play old Italian violins

December 28, 2013 at 03:48 AM · Most famous violinists since at least Viotti have played on an old Italian violin as their primary instrument. Some famous violinists, however, have played (or do play) violins other than old Italians as their primary instrument, at least during a portion of their careers. I will start by naming some violinists and the instruments other than old Italians they have used (or are using) but I would appreciate readers adding to the list. For purposes of this topic, let's define an "old Italian" violin as one made before 1800 and let's define a "primary" instrument as a violin that has been used by the violinist in recordings or live performances. Please do not turn this topic into a discussion of the merits of old versus new violins.

Christian Tetzlaff: Greiner

Elmar Oliveira: Koeberling; Young

Eugene Fodor: Peresson; Vuillaume

Jimmy Lin: Zygmuntowicz

Mark O'Connor: Vuillaume

Hilary Hahn: Vuillaume

Ruggiero Ricci: Bellini


December 28, 2013 at 06:26 AM · Greetings,

I believe you have missed Fritz Kreisler and his `English` Stradivarius.



December 28, 2013 at 06:37 AM · Enesco played on a Paul Kohl at one point.

December 28, 2013 at 11:37 AM · I believe Steven Breviati does not play on a Strad - though heck knows what kind of tree branch it is...

December 28, 2013 at 12:50 PM · Does the Oliveira entry really hold up? I know he has a large collection that he does like to use, but I believe that his primary instrument has always been a good Cremonese.

To add to the list, Dylana Jenson uses a Zygmuntowicz.

December 28, 2013 at 02:47 PM · Last I knew, Jimmy Lin's primary instrument was the "Titian" Strad. Is that wrong?

December 28, 2013 at 03:00 PM · Thank you for your messages, everyone. Let me respond to a few of you:

Stephen B: Louis Lochner's biography of Kreisler indicates that yes, he played a Strad copy made in London about 1720 by Daniel Parker (so thank you Stephen B) and that he also played a Guarneri copy made by Vuillaume. The Vuillaume was the instrument used by Camillo Sivori (according to Kreisler as quoted by Lochner, Paganini left the Vuillaume to Sivori, who was Paganini's famous pupil, and Kreisler purchased that Vuillaume from Hill & Sons -- so I suppose that perhaps Paganini also played on that Vuillaume).

Adrian H: Thank you for informing us of Enesco's Kohl (Kohl is a maker whom I have not heard about before)

Stephen S: Thank you for reminding us about the fact that Jenson now plays on a Zygmuntowicz. You make a good point about Oliveira and all the modern violins he has played (which also includes a Curtin and an Alf, according to Laurie Niles' interview of Oliveira posted on violinist.com). Perhaps one needs to define "primary" for purposes of this topic. I suppose I am trying to find out what violins (other than old Italians) famous violinists have used in recordings or live performances at some point in their lives -- and I don't know if Oliveira has performed live or on recordings using his modern instruments at some point.

December 28, 2013 at 03:47 PM · I believe all or Tianwa Yang's Sarasate recordings (seven CDs with one more on the way) were played with either her own Vuillaume or the Vuillaume formerly owned by Sarasate, loaned for the recordings by the Sarasate Museum in Pamplona.

For the duets she used both, one for each part: This is a link to Tianwa Yang playing Sarasate's Navarra, Op.33 using to Vuillaumes

December 28, 2013 at 04:16 PM · Alfredo Campoli owned three Stradivaris and a Guadagnini over the years but his favorite instruments were Roccas. He used one of his three Roccas for all his concerts and recordings in his later years. Near the end of his career, he obtained a John Lott which he used for his very last recording.

December 28, 2013 at 04:33 PM · When Elmar O. played with Waco Symphony (Brahms Concerto) a couple of years ago he played on a Greiner. He was complaining about an unresponsive string, but adjusted the soundpost himself. He has always been interested in good modern instruments, as well as the older makers.

December 28, 2013 at 04:41 PM · Don: is Jimmy Lin the same person as Cho-Liang Lin?

December 28, 2013 at 04:44 PM · I recall that there was a female concertmaster of an English orchestra that played on a violin she bought as a Del Gesu. (I can't remember her name.) It turned out it was a John Lott. When she found out, she decided it didn't sound as good as when it was a Del Gesu. So she sold it. Perhaps this is an "urban legend", though.

December 28, 2013 at 05:58 PM · I think Glen Dicterow plays on a David Burgess violin.

December 28, 2013 at 06:32 PM · "Don: is Jimmy Lin the same person as Cho-Liang Lin?"

That's the only one I know of, unless there's another Jimmy Lin.

December 28, 2013 at 11:28 PM · Iskandar Widjaja plays a F. Geissenhof.

December 29, 2013 at 01:20 PM · I seem to remember* reading here a while ago that Oliveira played a Jay Haide in a live concert.

(One of my violins is a Jay Haide).

*I stand to be corrected if my memory is at fault.

December 29, 2013 at 04:30 PM · "I recall that there was a female concertmaster of an English orchestra that played on a violin she bought as a Del Gesu."

Ida Haendel might be the violinist Bruce berg is thinking of here - she was never a Concertmaster (or mistress) though.

December 29, 2013 at 04:34 PM · PS I am not famous, but for nearly 20 years of professional playing I used a Vuillaume.

December 29, 2013 at 05:10 PM · David,

I think you are correct that it was Ida Haendel.

By the way, I own a violin that was for many years a Vincenzo Panormo. When I first looked at it, the value was C. $60,000.I was advised by Paul Childs that V. Panormos made in Paris were, in his words "very rare." It was checked out by Moennig who thought it was George Panormo, and the value dropped to $30K. When it was checked by Charles Beare, it was, "without a doubt, a Thomas Kennedy." After some restoration work, the price became $12k. Strangely, the quality of sound did not change at all from the V. Panormo which it started as. At this point the violin has 2 labels, the fake VP one, and a new (replica) one which John Montgomery put in for me saying Thomas Kennedy c. 1840.

December 29, 2013 at 07:09 PM · I wonder when the old Italian myth will end.

December 29, 2013 at 08:06 PM · Patricia Kopatchinskaya from Moldova plays - barefooted - on a Pressenda.

December 29, 2013 at 09:17 PM · It may never end, Jose... But it should!!! So many great fiddles out there, old and modern. Sigh.

December 29, 2013 at 09:59 PM · And so it should.

I was recently looking for a new instrument for solo over an orchestra - well one stood out head and shoulders above the others. A MODERN (1991) Italian from cremona. I tried over 40 instruments.

See, it doesn't have to be old...

December 29, 2013 at 10:04 PM · Maybe it's better that the fetishists keep on track with the Italian violins. It might keep all those great sounding overlooked fiddles at reasonable prices.

December 29, 2013 at 11:02 PM · Good point!!

December 30, 2013 at 01:02 AM ·

December 30, 2013 at 02:53 AM · Darrett, thank you for the information about Elmar Oliveira -- and also for bringing the discussion back to a factual one about famous violinists (past or present) who performed or currently perform on violins which are not old Italians.

To those posters who have started to write about moderns versus old Italians, I respectfully ask that you refrain from doing so on this discussion -- if that is what you wish to discuss, then please do so elsewhere. As I indicated in my original posting, "Please do not turn this topic into a discussion of the merits of old versus new violins". I am hoping to obtain factual information about violins other than old Italians upon which famous violinists performed or currently perform -- and not to have a subjective discussion of the merits of moderns versus old Italians.

Thank you.

December 30, 2013 at 05:23 AM · Were I to (truthfully) report that having lost my Vuillaume in divorce proceedings I now play on modern & contemporary Italian fiddles, that's hardly "new versus old" but rather "Italians versus the rest".

Irrelevant anyway, because I am not famous.


December 30, 2013 at 05:27 AM · Didn't Milstein play on a Poggi at times?

December 30, 2013 at 06:48 AM · Quite a few famous players bought Capicchioni violins, I understand.

December 30, 2013 at 07:38 AM · Menuhin used a cappichioni.

I just drink them,



December 30, 2013 at 08:02 AM · Alas, I am not famous either David, but I intend to be - or at least infamous.

Perhaps the OP could clarify what constitutes a 'famous' violinist? I wonder what Henny Youngman, Jack Benny and Brianna Kahane play/ed?

December 30, 2013 at 09:52 AM · Jack Benny owned a J.B.Vuillaume, circa 1845 !!

December 30, 2013 at 12:23 PM · Just because I happened to read this last night while listening to her new Dvorak album:

Anne Sophie Mutter has:

Finnigan-Klaembt 1999

Regazzi 2005

December 30, 2013 at 02:22 PM · Zukerman has a Borman violin and told Terry one day he would be more famous than him. I don't believe he uses it that often for concerts, rather plays the Dushkin. But who knows.

December 30, 2013 at 02:31 PM · "Jack Benny owned a J.B.Vuillaume, circa 1845 !!"

His more well-known instrument was a Strad.

Famous, yes; violinist... um, not so much.

I would think almost any famous violinist (who is actually famous for playing violin) would have quite a stable full of violins of various sorts, so owning a modern one is not very noteworthy. What is more important is what instrument they choose to play when the performance really matters.

December 30, 2013 at 04:17 PM · Don, very true. Some luthiers sport a list of well known violinists as their clients. No doubt helps promote the product.

Outdoor concerts would be one place not to take your Strad. Julia Fischer plays the Vivaldi Summer on Youtube outdoors with a nice violin which looks like a modern, not her Guadagnini.

December 30, 2013 at 04:23 PM ·

January 1, 2014 at 08:27 AM · Jack Benny once looked through the sound holes of Isaac Stern’s violin and read a faint inscription which looked like “1795” to which Benny exclaimed: What a bargain !! Was that the price before sales taxes ?

January 2, 2014 at 09:25 AM · The violins of Vuillaume came up in this discussion a few times. I wonder are all Vuillaumes good violins capable of being used as primary instruments by soloists or there are better and lesser Vuillaumes. Is there a period of Vuillaume's work that is considered to be better than the rest? Is there a characteristic Vuillaume sound, do guarneri and strad Vuillaumes sound the same?

January 2, 2014 at 10:24 AM · An orchestral violinist colleague of mine had worked at "Hills" in London. He said of the Vuillaume violins "some are all right - some are GREAT FIDDLES".

This from a man whose Christmas treat was to be allowed to play the celebrated "Alard" Strad.

In Hill's book on Stradivari they assert that the Vuillaumes all sound the same, whether copies of Amati, Strad or Guarneri. That's somewhere in their discussion of the effects of varnish on tone.

Whilst that might have been true in the very early days of the twentieth century, when the Hills wrote the book, it doesn't seem to apply now. These instruments seem to vary enormously, presumably the result of time and use.

As to the question "do guarneri and strad Vuillaumes sound the same", from my limited experience I'd say they PLAY differently - though maybe at a distance a listener might think they SOUND the same.

January 2, 2014 at 06:12 PM · David - bit off topic (sorry) but how so differently? Similar to the original del gesu/strad differences?

January 2, 2014 at 08:29 PM · NSO Concertmistress Nurit Bar Josef plays a Vuillaume.

January 2, 2014 at 09:39 PM ·

January 3, 2014 at 04:17 PM · I was brought to believe that Vuillaume had his workers make the violins and he would give the finishing touches also varnish them.That's why he was able to make so many(around 3500).

Don't all vuillaumes have the same identification marks like the signature and number of the instrument also year?

January 5, 2014 at 12:03 PM · Theo, that Jack Benny episode is avaiable on youtube.

January 5, 2014 at 07:22 PM · I just read that Toscha Seidel performed on a Strad copy by Vuillaume (in addition to his Strad and his Guadagnini).

January 6, 2014 at 12:43 AM · I read somewhere that Paul Deck plays a 2006 Topa.

January 8, 2014 at 06:38 PM · I've heard that Heifetz played an aluminum violin in public in his younger days. However, he didn't make a career out of it.

Which reminds me. There are violinists today, perhaps not yet as well known as H, who are exploring the possibilities of glass violins. You'll find them on YouTube.

January 10, 2014 at 02:26 AM · Alexandrer Markov uses a Peresson as well Menuhin and Fodor used these violins.

January 10, 2014 at 03:48 AM · Once in a while I get an email from Shar or Potter or such, advertising fine violins. My impression is that the word "Italian" immediately doubles the price, at minimum, regardless of the vintage.

January 10, 2014 at 11:01 PM · These are Szeryng's words:

"What are the problems concerning antique violins?

I have talked at length with experts. The result is extremely simple. The material seasons and ages. With time the wood becomes more venerable... but ultimately ... too old.

It does not exactly decay, but certainly does not improve, and loses elasticity.

I mostly play one of my two modern violins.

With all due respect, we must not forget that the finest classical violins are at least 250 years old. I am an incurable optimist, but I'm convinced that the Stradivaris, the Guarneris, the Amatis, the Grancinos, the Ruggeris, the Gaglianos and the Stainers will not be "playable" much longer unless they are completely restored.

This then gives rise to the problem of whether such an instrument can still be considered antique and original or whether instead it is the restorer who has bestowed upon that violin its balanced timbre and sonorousness, rather than the violinmaker who made it.

Consequently, the question arises of whether it is not more practical to resort from the beggining to a new instrument" (FRNAKFURTER ALLGEMEINE, Magazine, 30.01.87)

And in the Strad, september, 1988, we will find:

"In his final period, in addition to the "Le Duc, he (Szeryng) played on two French violins, one by Pierre Hel made in 1922 and the other by Jean Bauer, a comtemporary maker."

January 12, 2014 at 11:10 AM · Does anyone knows of any old violins that have stopped playing being too old?

If so, what is the age a violin ceases to play as well as before. If the plates become tired and brittle how can a restorer bring life back to the plates?

January 12, 2014 at 11:47 AM · We've just had a topic on Caspar de Salo's (d. 1609) violins - they seem fully functional. Thus, maybe the Strads/del Gesus are good for at least 100 more years...

January 12, 2014 at 03:23 PM · A question I had as well. The older they are the rarer decent playable specimens are.

Does anyone play any of the 15 or so Andrea Amatis

that are still out there? Not to my knowledge.

January 12, 2014 at 08:15 PM · Talented restorers can keep old instruments going almost indefinitely, modifying them as needed.

The question then becomes, how much of the quality is attributable to the original maker, and how much to the restorer?

If one gives major credit to the restorers, then another question comes up:

Many restorers also make new instruments, so could it be better to take their knowledge, applied to a new and unaltered instrument, as opposed to a tweaked and massaged old instrument?

January 13, 2014 at 03:15 AM · Taken from http://www.staythirstymedia.com/201209-073/html/201209-cavallaro-markov-int.html

ALEXANDER MARKOV: I use a Sergio Peresson; he’s one of the most respected instrument makers in the world. Eugene Fodor, Yehudi Menuhin, Jacqueline du Pre, and Mstislav Rostropovich all used Peressons. I also played a Guarneri “del Gesu” for several years - a great instrument, to be sure - but people couldn’t tell the difference! I think we’re talking about different things - the historical, sentimental, and commercial value as opposed to the practical value. My only concern is how well the instrument will project in the concert hall. Do we really love the sound for what it is, or are we in love with the label inside the instrument?

ALEXANDER MARKOV: Yes! I played the “Cannon” as part of the gold medal award in the Paganini Competition. I got to practice on the instrument a couple of times - under heavy security! - and then gave an evening recital there, featuring Paganini, of course. The violin is phenomenal, although I felt it was not well maintained. This is the most legendary violin in the world, and it should have been cleaned and given better overall care.

But getting back to what I was saying, I think someone should do a documentary about these “priceless” violins and include some of the amusing stories going around. In my case, I was playing the Sibelius with the Radio Orchestra of Vienna. After the rehearsal, one of the violinists approached me, genuinely in awe of my instrument. “Gorgeous fiddle! That must be a ‘del Gesu’!” he declared. I explained that it was my Peresson. “Oh, well,” he sighed. “You’re still young. One of these days you’ll get a ‘del Gesu’!” Can you imagine a whole DVD full of episodes like that?

January 14, 2014 at 11:52 PM · Surprising things can happen with the identification of instruments. The cello played by Pablo Casals for most of his long career was believed by him - and everyone else - to be a Carlo Bergonzi (well, it said so on the label, didn't it?). Eventually, it was found to be a Matteo Gofriller.

The "ex-Cossman" Matteo Gofriller cello was also wrongly attributed to Carlo Bergonzi.

Do high-level inadvertent (as opposed to fraudulent) misidentifications such as these also occur in the violin world?

January 15, 2014 at 02:47 AM · It happened to Maud Powell. It seems to me she gave up her Guarneri to use the Gemunder.

"Previously thought to have been made about 1775 by Johannes Baptista Guadagnini of Turin, this instrument has been identified by Kenneth Warren as having been made by George Gemunder of Astoria, NY about 1860-1870. He states that the instrument is a well-made copy after Johannes Baptista Guadagnini of Turin, Italy, and cites the presence of the characteristic yellow-pink varnish typical of George Gemunder."

Henry Ford Museum Documentation.

"[quoting Maud Powell:] 'Then there is the matter of the violin. I first used a Joseph Guarnerius, a deeper toned instrument than the Jean Baptista Guadagnini I have now played for a number of years. The Guarnerius has a tone that seems to come more from within the instrument; but all in all I have found my Guadagnini, with its glassy clearness, its brilliant and limpid tone-quality, better adapted to American concert halls. If I had a Strad in the same condition as my Guadagnini the instrument would be priceless. I regretted giving up my Guarnerius, but I could not play the two violins interchangeably; for they were absolutely different in size and tone-production, shape, etc. Then my hand is so small that I ought to use the instrument best adapted to it, and to use the same instrument always. '"

Violin Mastery: Talks with Master Violinists and Teachers, Frederick H. Martens, Frederick A. Stokes Co., New York, 1919.

January 22, 2014 at 02:51 AM · I just received the February edition of Strings magazine. The article about Leila Josefowicz on page 70 states that she currently is playing a violin by Sam Zygmuntowicz.

January 22, 2014 at 04:17 AM · Old Italian...blah blah blah. I'm so sick of it. A great fiddle is a great fiddle...old or modern, Italian or Martian. I wish people would get over it. It's so ridiculous.

January 22, 2014 at 05:34 AM · From Josefowicz' official website:

"Ms. Josefowicz currently performs on a Del Gesu made in 1724."

January 22, 2014 at 12:53 PM · "Old Italian...blah blah blah."

This contentious subject will refuse to go away just as long as those iconic relics continue to change hands at ridiculously high prices, IMHO.

January 22, 2014 at 01:01 PM · Other than ascribing magical and mythical properties to them...what's wrong with being interested in them? They are working antiques with a history...I find it all rather fascinating myself...

January 22, 2014 at 06:07 PM · My violin was made by a Cremona Luthier who I think is in his 70s. So can I legitimately say that I play on 'an old Italian violin'?

January 22, 2014 at 06:18 PM · Just say you play on a violin made by an old Italian...odds are no one will notice and you are good to go! :)

January 22, 2014 at 06:43 PM · Elise, you play on a young at heart Italian violin.

January 22, 2014 at 07:01 PM · "This contentious subject will refuse to go away just as long as those iconic relics continue to change hands at ridiculously high prices"

While one can always assume that some fraction of players who can afford old Italian violins will buy them out of vanity or ignorance, it's unlikely that all of those players have somehow been hoodwinked into buying them.

I assume that most of the great players are smart enough to make the best possible choice on an instrument, and are still finding enough utility in them to justify their investment.

What is a "ridiculously high price" is simply a relative concept.

I suspect that those who condemn old Italian violins haven't played all that many of them.

January 22, 2014 at 07:13 PM · Norman Carroll played a Sergio Peresson for part of his career but i'm not sure if it was his primary. He also played a del Gesu

January 22, 2014 at 07:41 PM · I'm not condemning them. I'm just saying a world class violin isn't restricted to being an old Italian. I've been very fortunate to have played on several, and some quite famous, and I have owned a few throughout my life. . And I also love the history, and I love the old fiddles, too. I just don't think they are any better than modern fiddles.

January 22, 2014 at 08:59 PM · I don't think they are better either. I prefer new myself. New and old are equally interesting - just in different ways.

January 22, 2014 at 09:11 PM · Agreed.

January 22, 2014 at 10:25 PM · N.A. - I think you fluffed the play ;)

John - I guess its really an 'old at heart' Italian violin...

January 23, 2014 at 12:25 AM · Fine! How about "an old Italian's violin" then...NO one will hear that extra s...especially if you gloss over it just a wee bit...

January 23, 2014 at 12:30 AM · Greetings,

well, I think you have to call a new violin 'potential old Italian,' to keep everyone happy.



January 23, 2014 at 05:14 AM · The OP wrote :- "Please do not turn this topic into a discussion of the merits of old versus new violins."

Hope he is not too irate.

I've tried a few venerable old Italian fiddles that I liked and wished I owned - equally some that disappointed.

Though the best ones are "to die for", I'm still flabbergasted by the astronomical prices they fetch. A lot of money can be forked out for an example of what in constructional terms is one of the simplest stringed musical instruments ever invented.

January 23, 2014 at 08:30 AM · David: I'm good, I was talking about old versus new Italians. Ha!

Actually that's an interesting variation: how many soloists play on violins made by an old Italian violin maker? Are late Strads/del Gesus favoured over early ones?

January 23, 2014 at 11:24 AM · Elise,

re:- "how many soloists play on violins made by an old Italian violin maker? ".

I was NEVER a soloist but I do own a 1974 Lucci violin - at that date Lucci would be 64. Is that old enough ?

Problem here is that mature makers employ others to do most of the work. Lucci had an assistant by then, Rodolfo Marchini - and it's said that his wife cut the scrolls !

There's also some rumour that Lucci injured a hand, and became ever more reliant on helpers.

So it's often a matter of debate as to how much of a maker's personal, acquired, feel for the treatment of materials has gone into a violin bearing his label.

There are makers who don't "farm out" work, examples are Guido Trotta and Luca Primon; both of these are married to makers but they don't collaborate with their spouses.

I once entered the workshop of a well-regarded Cremona maker - the proprietor whose name goes in the violins was standing there in a suit giving out the chat whilst a youngster toiled at the bench. Such is the way of the world.

So you can buy a violin bearing an "old" name but it could actually be made by a juvenile, albeit under strict supervision.

I don't play this Lucci violin much - I regard it more as an investment, and prefer to bash around violins which were bought more cheaply ! But on a good day I can get a good result from it.

PS as to "Are late Strads/del Gesus favoured over early ones?" :- The most famous Stradivaris were made when this maker was about 70 years old. Del Gesù, by however, only lived to be about 46.

If you want a new Italian violin today, made by an oldster, contact Francesco Bissolotti or G.B. Morassi. Don't forget Renato Scrollavezza !

March 1, 2014 at 06:08 PM · I attended a recital last evening by Leonidas Kavakos playing three of Beethoven's violin sonatas with pianist Enrico Pace. It was an excellent concert. Kavakos is playing the complete Beethoven sonatas cycle in Carnegie Hall over three days starting on Sunday, so those of you living in the NYC area are going to have a great treat if you go to hear him.

I sat front row centre for last evening's concert and was looking straight up at Kavakos and his violin. I know that he owns the Abergavenny Strad, but the violin he played last evening looked too new to be his Strad -- I thought it was a modern Strad copy. I looked at Kavakos' website and I see that in addition to his Strad, he also owns moderns by F. Leonhard, S.P. Greiner, E. Haahti and D. Bague, so I believe he was playing one of his moderns last evening.

March 2, 2014 at 05:10 AM · Either he didn't want to bring his fiddle across the world, or he was worried about the climate. I'm sure he sounded great regardless.

March 2, 2014 at 05:54 AM · Actually with current practices in varnish retouching, there are some genuine Strads that look practically brand new!!!

March 2, 2014 at 06:45 AM · Does David Garrett still play a Strad? The last dvd he made it didn't look like his strad. The violin had a different tailpiece different pegs, and the varnish looked rougher???? Bron

March 2, 2014 at 07:50 AM · Hi,

Jeremy: many airlines have been creating havoc for musicians about bringing the instruments onboard because they are enforcing the regulations about the size of what can be put in the overheads. It's been a problem in Europe recently, and Canada as well, where one has to negotiate quite a bit. Some artists simply aren't taking chances as airlines cannot be held responsible for any damages to anything put under.

That said, in this case, if Mr. Kavakos chose to use one of his modern instruments for this concert, only he can answer as to the reasons for his choice.

March 2, 2014 at 10:14 AM · Stephen - I heard Kavakos do three of the Beethovens at Koerner hall here in Toronto on the 28th Feb. I had a seat over the stage (mezzanine) and could see right ontop of his violin - spectacular for watching his technique. Unfortunately I couldn't see into his violin to read the label! The violin was increadibly sweet and expressive but not particularly strong - I don't know if that helps to identify the maker.

I thought his slow movements - Spring and VII - were truly to die for. Understated and honest - congrats if you are reading :)

March 2, 2014 at 11:50 AM · Hi, I Think, that the strad, that Kavakos owns looks quite new, because of very good condition. I listened to many of his later concerts, wich are somewhere on youtube and the violin always looks very new. If the Abergavenny looks like this, I am not sure. Would be interesting to see, what he actually plays. And interesting too, that he plays a E. Haahti, I think this is a finnish maker, from helsinki. I heard he has a great name, but very expensive too.

March 3, 2014 at 06:04 PM · Milstein owned a violin Ansaldo Poggi. He brought it with him one day to his masterclass. I had a lesson that day and he invited me to try it. It was really nice! (He didn't invite any of us to try his Strad.) To the best of my knowledge he played all of his concerts and recordings on the Strad.

March 3, 2014 at 07:15 PM ·

March 3, 2014 at 07:58 PM · John Dalley of the Guarneri Quartet played on a Lupot.

June 11, 2014 at 10:30 AM · Regarding Tianwa Yang, I believe that she is currently playing on a del Gesu (1730) that she acquired on loan a few months ago. Incidentally, Naxos just released a really beautiful DVD of her performing Tchaikovsky and Brahms. It is really quite well done on all accounts. I've been really impressed by Ms. Yang since I first had occasion to hear her a couple of years ago.

November 27, 2014 at 06:08 PM · I am reading book 5 of "The Way They Play" and on page 216 Ruggiero Ricco is quoted as follows: "My other violin is a copy of a late del Gesu. It's a splendid-sounding and beautiful instrument which I play in many of my concerts. It was made by Luiz Bellini in New York."

Happy Thanksgiving to all US violinist.commers!

November 28, 2014 at 02:11 PM · Luiz Bellinis is from Sao Paulo and worked with Sacconi, a very fine maker indeed.

December 20, 2014 at 10:33 PM · Tedi Papavrami plays 2 modern violins by Christian Bayon

December 20, 2014 at 11:55 PM · Bin Huang played a modern violin, though of late it seems she's gotten loaned several older Italian instruments in succession. I can't remember the name of the maker of her modern, but when I heard her in concert years ago, I thought that violin did her no favors.

December 21, 2014 at 12:56 AM · Sergei Krilov, well know violinist in Europe, not so much here plays often on a violin made by his Russian/Italian violin maker father. His name is Alexander Krilov, but instruments made in Cremona are signed Allesandro Crillovi. I'm told that most of Sergei Krilov's Utube videos are made using his fathers violin. Very beautiful sound coming from a very talented young player.

April 5, 2015 at 05:00 PM · In Humphrey Burton's biography of Yehudi Menuhin, Burton writes that in 1936 Menuhin's "violin-maker friend Emile Francais made an emotional presentation...of the perfect replica he had made of Yehudi's 'Prince Khevenhuller' Stradivarius. It is not clear whether it was used for any of the recordings mentioned above, but he did occasionally play it in concerts (without informing the critics in advance), claiming that it had the same qualities as the original".

Much later on in the book, Burton writes: "Over the years Yehudi amassed a valuable private collection of violins and bows. He also commissioned new instruments from present-day makers in many parts of the world, and recorded the Brahms viola sonatas on a modern instrument in 1980."

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Find a Summer Music Program
Find a Summer Music Program

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Violinist.com Business Directory
Violinist.com Business Directory

Violinist.com Guide to Online Learning
Violinist.com Guide to Online Learning

Dominant Pro Strings

Antonio Strad Violin

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases



Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins


Metzler Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin



Johnson String Instrument and Carriage House Violins

Potter Violins

String Masters

Bein & Company

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine