Originally published on Sun October 12, 2014 5:52 pm
Stradivarius violins are so important that they come with their own biographies. Several hundred of them survive today, and they're so prized, you can trace their lineages through the musicians who played them over the centuries.
The instruments have been valued at prices ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to several million. That kind of money attracts a lot of nonmusicians, like investors — and thieves.
Each season, the San Antonio Symphony welcomes a handful of new musicians to its ranks…and this season, the orchestra welcomes a new assistant concertmaster. Violinist Sarah Silver is a Pittsburgh native whose father is a long time violist in the Pittsburgh Symphony. Her mother is a music teacher and orchestra director in the public school system. It’s not too surprising that Sarah ended up falling in love with music at a very young age.
The San Antonio Symphony’s season is done and won’t start until September. So what are all those musicians doing with their time? I found out at least one of them isn't exactly kicking back for the summer. Aimee Toomes, who plays violin in the symphony, was one of those kids who picked up an instrument early.
“I started playing violin when I was a fourth grader in public school, and 20 something years later I’m a violinist with the San Antonio Symphony,” she said.
She’s no slouch when it comes to how she learned her trade.
A trumpet is more or less a trumpet. A clarinet is a clarinet. But violin or a viola... they are different. More like living breathing things. Hand crafted from wood, from a tree. Every one is different. And, you know the story. Antonio Stradivari, was the master. Some say the greatest violin maker to ever live. The Stradivarius is one of the most powerful and expensive brands in the world.
Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 1:27 pm
The Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists is kind of a big deal. It's been called "the Olympics of violin," which is apt, as it's a worldwide competition that brings together the best young talent in its field.
Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 6:55 pm
Police in Milwaukee have recovered a Stradivarius violin and arrested three suspects in its theft. The instrument, said to be worth approximately $5 million, was stolen in a brazen armed robbery from the concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra late last month. Mitch Teich of WUWM in Milwaukee reports on the violin's recovery.