Australian Chamber Orchestra acquires rare 300-year-old Stradivarius violin


One of the most remarkable violins in the world has a new home in Australia.

A rare 300-year-old Stratavarius is the Australian Chamber Orchestra's newest prized possession. 

It's one of only 650 made by Italian craftsman Antonio Stradivari that are still in existance and only the second to be brought to Australia. 

ACO Chairman Guido Belgiorno-Nettis purchased the instrument for an undisclosed amount and has handed it over to the orchestra on a long-term loan.

"We feel that the palette that it's adding is priceless," Mr Belgiorno-Nettis said. 

"So we don't think we need to talk about the actual price of the instrument, we should talk about what benefits it's bringing to the audiences and people who can enjoy it, including ourselves." 

He and his wife enjoyed a private performance at Government House on Monday night, confirming his late mother would have approved of the investment.  

"She would have been extremely proud last night if she knew that her funds had gone towards buying an instrument like this. She was a passionate renaissance follower, she was passionate about music."

The 300-year-old violin is one of only 650 made by Stradivari that has survived.
The 300-year-old violin is one of only 650 made by Stradivari that has survived.

Finnish violinist Satu Vänskä has been tasked with bringing the precious instrument to life.

She's spent several months getting to know its unique qualities before the first public performance in April. 

"It's got a personality of its own, it is telling me how to play it," she said.

"It's not so much that I play the violin it's the violin (that) plays me and tells me how to play it."

She's mindful of the incredible history of the instrument. 

"You wonder about all the world events these violins have survived," she said.

"It puts it into perspective how insignificant my own life playing time is compared to what this violin has survived."

The public will get their first chance to see her play it live in April.

Beethoven's Romance for Violin has been chosen for the rare instrument's Australian debut. 

"It's a gift for me and I hope to think it's also a gift for the audiences," Ms Vanska said.

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