Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What Violin Are They Playing? Is That A Strad?

Written by: Andy Fein, luthier at Fein Violins
 & Kevin Berdine

When you hear a great performer, do you ever wonder, "What violin are they playing? Is that a Strad?" A common assumption is that all violin soloists are playing on the violins of Antonius Stradivarius. Many are, but not all.

Then there are those lucky few that own and play on more than one great instrument. Two Stradivaris or a Stradivarius and a Guarnerius. Hmm, what should I play tonight?


1710 Lord Dunn-Raven Stradivari

Playing the 1703 Emiliani Stradivarius

1742 "Dushkin" Guarneri del Gesu
Sergio Peresson, Fein Violins SOLD this instrument for Mr. Zukerman

Hilary Hahn
1864 Copy of "Paganini's Cannone" made by J.B. Vuilaume
Peter and Wendela Moes

1700 Gofriller

Itzhak Perlman
1714 "Soil" Stradivari

1743 Sauret Guarneri delGesu

1714 "Sinsheimer/General Kyd" Stradivari

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg

1721 Peter Guarnerius

Augustin Hadelich

1721 "ex-Kiesewet" Stradivari

David Oistrakh
1702 "Conte di Fontana" Stradivari
1705 "Marsick" Stradivarius and 1671 "Oistrakh" Stradivari

1697 "Molitor" Stradivari

1730 "Royal Spanish" Stradivari

Fritz Kreisler

1711 Lady "Inchiquin" Stradivari
1711 Earl of "Plymouth" Stradivari
1726 "Greville" Stradivari

1733 "Huberman" Stradivari
1734 "Lord Amherst of Hackney" Stradivari

Maxim Vengerov

1727 "Kreutzer" Stradivari

Jascha Heifetz
1714 "Dolphin" Stradivari
1731 "Heifetz-Piel"Stradivari

1734 Stradivari
1736 Carlo Tononi

1742 ex-David Guarneri del Gesu

Nathan Milstein

1716 "Goldman" Stradivari
1710 "ex-Dancla" Stradivari
Ansaldo Poggi

Isaac Stern

1740 "Ysaye" Guarneri del Gesu
1728 "Kruse Vormbaum" Stradivari
1733 ex-Stern Bergonzi
1737 "Stern-Alard" Guarneri del Gesu
1739-1757 Michele Angelo Bergonzi

1750 "Arma Senkrah" Gaudagnini

1754 Guadagnini
1850 Copy of the "Panette" Guarneri made by Vuillaume

1840 "ex-Nicholas" Vuilaume
2 violins by Samuel Zygmuntowicz

1713 Gibson ex-Huberman Stradivari

1732 "Tom Tyler" Stradivari

1718 "Chanot-Chardon" Stradivari

1721 "Red-Mendelssohn" Stradivari

Sarah Chang

1717 Guarneri del Gesu


1742 ex-David Guarneri

1734 ex-Huberman Guarneri del Gesu

1714 "Soil" Stradivari
1733 "Khevenhuller" Stradivari

Gidon Kremer

1734 "Baron Feilitzsch" Stradivari

Lara St. John

1779 "Salabue" Guadagnini

image from her website

1702 "Lyall" Stradivari

Rachel Barton Pine

1742 "ex-Soldat" Guarneri

1770 Nicolo Gagliano

Kyung-wha Chung

"Harrison" Stradivari

image from National Music Museum Website

Gil Shaham

1699 "Countess Polignac"Stradivari

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  1. Kyung Chung-Wha no longer plays the Harrison Stradivari of 1693 — it is in the Shrine to Music Museum in South Dakota. She plays Michael Rabin's ex-Kubelik, Ferni del Gesu of 1735.

  2. That's very interesting, thank you. I wondered, can anyone shed light on the question which instrument did Kyung-Wha Chung use to make her recordings? According to Cozio.com, the del Gesu came into her possession in 1974, so presumably her iconic 1970 debut recording of Sibelus/Tchaikovsky was made using the Harrison 1693 Strad, which she parted with in 1984/5 sometime. After 1974, which recordings were made with the Strad vs. the del Gesu?

  3. Actually Ms Chung plays del Gesu ex-Rode more often these days, which she aquired around 85. So one can presume she sold Harrison to buy ex-Rode about then. She fell out of love for the Harrison relatively soon; as early as in 73, she already complains that Harrison can be too harsh. So one can assume she prefered ex-Kubelik for her post 74 recordings right up until her Con Amore recording in 85. I'm not sure which of the del Gesu she used for her post 85 recordings, but I can pretty much assuredly say she prefers ex-Rode in recent years.

  4. I would be interested to see a list of all players who played Michael Rabins " Kubelik " G. del Gusu 1735 after Michael died in 1972.

    1. It's a pity the list is not complete. Znaider, Ehnes, Zimmermann and Capucon would interest me too

    2. Prior to Rabin playing it, it was played by Kubelick as you mention, as well as Franz von Vecsey for a bit!

  5. Thanks for the comprehensive list. Salvatore Accardo is missing. So is Leonidas Kavakos. Also, it would be nice to include the newer generation violinists. I call them the "Sarah Chang's generation". All born circa 1980. They are Hillary Hahn, Janine Jensen, Julia Fischer, Renaud Capu├žon.

  6. Gidon Kremer plays mostly on a Nicolo Amati, and I think that's the violin his playing in the picture shown here.