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When a Stradivarius costs $45m, creating an Art Fund’ for musical instruments is vital

When a Stradivarius costs $45m, creating an Art Fund’ for musical instruments is vital

A Stradivarius viola (pictured) made the headlines last month with an asking price of $45m (?27m) at a forthcoming Sotheby’s sale. Next to that stratospheric figure, a mere ?200k for a historic Italian violin might seem a reasonable price.

Yet for an orchestral musician on an ever-diminishing income, or a young graduate musician starting out as a freelance soloist, such an expense is most likely going to come as a choice between a mortgage or an instrument. UK banks loan for bricks and mortar a bank manager is most likely to baulk at the idea of a loan for a violin. As the leader of BBC Symphony Orchestra Stephen Bryant explained at the recent Amati Exhibition, for a string player, it’s often the difference between having a home and a family or a violin’.