• Festival del Sole
  • Alondra de la Parra
  • Castello di Amorosa
  • Joshua Bell
  • Polina Semionova
  • Festival del Sole
  • Pinchas Zukerman
  • Far Niente
  • Arturo Sandoval
  • Yoga in the Vineyards
  • Sphinx Virtuosi

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Curious Life of Joshua Bell’s Gibson Stradivarius

In honor of Throw Back Thursday, we thought we’d give you a little background on our Opening Night star’s Stradivarius, which turned 300 last year. Now, safely in the hands of Joshua Bell, this stunning violin didn’t always have the best of times. 

A 2004 article in the New York Daily News profiled Bell’s rare violin, tracing its origins back to scandalous times that Hollywood writers wish they could dream up. 

As it turned out the Gibson Stradivarius (name in part after a previous owner, George Alfred Gibson, a prominent English violinist) belonged to a Polish violinist named Bronislaw Huberman. According to the article, following a 1936 performance at Carnegie Hall, Huberman left his treasured Gibson Strad in his dressing room, which vanished before the recital was over. 

Sadly that was not the first time Huberman and his Stradivarius had fallen victim to theft. In 1916, it was first stolen from the violinist at a hotel in Vienna. Sadly, after the second theft, Huberman never met up with his treasured instrument again. 

The mystery of how the Gibson Strad was stolen was revealed some 50 years later, when Julian Altman, a lesser know violinist, on his deathbed confessed to stealing the violin under the direction of his mother. 

After floating in and out of various violinists hands, the Gibson Stradivarius was about to be sold to a German museum, something Bell could not stomach. So in 2001, he made a rather large purchase and acquired the violin for nearly $4 million. 

To read the complete article, please click here

If you’re officially sold on hearing Joshua Bell perform with this stunning instrument, we’re offering Allegro Passes for Opening Night at Castello di Amorosa for only $300, regularly $349. 

Please visit our website to purchase your passes and use the discount code STRAD.