Originally published on Sun October 12, 2014 6:52 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 â€” and thieves.
Nearly 300 years after the death of Antonio Stadivarius, the classical music world is paying up more and more millions for his violins. Â And audiences attend concerts advertised more for their instruments than those playing them.
The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns asks: should fiddles be calling the tunes?
The Stradivarius violin gets its name from master craftsman Antonio Stradivari. When he died in 1737, his secrets died with him: No one has ever been able to duplicate the sound of the violins or violas he made.
His instruments have taken on a mythical quality. Today they fetch millions of dollars at auctions; Sotheby's will soon auction off a viola that it expects to sell for $45 million.