In a symphonious report for Vox, producer Dean Peterson posits the very valid question as to why Stradivarius violins are worth millions. He proceeds to get his question answered through a series of interviews with musicians, luthiers and historians. What he found was that the Stradivarius violins are extremely rare – only 650 in existence, and many of those have stayed within families, estates and orchestras. One such Strad was played by Michelle Kim, assistant concertmaster at the New York Philharmonic, who explained the tone as being silvery but “able to take some blows”.
…maybe the worth of a Strad isn’t wrapped up in its sound alone. Michelle’s violin has been passed down through generations of violinists for almost 300 years, from the Duke of Cambridge, to the German composer Louis Spohr, to Ureli Corelli, the founder of the New York Philharmonic. It is literally a link to the past. It is a piece of history that you are holding.