Chicago fine violin dealer Bein and Fushi is one of the pre-eminent sellers of high-end violins in the world. I have not visited the store, on South Michigan Avenue, but I would like to soon.
An outgrowth of the shop is The Stradivari Society. The Society acts as a broker between talented young musicians and patrons of the arts – owners of high-end instruments become patrons to the Society by loaning their instruments to musicians of promise. The first loan was brokered in 1985, and the Society formally came into being in 1989. Joshua Bell, Leonidas Kavakos, Sarah Chang and Janine Jensen are just a few of the world famous violinists who were paired with fine instruments thanks to The Stradivari Society; the list is a who’s who of contemporary virtuosos.
The Society is especially proud of recipients like Bell and its very first artist – Midori Goto. Both ended up being able to purchase the instruments that were on loan to them.
I have wondered how the deals to loan out high-end instruments are brokered, so this is one way. I suspect that many owners of fine instruments are simply major patrons of the arts, and that their connections enable their instruments to find their ways into the hands of the world’s best players. I’m happy there’s an organization working to help young people break out in this way.
Thanks for reading.