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The Stradivari Myth

A discussion with Florian Leonhard and Harald Eggebrecht

When one talks about violins, the name Antonio Stradivari will inevitably be mentioned. He was the most famous of all Italian luthiers, many of which have studied and worked in Cremona. Of about 1000 violins made by Stradivari, a little over 400 are still playable today. However, not all of them are as outstanding as the much-discussed ›Lady Inchiquin‹, who was played by German violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann for over ten years.

But Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù and Carlo Bergonzi have built incredible instruments as well, and luthier schools existed not only in Cremona, but also in Venice, Rome, Mantua, and Brescia. Why have the violin proportions that were developed and refined by Andrea Amati during the 16th century been adjusted only minimally during the course of the centuries? What can be said about the secrets of varnish, wood, and other myths?

And what about modern violins? Who would be considered as a contemporary successor of Stradivari and what can be said about violins made from synthetic fiber, carbon fiber, and other materials? In a discussion with Harald Eggebrecht, renowned London-based violin expert Florian Leonhard will address these and other questions.

Host: Harald Eggebrecht (journalist for Süddeutsche Zeitung and other publications)
Podium: Florian Leonhard (violin expert and restorer) | Suyoen Kim (first prize winner of the ›Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition‹ 2006)

 


Harald Eggebrecht

Dr. Harald Eggebrecht was born in 1946 in Helmstedt. He studied literature, musicology, and art history in Munich and Berlin. Between 1981 and 1987, he held the position of culture editor at the NDR. Today, he works as a freelance author for the Süddeutsche Zeitung and other publications. He is a member of several literature panels (among them the Publisher’s Award of the State Capitol of Munich) and music competitions (among them the Louis Spohr Competition Weimar, the Klassik Preis Österreich – GRADUS AD PARNASSUM, the ARD Competition Munich, and the Joseph Joa-chim International Violin Competition Hannover). He is highly sought-after as a lecturer on music (Heidelberg Spring, Nymphenberg Summer, and others). Eggebrecht is the author of a number of publications on literature, arts, and music (topics include Goethe, Karl May, Sergiu Celibidache, Henri Rousseau, and Philipp Otto Runge). His books ›Große Geiger‹ (Great Violinists) and ›Große Cellisten‹ (Great Cellists) are among the standard works of music literature.