Satu Vänskä, the assistant leader of the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO), is to play on a Stradivari bought by the orchestra’s own instrument fund. The violin, a composite of two instruments made by Stradivari between 1728 and 1729, was purchased from London dealer J.&A. Beare. It has been valued at AUS$1.79m (£1.2m). The Stradivari is the ACO Instrument Fund’s first acquisition, and according to the fund’s trustees, the violin is the only Stradivari owned in Australia.
The Stradivari joins three other fine Italian stringed instruments in the orchestra. Principal second violinist Helena Rathbone plays on a 1759 Guadagnini purchased by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in 1996. Principal cellist Timo-Veikko Valve plays on a 1729 Guarneri ‘filius Andrea’ bought for £400,000 in 2007 by arts philanthropist Peter Weiss, who gave the ACO a substantial gift to help the fund purchase the Stradivari violin. Also in 2007, an anonymous benefactor acquired the 1743 ‘Carrodus’ Guarneri ‘del Gesù’ violin that is played by ACO artistic director Richard Tognetti.