130th Anniversary: Taking Stock
As The Strad celebrates its 130th anniversary this month, stringed instrument expert Philip Kass looks at the future of the industry, while music journalist Charlotte Gardner examines what might be on the cards for players
Back in 1998, a discussion arose with colleagues concerning the present state of the violin trade and violin making. We reflected on the changes that had occurred over the centuries, and on the trade in old instruments and bows. One colleague voiced the opinion that violin making might well have reached its pinnacle that very year. It seemed, at first, a surprising comment, but when balanced against all the changes then afoot it became in our estimation a very realistic observation.
I have kept those thoughts in mind in the years since that meeting and when examining the subsequent changes in the world. Although things have not turned out exactly as anticipated in 1998, in many respects they have followed those expectations – though additional factors that have modified the present were not necessarily anticipated or expected. Now, 20 years into the 21st century, it seems appropriate to look back again, take stock of where we are now, and see whether our crystal balls offer a clearer vision. And in my view, the violin world has never been in such good shape.