The instrument has been in the collection of the Chimei Culture Foundation since 1991

William Wei

William Wei with the 1722 ‘Joachim, Elman’ Stradivari. Photo: Yun-Shiou Tsai

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Taiwanese violinist William Wei has been granted the use of the 1722 ‘Joachim, Elman’ Stradivari violin by the Chimei Culture Foundation. The instrument has been part of the foundation’s collection since 1991, but this is the first time it has been given to a musician on extended loan.

The instrument takes its name from the 19th-century violinist Joseph Joachim, who owned it until 1878; and Mischa Elman, who used it as his principal performing instrument for 46 years from 1907 to 1953. It was also owned by the US collector Samuel Bloomfield and the violinist Josef Suk II, grandson of the composer, who used it until 1991 when it was acquired by the foundation.

Joachim Elman

The 1722 ‘Joachim, Elman’ Stradivari. Photos: Chimei Museum

Wei, 28, studied at the Juilliard School and later gained a master’s degree under Kolja Blacher at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin. He is a laureate of the 2015 Queen Elisabeth International Violin Competition, and received the first prize (competing as Ching-Yi Wei) at the 2013 Thomas & Evon Cooper International Competition in Oberlin, OH, US.

Speaking to New Aspect Creatives, Wei said he had had a personal connection to the ‘Joachim, Elman’ since he first heard it at the home of the foundation’s president, Shi Wen-long. ‘I was completely attracted to its sound,’ he recalled. ‘It has a sweet tone and a very deep bass register. It could be said that I’ve been thinking about this violin since I was twelve years old! Now that I can borrow it, the biggest dream in my life has come true.’

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Watch William Wei perform ‘Träumerei’ from Schumann’s Kinderszenen op.15 no.7 on the ’Joachim, Elman’:

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