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The Red Mendelssohn Stradivarius


The Red Mendelssohn Stradivarius was made by famous violin maker Antonio Stradivari in 1720. In 1999, this Strad also inspired the movie “The Red Violin“, which later went on to win the Academy Award for Best Musical Score.

Though crafted in the 1700s, the Red Mendelssohn Stradivarius went missing for 200 years before it resurfaced again in Berlin during the 1930s. The violin was then purchased by descendants of famous German composer, Felix Mendelssohn, which is also where the violin derived its name.

The Red Mendelssohn StradivariusElizabeth Pitcairn played the Red Mendelssohn Stradivarius with Philadelphia Youth Orchestra.
Credit: Philadelphia Youth Orchestra

The Strad is unique and exquisite in its design from its rich-red colour, and a red stripe on its top right. And it was also the design where it got the name of the Red Mendelssohn.

The violin is currently owned by American violin virtuoso Elizabeth Pitcairn. The prized instrument was presented to her as her 16th birthday gift by her grandfather, who bought it from a Christie’s auction at US$1.7 million in 1990.

During an interview, Pitcairn attributes the high value of the Red Mendelssohn Stradivarius to these three factors – clarity of sound, ease of execution and great power. The violin has also become her inspiration and companion over the years.

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