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The Legacy of Stradivarius comes to life at the Musical Instrument Museum


PHOENIX – The Legacy of Stradivarius is coming to life as never before at the Musical Instrument Museum at a unique exhibit that opens Jan. 16.

As part of its five-year anniversary celebration, the MIM is bringing Stradivarius: Origins and Legacy of the Greatest Violin Maker to the community. Violins, an internationally beloved instrument, will be the stars of this new exhibition, which showcases 10 exceptional historic and modern examples from the string family, including a 1728 Stradivarius violin on public display for the first time in the United States.

On view only at MIM, this one-of-a-kind exhibition introduces the story of how early violin makers from the modest Italian city of Cremona shaped music from the 16th century onward. These timeless masterpieces were handcrafted by master luthiers, including Andrea Amati, the founding father of the violin; the rogue genius Guarneri del Gesù; and the master himself – Antonio Stradivari. The exhibition includes several modern-day masterworks that demonstrate the continuing influence of early masters.

Stradivarius: Origins and Legacy of the Greatest Violin Maker is presented in partnership with Cremona-based institutions Museo del Violino and the Friends of Stradivari.

“Since its inception, MIM has collaborated with prestigious national and international institutions that share a similar vision,” said April Salomon, executive director of MIM. “Now for the first time, MIM has the great privilege to bring this extraordinary exhibition to Arizona, allowing us to share these remarkable instruments with guests from around the world.”

The exhibition, featured in MIM’s Target Gallery, will allow guests to hear and see the instruments on display using audio and video technology that will bring the violin to life as never before.

“We have transformed the exhibition space into a multi-sensory experience complete with compelling sound and visuals,” said Kathleen Wiens, PhD, MIM’s curator for Europe. Wiens noted, “When visitors walk into the gallery, they will be taken on a journey from the Fiemme Valley forest, where the early masters sourced their wood, through violin maker’s workshops, European royal courts, science labs and finally to the thrilling concert stage. It will be an experience like no other.”

Visitors to this exhibition will have the rare opportunity to see firsthand the fine craftsmanship of these extraordinary treasures. Similar violins have garnered increased attention on the collectors’ market and most recently the “Lady Blunt” Stradivarius was purchased for more than $15 million US dollars. In addition to appreciating their value, visitors will discover what makes these prized instruments unique, both in design and tone.

Stradivarius: Origins and Legacy of the Greatest Violin Maker will be on display through June 5, with special opening weekend activities taking place Jan. 16 and 17. To commemorate the exhibition, MIM will host concerts featuring talented violinists: compelling virtuosa Rachel Barton Pine, foremost jazz violinist of her generation Regina Carter, champion of American music Mark O’Connor, and the incomparable Midori. The concert series will conclude with treasured instruments of the Valley brought to life by members of the exceptionally talented ASU String Faculty. As a finale to this special exhibition, MIM will have an “Experience Italy” weekend June 4 and 5 to celebrate Italian music and culture.

Admission to this MIM exhibit is $10 for the exhibit only, or $7 with general museum admission. The Musical Instrument Museum is located at 4725 E. Mayo Boulevard in Phoenix (corner of Tatum and Mayo Boulevards, just south of Loop 101).

For general museum information and a full schedule of events, visit or call (480) 478-6000.