The Legacy of Stradivarius comes to life as never before at the MIM

Opening Jan. 16, as part of its five-year anniversary celebration, the Musical Instrument Museum will bring to Arizona Stradivarius: Origins and Legacy of the Greatest Violin Maker.

Violins, an internationally beloved instrument, will be the star 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.

The Prince Doria c. 1734 violin by Bartolomeo Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu (photo by Museo del Violino)

The Prince Doria c. 1734 violin by Bartolomeo Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu (photo by Museo del Violino)

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, according to a press release.

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,” stated April Salomon, executive director of MIM, in the release. “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,” stated Kathleen Wiens, PhD, MIM’s curator for Europe, in the release. “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 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, 2016, with special opening weekend activities taking place Jan. 16 and 17.

To commemorate the exhibition, MIM will host concerts featuring some of the world’s most 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 Strings 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 is to be $10 for “Stradivarius: Origins and Legacy of the Greatest Violin Maker” exhibition only or $7 when purchased with general museum admission.

The Musical Instrument Museum is located at 4725 E. Mayo Boulevard in Phoenix.

For general museum information and a full schedule of events, visit or call 480.478.6000.

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