German star, stripped of Strad, plays New York on a loan violin

German star, stripped of Strad, plays New York on a loan violin


norman lebrecht

February 27, 2015

Frank-Peter Zimmermann, his manager says, is ‘playing a Guarnerius del Gesù violin, which he has on loan for a few weeks from a kind benefactor,’ after the Stradivarius he had played since 2002 was repossessed.

Well, that’s nice. But all is not as clear as previously presented.

The owners of the Strad said they offered to leave it with Zimmermann on paid loan after the contract expired last week, but that this offer was rejected by the violinist, who is trying to buy the Strad at below the owners’ valuation.

This is not a great heart-string issue. It’s just about money.

frank peter zimmermann



  • Milka says:

    Shows violinists not to be the brightest bulbs out there .

  • Gutstrung says:

    The false presumption here is that it is (or was) his violin. It was not. He knew the terms of the agreement. I hope his career up to this point has supplied him with the funds to buy the finest instrument possible, even if it is not the borrowed Stradivari he has been playing for over 12 years.

  • Roy Lisker says:

    What a shame! I would have gone through a snowstorm to get to New York to hear him give the concert on a Suzuki factory-made fiddle!

  • Alex says:

    all about the money for the violinist trying to buy a violing below market price? Or for the owner by protecting their investment? Norman, why dont you go and try to offer $1000 for a ferrari and then tell us how does it go for you?

  • Jane says:

    Violins generally have an insurance value that is higher than their market value. The troubled bank which lent FPZ the Strad is certainly carrying the instrument on its books at the highest possible appraisal. They would have some explaining to do vis á vis financial supervision if they would sell it for less. Having said that, it is perfectly reasonable for FPZ to try to buy the violin at a lower price. Although some Strads (in contrast to other beautiful, but less famous makes) often unleash bidding wars when they come to market, which may be what the bank is hoping for.
    Very few musicians – even top soloists like Frank-Peter Zimmerman – earn the kind of fees necessary to buy such instruments outright. After all, they don’t run hedge funds or banks!