Grumiaux’s violin is back in play, from tomorrow

Grumiaux’s violin is back in play, from tomorrow


norman lebrecht

January 20, 2016

The Général Dupont Stradivarius (1727), wrongly reported to have been left on a German train, is about to return to the concert circuit.

The instrument, once owned by the celebrated virtuoso Arthur Grumiaux, has been loaned by its Chinese-German owner to the German soloist  Frank Peter Zimmermann. He will play it for the first time in the German premiere of Magnus Lindberg’s second concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic tomorrow (January 21).

The violin that was left on a train by an American soloist was a lower pedigree Strad.

A year ago, Frank Peter was forced to return his previous Strad to the foundation that owned it.


frank peter zimmermann

from the press release:

The “Dupont, Grumiaux” Stradivarius is lent to Frank Peter Zimmermann by Mr. Yu, a Chinese-German entrepreneur and philanthropist. [Mr. Yu, who studied and lived in Germany for many years, revolutionized the Chinese paint market over 20 years ago with the introduction of imported German water-based, environmentally friendly paint. He is dubbed in China as the ‘father of environmental paint’].

Mr. Yu is an avid art and rare instruments collector, with over ten fine Italian and French violins and bows in his current collection, and plays the violin since his childhood. The “Dupont, Grumiaux” Stradivarius was purchased in February 2015 at Rare Violins of New York, and has since been lent to leading Chinese musicians for concerts in Mainland China. This Stradivarius violin is the first of its kind to be brought to China, allowing Chinese violinists for the first time to perform with an outstanding Strad in their home country.

This Stradivarius instrument was played by Arthur Grumiaux for his iconic recordings of Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas, which formed part of the ‘Golden Record’ sent into space by the Voyager 1 spacecraft in 1977.

A fortuitous and unexpected meeting between Mr. Yu and Frank Peter Zimmermann on 19 October 2015, during which Zimmermann played on this violin for less than five minutes, led to the highly unusual decision by Zimmermann to relinquish his violin at the time and choose the Dupont Grumiaux Strad for his performance in Shanghai the next day. Zimmermann’s enchantment with the Dupont Grumiaux Strad and his last-minute decision of switching instruments was reported by the Shanghai Morning Post the next day as a major headline.

Since then, Mr. Yu has agreed to lend this instrument to Zimmermann for a couple of years. Mr. Yu is in the process of establishing the Yu Art Foundation, a philanthropic foundation dedicated to strengthen Western classical music in China and support Chinese musicians through scholarships, instrument lending, and the convening of music festivals. He has attracted much interest from both the private and public sector with his project. China’s largest real estate developer Wang Shi, the president of Vanke, agreed to serve as honorary president of the Yu Art Foundation, as well as Xu Xiaoping, China’s number one investor of start-up businesses.


  • Holly Golightly says:

    I was pretty shocked to learn recently that Andre Rieu owned a Stradivarius. This would only be for investment purposes, surely.

  • FreddyNYC says:

    Hmm and I always thought he favored the Guarneri……

    • Max Grimm says:

      I don’t know if he favours Guarneri over Stradivari or vice versa but I recall him, in interviews, always being an outspoken Stradivari fan. He’s also expressed on several occasions that his (now previous) instrument, the Lady Inchiquin Stradivarius, was the one violin (in terms of its attributes, not its name) he’s sought and longed for all of his musical life.