Student sues Royal Academy professor over sale of violin

Student sues Royal Academy professor over sale of violin


norman lebrecht

March 27, 2019

Central London county court is hearing a case brought by Ms Ruzica West against Professor Mateja Marinkovic over the sale of an 18th century violin.

Ms West claims that in 2016 she sold her teacher the Landolfi violin, a family heirloom, for what she believed to be £40,000 – the sum of £26,000 in cash, plus a violin worth, she was told, £14,000.

She claims the substitute violin was worth just £1,500.

Mateja Marinkovic, a former professor at the Royal Academy of Music, is said to be presently teaching in China. He is still listed as RAM staff.

He was not in court. The case has been adjourned for trial in the summer.







  • Simon Scott says:

    I’m disgusted

  • aj says:

    It’s the violin world to-day….hustlers paradise’
    It is always advisable to count the silver ware
    before the dealer leaves the house.Quite a few are incarcerated which should be a warning flag ….

  • Simon Scott says:

    Dietmar Machold is now working in a watch shop in Vienna……

    • Paul Andrews says:

      Any idea where in Vienna this watch shop is???? I know someone who lost a lot of money through Machold’s dubious dealings.

  • Ex-RAM student says:

    He is my old professor and the story is absolutely not as black and white as this.

  • John G. says:

    Trust, but verify!

  • Kypros M says:

    A Landolphi for £40,000 This does not sound right unless it was in poor condition or not a very good one.

    • Simon Scott says:

      Not much change from £100k I would say

    • Susan says:

      Ruzica West sold her violin, made by Carlo Ferdinando Landolfi, to her teacher in 2016. The instrument had been valued at £80,000.

      West had fallen into financially difficulties so in order to sell the violin quickly, she agreed Marinkovic could pay her £40,000 for the instrument. He paid her £26,000 and gave her a French violin, which had been valued for £14,000, in part-exchange.

      A professional valuation of the French valuation in 2017 found the instrument to be worth just £1,500. Ruzica West is suing her former teacher for the missing money and the valuer of the French violin. West told the court: “[Marinkovic] told me it was a very good violin and that he wanted to help me. I was desperate and needed the money, and I had to accept his offer because if I had taken it to an auctioneer, I would have waited for a long time for it to be resold. Mateja was offering some of the money straight away.”

      • Bill says:

        Seems like she should have gotten that “professional valuation” of the violin she took in trade up front. Also worth noting that there are different sorts of valuations for instruments which can lead to appreciably different numbers for the same instrument. An insurance appraisal, for example, is designed to give you a valuation which will enable you to actually replace the instrument. That may be a different figure than an appraisal of what you as an individual might be able to achieve selling it. The difference may not be sufficient to go from 14,000 to 1,500; I suspect there is some dispute about what instrument in question actually is.

    • Bill says:

      It sounds like it could be right if you have someone who needs money now. Selling a violin is not like cashing in a savings bond; they are not readily liquidated for top price overnight. And in the case of a motivated seller who bought at a much lower price, the possiblility of a quick sale with prompt payment may unlock substantial discounts.

  • I always wonder about the pricing of string instruments.

    The frequency and circumstances of transactions are not such that you can confidently say market forces are at work to bring a fair value to the object.

    • aj says:

      The pricing is determined by dealers who may be looked upon as con artists, selling a” brand”
      name often abetted by players themselves. It is all-about the mighty $$ and people buying history .
      If the truth be told many contemporary makers
      match and often surpass the sound qualities of
      Strads which has been proven in many “blind” studies .
      But what one hears is often determined by the advertised cost of the instrument not the instrument itself . Every two bit virtuoso wants
      you to know they play upon a Strad or Guanerius
      that costs millions, conveniently not mentioning
      its the master player and the magic bow that makes the difference.

  • For information says:

    For information: Two Landolfi violins were sold in Milan at auction in 2016 and 2017. May 14, 2017 at Skinner Auction House price £124,041 and May 14, 2016 at Bromptom’s Auction house £ 180,000. Confirm at Tarisio Webaddress: