1804 violin is lost on a Manchester train

1804 violin is lost on a Manchester train


norman lebrecht

January 25, 2020

Chetham’s student Poppy Wald-Harding, 18, left an 1804 Joseph Strauss violin on a train at Manchester Victoria station.

Her mother is appealing for its return.

UPDATE: It’s been found in Lost Property


  • Bostin'Symph says:

    Monty, our beagle (a breed notorious for following their noses and disappearing) has a tracker attached to his collar, allowing us to determine where he is, using a mobile phone app.

    With all these precious instruments being left on public transport, it might be worth the cost of a tracker attached to their cases.

    I wish Poppy well for a happy ending to this story.

    • alma regina says:

      You can’t put a GPS tracker inside a violin…

      • Bostin'Symph says:

        LOL. It didn’t even occur to me that someone might think of putting a tracker *in* a violin. I was thinking that the case might accommodate the tracker.

      • Mr. Knowitall says:

        There are several trackers that are marketed for violin cases. Some also connect to an app that triggers an alarm if the case strays too far from its owner. In the case, a vibrating smart phone would have warned Poppy Wald-Harding that she was forgetting her violin.

  • Esther Cavett says:

    From the local news “Poppy, who also had her saxophone with her at the time, said she was tired from jet-lag when she got off the train, leaving the violin behind her in a rack above her seat.”

    • V.Lind says:

      Tough. It was presumably not even her property. If she can’t take jet-lag, time for a career change — like siting at a supermarket checkout. I have NO sympathy for this sort of story.

      • Symphony musician says:

        To V. Lind.
        In writing something like that you come across as a) not a busy working musician, b) someone who believes they’re infallible and c) callously unsympathetic.
        Don’t you think this poor young woman is suffering enough already? Can you not even conceive that very occasionally a musician might do the unimaginable and accidentally leave an instrument behind (I’ve done it, and I know several others)? Can you not see the value of this website in helping track down lost instruments?
        I wish people who are tempted to post mean-spirited, misanthropic comments would pause and think better of it.
        I hope Poppy’s violin is found and returned quickly, possibly with the assistance of publicity on this site.

        • V.Lind says:

          I hope it is returned quickly too and I agree SD is doing a good service in promoting the fact of its loss.

          But how many times have we read this story? I am not misanthropic, nor unsympathetic to how the girl must feel right now, and I am far from perfect. But the number of violins left on trains and the number of times the excuse of being tired is used is just a bit much.

          And she had a sax with her, “her” saxophone. Surely when she lifted that to take she remembered that she had a violin as well? How tired was she and jet la from what — is she an international concert violinist and saxophonist? Does she get jet lag from trains?

          I would like to see CCTV from that train to see how much of the trip she had her face glued to her phone. At her age it would be a minor miracle if it was not ten-tenths of he time. And if her mind was on some inane text from her many “friends,” some of whom she has actually met, my sympathy diminishes even further.

      • Christopher Clift says:

        You SHOULD show sympathy – this can happen to anyone – when I was young (I DO remember that far back!) I left my violin (1773 Bavarian for the record) on a train in London – I was lucky enough to find it in the Lost Property office at Baker Street. I went on to college, and afterwards, play for a living for almost 40 years.

      • Brian v says:

        I agree I have been working for 50 years I always had took care with other people’s property.

        Brian 1

  • Dave T says:

    And I thought I was having a bad day.

  • Peter San Diego says:

    I’m curious; Alberto Bachmann’s “Encyclopedia of the Violin” (1925, reprinted by Dover Publications, 2008) lists Joseph Strauss as being active between 1750 and 1775 (p. 44 of the Dover reprint). Has newer information about his activity been discovered since Bachmann’s volume?

    I certainly hope Ms Wald-Harding’s violin is recovered; if not, I hope she can find the means to obtain an instrument of equivalent characteristics.

    • V.Lind says:

      Well, if you would lend a valuable and rare violin to someone who has left another one on a train, more fool you.

      Yes, things happen, but this smells phone-related.

  • PHF says:

    Well, we can’t expect anything wiser than that from anyone with this age.

  • Toronto says:

    Yo-Yo Ma left his Strad cello in the trunk of a taxi. Tired and distracted. He got it back. Stuff happens.

    • Mr. Knowitall says:

      Exactly. In fact Lynn Harrell did the same thing, I think the same year and in the same city, New York, as Yo-Yo Ma. A colleague of mine has twice left saxophones on trains. Tired people, traveling people, distracted people make mistakes. People forget the baby’s in the back seat or the dog is still in the back yard or the burner is still on under the tea. What’s the point of shaming musicians for being human?

    • Peter San Diego says:

      So did violinist Philippe Quint, if I recall correctly,

  • John d'N says:

    How about the principal cello of Los Angeles Phil who left the symphony-owned Strad cello on his front porch one night after coming home from rehearsal. It almost ended up being “converted” into a CD storage case by someone who found it in the trash where the thief jettisoned it. I don’t think the cellist was 18 or jet-lagged from rehearsal.

  • Bruce says:

    V.Lind —

    If you accept the premise that talented musicians need good instruments to perform on, and also accept that these musicians are also human and subject to such complaints as jet lag, exhaustion, and forgetfulness, and given that it is (so far) impossible to predict who, in the future, will someday leave their instrument somewhere — how would you propose to remedy this problem?

    (P.S. I like the idea of a tracking device in the case, which notifies the person’s phone when they get too far away. It could be a requirement of the lender. However, it would also be subject to human nature: since musicians often have to leave their cases in a dressing room or someplace for rehearsal, the alarm would inevitably be turned off at some point, and then the person would have to remember to turn it back on. Or they could forget their phone. Or, or, or.)

    • V.Lind says:

      What is this “jet lag”? Had this 18-year-old just flown in from somewhere far enough away to bring on jet lag, followed by a train journey, schlepping two instruments but apparently no luggage?

      How tired can 18-year-olds get? She was not working in a factory, or doing any heavy lifting, cleaning floors, standing all day waiting tables in a busy diner, or even a day of mind-numbing work (like sitting at a checkout counter).

      Count on it — her face, and her mind, were in and on her phone.

      • Christopher Clift says:

        What’s it like to have such amazing powers of deduction V Lind?

      • Hayley Harding says:

        I can confirm that Parthenope had flown in from Boston, via Heathrow – stopping at Leeds to collect her violin before heading back to Chetham’s. She had been in Boston for just four days – full of rehearsals and a final performance at Berklee. She was tired. And jetlagged. And carrying her luggage.
        I am not sure why you are fixated on her being on a phone, it is what young people do. It certainly isn’t a problem for her, nor does it affect her practise or her ability to live life to the full.