Mega-agent’s Strad is still missing after 19 years

Mega-agent’s Strad is still missing after 19 years


norman lebrecht

February 14, 2021

Known as ‘Le Marien’, this valuable Strad was stolen from a New York showroom in April 2002, and the insurers paid up.

On a warm spring day in April 2002, an 18th Century Stradivarius violin, created by master craftsman Antonio Stradivari, went missing from the showroom of a Lincoln Center area rare violin workshop and store

The Strad belonged…. wait for it …. to IMG’s questionable owner Barrett Wissman.

Read on here.



  • Greg Bottini says:

    “The Strad belonged…. wait for it …. to IMG’s questionable owner Barrett Wissman.”
    And now…. wait for it …. it’s missing.
    Perhaps…. wait for it …. it will be found again.

  • Jack says:

    What is a ‘questionable owner’?

    Is there some question as to whether he is the owner?
    Is he some sort of questionable person?
    Or is it questionable that he owns IMG?

  • David K. Nelson says:

    An intriguingly strange story. Now it is true that even when a minor leaguer such as myself wanders into a high end violin shop you sometimes marvel at the wonders that they’ll happily and rather casually put into your hands — I was once at Bein & Fushi in Chicago just to buy strings and Joe Overmeyer behind the counter said “wait, you’ll want to see this, we just got it in: the oldest playable violin in the world!” and handed me a rare Gaspar da Salo. “Want to try it out?” I was too scared to put it under my chin much less go into one of their practice rooms with the thing and happily handed it back to him. And while sneaking a Strad out of a showroom might seem quite a trick, also recall that there are regular customers coming in and out with violin cases all day long. Never once at a violin shop was I asked “sir would you mind just showing us the inside of your case before you leave?” but would not have taken offense if they had.

    Nonetheless … a Strad goes missing from a violin shop but the shop owner can’t even pin point which day out of three it went missing? And seems rather dismissive about the distraught owner’s claim because the top was heavily worked on (which usually does indeed decrease value, but we’re still talking 7 figures).

    Well I checked my case and I don’t have it. Or the Gaspar da Salo either I’m relieved to say.

  • Nijinsky says:

    You don’t believe ANY of this poppy cock do you. And the Morini strad has been so missing I could tell you which soloist currently is playing it and none of them care to see what they got into that could recognize it. Or when Mr. Bell came by my window, with someone else, in the middle of the night, fortunately there was a parking lot in between, or you can go to 65 Caledonia 49505 and try yourself how delinquent anyone would have to be to be paying attention at such a distance. I was bowing and fingering a flute concerto of Vivaldi to see how the violin would do a fragment of it and I hear: “perfect” which since then means that the guy that got shot in The Netherlands, also supposedly dead, also is still around spoofing nonsense.

    Don’t believe ANYTHING of such people who are such rackets, it’s morose, and it’s simply NOT a means of living, its exploitation, and if any of them selling or making out they know what’s up with any of such instruments, don’t give them the means to find out whether you know what time of day it is.

  • Nijinsky says:

    Last paragraph should read: “Don’t believe ANYTHING of such people who are into such rackets, it’s morose, and it’s simply NOT a means of living, its exploitation, and if you end up having to deal with any of them selling or making out that they know what’s up with any of such instruments, don’t give them the means to find out whether you know what time of day it is.

  • Still missing?

    Buy a new one. The old one will show up!

    That works at my house for missing tools and kitchen utensils.

  • Nijinsky says:

    And, um… No, to know the truth, you don’t need the one violinist in your life that would organize an orgy in the Sistine chapel!

  • Nijinsky says:

    I hate reporting such things, consequently not only is the temperature in my house at least one degree above what I have ever allowed before when heating was required, but something in you know where that would feel better is getting colder.

    To begin with, with the complete hype amongst so many of them to make out they have the ability to construct instruments anywhere as resonant, as peaceful, and as decent, honest and true as what the preference is for most players, there already is already adequate material to see what kind of indecency, envy, stupidity and utter lack of imagination goes on. The Jo’n’ass brothers could make better instruments, just for a starter. Further more, the way that they con instrumentalists to allow them further damage to sometimes already irreparable former great instruments is beyond me. Not loosening the strings to look inside the instrument with the tail-piece plug (for some reason called the end-piece or button), acting as if they can see or hear whether the sound post, which should be straight, and should not be rubbing scratching into the inside of these instrument, and should be in such a fine fit that it requires no maintenance until moved by some accident, that they make out they know how to adjust this is utter fallacy. In fact the ring leader coming out to make out they all have it going has complained that it took him so many years to get a what he called “big name instrument” to sound the way it should, and then goes on about the frustrations rather than a peep of what he actually learned from such instruments. And there have been players going every week or so, given how little these people know what they are doing, believing it will ever reach a proper placement. I have seen the supposedly great whatever-his-name that Dylana Jenson had to end up being ‘happy” with take Joshua Bell’s violin (on camera, with corporate media sponsorship) and basically rape the insides of it, pulling the sound post with such a tug – the strings still tight enough to hold the bridge up, the button holding the end piece still in place, no look inside via the one place that was left for such necessary care – were the instrument not under pressure, which it shouldn’t have been, the tug could have collided with the ribs and possibly busted the instrument for good; but being under pressure he has scoured the insides, then without explaining he just did something akin to a surgical incision causes an extreme scream or losing of consciousness to the poor patient, by someone that doesn’t know what he’s doing to them, doesn’t know what’s wrong, doesn’t care to expose the very “training” he’s had allowing him such selfish uncaring inappropriate interpolation, and wouldn’t care to explain why the poor instrument is ruined, and STILL act like he has answers. Well! Joshua Bell isn’t playing on that instrument anymore. That being a man that last I heard gets 50 thousand dollars per instrument. And has somehow fooled the standard reference for where to go to think he has it going for them.

    And I’ve just listed the two most influential people concerning whether modern instruments are any good, and promotion of such lies.

    And I will NOW go on with my day.

  • Libor says:

    Will they be making a Netflix series on IMG Fraudster’s questionable owner Barrett Wissman and his violin? What an interesting story!!!! Do you think he paid the Chinese to steal it and have it brought back to Shanghai? But while en route to China, the Russian mafia heard where it was to have arrived, and arranged for an operation to gun down the Chinese, and take the violin back to Putin, who has started collecting rare musical instruments. However, during the shoot-out, one bullet pierced through the front of the violin. Putin wasn’t too happy with this carelessness and had the entire Russian mafia eliminated (In fact, Barrett Wissman’s business partner is a Billionaire Russian, and co-owner of IMG Fraudster’s). However, what the Chinese and Russians didn’t know was that IMG’s questionable owner Barrett Wissman who defrauded investors out of millions of dollars in fact had made a copy of the Strad violin. So the real Strad is in a special vault in his multi-million dollar mansion in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles. Episode 1 ends with Barrett Wissman getting a foot massage, smoking a big cigar while grinning, and holding the violin in his left hand!!! Can’t decide what the music for the ending should be!!! What about ”I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor?

    ”At first I was afraid, I was petrified
    Kept thinking I could never live without you by my side
    But then I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong
    And I grew strong
    And I learned how to get along
    And so you’re back
    From outer space”

    Are there any scriptwriters who would like to work on this, and present it to Netflix?

    • Greg Bottini says:

      I think Netflix should produce a series based on the comments of “Nijinsky”.
      Talk about “must-see TV”!

      • Libor says:

        In Episode 2 of the Netflix series ”MEGA-AGENT’S STRAD”. Questions are raised if any represented artists at IMG Fraudsters know anything about the stolen Strad. Did Joshua BELL, Hilary HAHN, Juila FISCHER get to play the stolen violin? Or was it passed to the Chinese child prodigy Christian LI, who is seen at the end of episode 2 practicing 12 hours a day in his secret practice hide-out (filled with cash from all the concerts IMG Fraudsters have arranged), on the stolen STRAD? Is the stolen STRAD in China? Do you know? Wait for Episode 3!!!

  • Nijinsky says:

    Neither have I mentioned how MANY, and far far TOO MANY, even “great” violins regularly “setup” by these people have sound post damage, because of what I just yesterday delineated of Zygmuntowicz’s behavior there on corporate media sponsored television, for anyone and everyone to see is how “professionals” work, which then causes MORE damage by people they say shouldn’t be doing what the demonstrate the wrong way to begin with!

  • Gerald Martin says:

    I don’t understand any of the above posts.

  • Simon says:

    To call this guy a mega-agent is laughable. He took a perfectly good agency and turned it into his personal toy to feed his out-sized ego by creating enormously money sucking festivals while simultaneously defrauding the New York State pension fund. I know of not one single artist who would seek his advise or counsel. When it was clear he could not effectively operate the agency he brought in an equally unimpressive partner who further degraded the brand. I don’t believe anyone would be surprised if this strad was found in his closet.

  • john says:

    The story that you link to, below the picture or Mr. Wissman, is so full of errors (for example-only 244 Strads still survive?) as to be useless. You really should delete that link.