A 1758 Gagliano is stolen from Chicago violinist

A 1758 Gagliano is stolen from Chicago violinist


norman lebrecht

May 14, 2022

The Chicago violinist Ming Huan Xu woke on Wednesday to find her 1758 Nicolas Gagliano violin gone from her South Loop home.

She thinks a man had been staking out the premises.

‘Our dog was barking and I just thought it was our neighbour going to work early,’ Xu said.

She’s had to borrow a violin for an upcoming concert at the University of Chicago.




  • David K. Nelson says:

    The thing I always worry about in these cases is what the thief will do with/to the instrument once they realize the unique situation they are in. The thing they have stolen has great value making it a felony, so the police will be more interested in crime solving than they would a stolen purse or bicycle.

    But they can’t get the money out of it. A pawn shop won’t pay anything more than they’d pay for a Roth factory fiddle used in a middle school. The only people who know what its value is would be dangerous to deal with and would be almost certain to call the police. The temptation to burn it or throw it in the river would be strong. Decades ago my wife’s stolen violin was found in a garbage dumpster, by sheer luck someone was curious and fished it out before it went to the landfill.

    Here’s hoping there is a happy ending for violin and violinist.

  • chet says:

    I’d bet good money the thief is a violinist.

    Need to train the dog to take a chunk outta an intruder, not just bark.

    • Stephan says:

      I know that there was a bit of humor behind your comment, but some people live in fantasy land when it comes to guard/protection dogs. I have been involved in the working/sports dog world for over two decades. Very few dogs will bite a human intruder, even if they are trained. Even $50,000+ protection dogs marketed to the rich are normally harmless in real life situations. There have been cases where burglars have been mauled when entering a house but sued in civil court and won. So it’s actually a blessing that many dogs will not bite. In many cases, the bite would simply annoy a hardcore criminal who then goes on an kills the dog. That’s reality.

  • Nina says:

    A very weird story. Such violins are usually kept in a safe.

    • Violinist says:

      No they aren’t Nina. I have a Nicolo Gagliano violin myself and know dozens of violinists with similar instruments. I have never once heard of someone keeping their violin in a massive safe inside their home. Sorry you don’t know what you are talking about

      • Nina says:

        Dear “violinist”, I definitely know what I am talking about. And do not tell tales about the “carelessness” of those who allegedly “do not bear” financial responsibility for the loss of an instrument that is worth millions of euros.

        • Violinist says:

          I literally know dozens of people with million dollar instruments and not one uses a safe…I call BS on that. Also, you clearly don’t know what you are talking about as no Gagliano has ever sold for close to $1M, nevermind “millions of Euros”…

    • Frankie says:


    • fflambeau says:

      Nina, I do not know any safe (except in a bank) that is large enough for this. Do you?

    • Robert Holmén says:

      But what if they steal the safe?

  • Violinist says:

    AIR TAGS. They cost like $25, small and easy to hide and would allow you to track your violin if stolen. I have one in all of my cases. I don’t know why every instrumentalist doesn’t…$25 could recover a $400k violin!

  • CleferClefer says:

    Is this becoming more common, or am I just seeing more in the news?