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SCIENCE
April 7, 2014 | By Karen Kaplan
What makes old violins crafted by members of the Stradivari family so much better than violins produced today? Nothing, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In a musical version of the classic Coke versus Pepsi taste tests, scientists teamed up with experts who make, play and sell violins to see whether there's any substance to the widespread belief that old violins are superior to newer models. Just as with soda, the researchers discovered that highly accomplished violin soloists couldn't tell the difference between old and new instruments.
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SCIENCE
April 7, 2014 | By Karen Kaplan
What makes old violins crafted by members of the Stradivari family so much better than violins produced today? Nothing, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In a musical version of the classic Coke versus Pepsi taste tests, scientists teamed up with experts who make, play and sell violins to see whether there's any substance to the widespread belief that old violins are superior to newer models. Just as with soda, the researchers discovered that highly accomplished violin soloists couldn't tell the difference between old and new instruments.
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ENTERTAINMENT
January 23, 2013 | By David Ng
A valuable Scarampella violin is at the center a brewing legal dispute involving a musician with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.  Filip Fenrych, a Polish-born violinist with the orchestra, claims that he doesn't owe $43,000 to a woman who authenticated a Scarampella violin after she sold it to him, without authentication, for a reduced price. The case was reported by Courthouse News. Fenrych is arguing that Tara Moore of Mesquite, Texas, asked for $90,000 for the violin that bore a Scarampella label, but wasn't authenticated.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 22, 2014 | By Karen Wada
The violins of Antonio Stradivari are revered for being not only superb instruments but works of art. "They combine this magical quality of sound with spectacular craftsmanship," says Margaret Batjer, concertmaster of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Each of these wooden wonders also possesses an individual, inner beauty, what she calls "their own magnificent souls. " LACO hopes to help audiences experience the soul of Stradivari by providing the rare chance to hear eight of the Italian master's creations in a variety of settings.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 22, 2014 | By Karen Wada
The violins of Antonio Stradivari are revered for being not only superb instruments but works of art. "They combine this magical quality of sound with spectacular craftsmanship," says Margaret Batjer, concertmaster of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Each of these wooden wonders also possesses an individual, inner beauty, what she calls "their own magnificent souls. " LACO hopes to help audiences experience the soul of Stradivari by providing the rare chance to hear eight of the Italian master's creations in a variety of settings.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 5, 2011 | By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
There is no joy in Juddville, which is not surprising because country music icons Naomi and Wynonna Judd are rolling out a reality show on OWN where fun is, apparently, just one more form of denial. When Oprah Winfrey announced she was starting her own network, she pledged that it would be a mean-free zone, a shelter from the snark, self-immolation and schadenfreude she believes is ravaging the television landscape. And so far, she has delivered. That does not mean OWN is a happy place.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 17, 2009 | Bloomberg News
Here's an investment opportunity that definitely comes with strings attached. Artist Rare Instrument Fund is seeking to raise $100 million this year from investors looking to buy violins, violas and cellos. The instruments, by 17th and 18th century makers including Italy's Antonio Stradivari, will cost about $1 million to $10 million each, he said. The most desirable instruments have appreciated as much as 12% annually in the last 10 years, and their value isn't tied to the rise and fall of equity and fixed-income markets, said Anthony Finley, a general partner in the New York-based fund.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 5, 1990 | KENNETH HERMAN
From the brutal opening chords of Juliana Markova's Grieg Piano Concerto, it was clear that her approach to the familiar concerto would be anything but conventional. The Bulgarian pianist's muscular, high-voltage performance proved to be a great crowd pleaser at the San Diego Symphony's Friday night Copley Symphony Hall concert. It was, however, an idiosyncratic view of Grieg that remained at odds with custom and with the genial but disciplined direction of guest conductor Vernon Handley.
OPINION
August 8, 2008
Re "On-again, off-again oil deal sends a small city to court," Aug. 3 I told your reporter that one concern (of many) about the now-defunct Macpherson Oil Co. project was that it set a precedent for violating ocean sanctuary prohibitions. Even if the effects were limited to Hermosa Beach, the project is still unjustifiable on the safety issues alone, never mind the lack of a sound business case to drill. The fact that Macpherson's lawyers are now asking us to get out our hankies and play the violins shows that they know they have a fatally weak legal case.
NEWS
March 16, 1986 | CHARLES HILLINGER, Times Staff Writer
When the University of South Dakota's Shrine to Music Museum paid $3 million two years ago for 75 violins, cellos, lutes and guitars, it was the largest sum ever paid for a collection of antique musical instruments. An anonymous wealthy Southern California alumnus of the nation's smallest state university put up the money.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 6, 2014 | By David Ng
A 300-year-old Stradivarius violin that was stolen last month from the concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra has been recovered by authorities, according to a Thursday report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. [Updated: Milwaukee police confirmed the recovery of the violin on Thursday.] Milwaukee police said Wednesday that three suspects -- two men, ages 42 and 36, and a woman, 32 -- were arrested in connection with the crime and remained in police custody. The violin -- which is valued at $5 million -- was taken from Milwaukee Symphony concertmaster Frank Almond during an armed robbery on Jan. 27. Robbers used a stun gun on the violinist after a concert at Wisconsin Lutheran College in suburban Milwaukee, according to reports.
NATIONAL
February 6, 2014 | By Michael Muskal
Over the centuries, Stradivarius has become the standard for the best in stringed instruments. With the recovery of a stolen 300-year-old Strad violin, a Milwaukee musician will once again be able to make sweet music. The instrument, known as the Lipinski Strad after a famed Polish virtuoso who owned it in the 19th century, was stolen Jan. 27 during the armed robbery of Frank Almond, the concertmaster for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Almond had just finished a concert when he was attacked by someone who used a stun gun and who seized the instrument, worth an estimated $5 million.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 3, 2014 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
We have a vague notion of a Scandinavian sound as a kind of misty, mysterious Nordic noir. Strangeness is a giveaway. One musical thing might ultimately lead to another, but the landscape is alien. Trying to define an overall Baltic sound, on the other hand, is hopeless, given the variety of regions that border the Baltic Sea. The Los Angeles Philharmonic's program this past weekend touched on the four great northern Baltic coastal cities - Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki and St. Petersburg.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 21, 2013 | By David Ng
A violin that was played by a musician on the Titanic as the ship sank in 1912 has been sold at auction for more than $1.7 million, more than triple expectations. The instrument sold at a Saturday auction in Britain for £1.1 million, or about $1.78 million. It had been estimated that the selling price would be between £200,000 and £300,000. Henry Aldridge and Son, the British auction house that specializes in Titanic-related memorabilia and that held the auction, said the instrument was discovered in 2006, and was played by second-class passenger Wallace Hartley, who was one of hundreds who perished on the tragic night of April 14, 1912.
WORLD
October 19, 2013 | By Henry Chu, This post has been corrected. See note at the bottom for details.
LONDON -- The violin believed to have belonged to the bandleader on the Titanic fetched nearly $1.45 million at auction Saturday, becoming far and away the most expensive piece of memorabilia associated with the ocean liner ever to be sold. The British auction house Henry Aldridge & Son had originally expected the battered-looking instrument to sell for a third of that amount. But the legend surrounding the fiddle, its embodiment of the heroic self-sacrifice of a band that famously kept playing as the ill-fated ship met its watery doom, boosted bidding to stratospheric levels.
WORLD
October 17, 2013 | By Henry Chu
LONDON - It's probably a myth that he played the hymn “Nearer, My God, to Thee” as the great ship sank, but the battered, seawater-damaged violin believed to have belonged to the bandleader on the Titanic is to go on auction this weekend. The instrument is likely to fetch the highest amount ever for a piece of Titanic memorabilia - up to nearly half a million dollars, the English auction house Henry Aldridge & Son said Thursday. For many devotees of the Titanic and of the movies it spawned, the story of the orchestra continuing to play to comfort or distract terrified passengers remains an emotional touchstone, the epitome of courage, calm and defiance in the face of impending doom.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 21, 2009 | Rick Schultz
Hybrids proved the animating idea behind pianist-conductor Christian Zacharias' odd but beguiling Los Angeles Philharmonic program of Brahms, Haydn and Schumann at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Thursday night. With the orchestra's forces reduced to chamber size (no violins or trumpets), Zacharias began with Brahms' lovely Serenade No. 2. The piece, in five relatively quiet and intimate movements, falls somewhere between serenade and symphony. Though it's a young man's work, Zacharias' finely measured performance, full of vibrancy and warmth, expertly blended light and shadow, suggesting the great symphonist to come.
NEWS
December 11, 2003 | David Mermelstein, Special to The Times
Its origins are shrouded in mystery. It has been associated as much with the devil as with the sound of angels. Though it can convey whole worlds, it is as portable as a briefcase. It is arguably the most written about, obsessed over, fetishized instrument ever made by man. It is, of course, the violin. And we are fascinated by it. By its high soprano voice, its otherworldly harmonics, its rich darker tones.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 24, 2013 | Steve Lopez
One day, mid-summer, I stopped by Benning Violins in Studio City for repairs on a friend's cello. German-born Hans Benning was at his work station, a violin on his bench and a wood plane in his strong, lean hand. To his left was his son, Eric. And next to Eric was Eric's son, Nathan. All three wore shop aprons and the fine dust of aged, hand-picked Bavarian and Bosnian spruce and maple. Nathan, 13, was busy. Head down, he was working on a project that filled his dad and grandfather with pride.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 31, 2013 | By David Ng
The mystery of a 17th-century Stradivarius violin that was stolen in 2010 has been successfully solved, much to the relief of its owner. British authorities announced this week that the violin and its two bows were recovered with some minor damage at a house in England. The 1696 instrument is worth an estimated $1.8 million and belonged to violinist Min Jin Kym. "Investigators leading the hunt for the 300-year-old instrument have verified the find with antiques experts and the violin is now being held in a secure London location," said the British Transport Police in a statement released on Tuesday.
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