For decades this rare Stradivarius was missing, but it was recovered and has thrilled many audiences again.
Roman Totenberg is the owner of this 18th-century instrument, but it was stolen from him. Totenberg died in 2012. He never had the chance to see his priced instrument again as it was recovered last 2015. It was played in New York publicly at a private concert by Mira Wang who is a former student of him and now a virtuoso.
Wang said that using the violin as the first person to bring it in public is such an overwhelming feeling and a great deal for her. The emotions were complicated she said. Mira felt the pressure, the joy and at the same time deep sorrow knowing that Totenberg could never see or hear this instrument as it was played. She wished that he was with them during that moment.
The violin was hand made in 1734 by the master Italian luthier himself, Antonio Stradivari. His creations later became the standard of violin makers for many generations until today. He had approximately 550 instruments such as violins, violas, and cellos that are in existence today.
The owner Totenberg was from Poland, born in Lodz in 1911. He bought the Stradivari violin in 1943, but after a concert in Massachusetts 1980, it was stolen. The culprit was surprisingly one of Totenberg’s students.
So how did the instrument got out on the surface after it was missing for 35 years? After the thief died, his wife took the violin to Phillip Injeian in New York who is a violin maker and an appraiser. Immediately Injeian recognized it.
Born in China, Mira Wang was able to reach virtuosity under the tutelage of her Polish-American teacher Totenberg whom she said had greatly influenced her. She said it was never in her dreams to see the instrument again and now she was able to hold it in her hands and play it.