The Canada Council for the Arts has acquired five additional instruments – three violins and two cellos – for the 2012 Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank (MIB) competition to be held this fall. This brings the total value of the 19 instrument collection plus one cello bow to over $28 million. The 2012 MIB competition enables professional classical musicians to borrow 5-stringed instruments for a period of three years to enhance their careers.
Three of the instruments were purchased with funds from a bequest of $1.1 million from the estate of the late Edith Davis Webb. Webb’s wish was to assist musicians in the development and enhancement of their professional music careers. The instruments are:
- 1730 Newland Joannes Franciscus Celoniatus cello valued at $750,000
- 1871 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume violin valued at $250,000
- 1900 Stefano Scarampella violin valued at $160,000
- In addition, the Canada Council will receive two loans: the 1768 Miller Januarius Gagliano violin valued at $300,000 from Mrs. Miller of Toronto and a 1929 Carlo Giuseppe Oddone cello valued at $200,000 from an anonymous donor.
“The Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank runs on inspiration, talent and generosity,” says Robert
Sirman, Canada Council Director and CEO. “Thanks to donations, endowments and loans, we are able to get more of these finely crafted instruments into the hands of talented musicians. This means that more audiences can experience the power, depth and beauty of music created by pairing a centuries-old instrument with an exceptional soloist.”
1730 Newland Joannes Franciscus Celoniatus cello
This magnificent cello was made from black Italian poplar, rather than the more popularly used maple. The softer wood and the way it was cut on a slab is flexible and supple, creating a rich alto sound, like a low rumble on stage. It is believed to be a twin of another cello created from the same tree, currently owned by the Royal Academy of Music in London. Purchased by the Canada Council in 2011.
1768 Miller Januarius Gagliano violin
This violin bears the original label by its maker, Januarius Gagliano. Gagliano came from a family of luthiers based in Naples, Italy, and his father worked with Antonio Stradivari. The violin is characteristic of Gagliano’s work and is in an excellent state of preservation. On loan from Mrs. Miller of Toronto.
1871 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume violin
This violin was made by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume of Paris, one of the best luthiers of his era. Four “gold standards” can be found inside the instrument – markings that indicate the maker’s highest level of quality. The violin is in near mint condition and is an exact copy of the famed 1716 Antonio Stradivari, known as the “Messiah” or “Messie,” that Vuillaume brought out of Italy after the death of its owner, Luigi Tarisio, in 1854. More recently, in 2001, it was rescued from a devastating house fire in which the owner lost all other personal belongings. Purchased by the Canada Council in 2012.
1900 Stefano Scarampella violin
This violin was made by Stefano Scarampella, a luthier based in Mantua, Italy, who was one of the more
important makers of the late 19th and early 20th century. The instrument was made at the zenith of Scarampella’s career and is in excellent condition. It boasts a rich sound quality and in recent years has been loaned for numerous performance concerts and quartet and orchestral work. Purchased by the Canada Council in 2012.
1929 Carlo Giuseppe Oddone cello
This cello was made by Carlo Giuseppe Oddone, of Turin, Italy, who is regarded as one of the most remarkable craftsmen from the Piedmont school. It is in near mint condition and has the clear, strong and complex sound that is associated with its maker. On loan from an anonymous donor.
The Council funds, administers and promotes the Musical Instrument Bank collection and competition, which began in 1985 through the generous legacy of $100,000 from the Barwick family of Ottawa. Since then it has grown steadily through donations, instrument loans, and purchases made with donated funds. To date, 34 Canadian violinists and cellists have benefitted from the loans of these fine-stringed instruments. Ric Heinl and his team of luthiers at Geo. Heinl & Co. Limited are responsible for restoring and maintaining the instruments.