The World's Most Expensive Violin Will Be in Fort Worth This Weekend

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Last week my friends saw a touring violinist slurping soup in a noodle house. How did they know he was a violinist? He had the Stradivarius with him, at the table.

Keeping a rare violin close is standard practice for top tier musicians who often play instruments on loan from wealthy collectors. Extreme care is required when serving as a musical steward: Those investments' worth frequently stretch into the multimillion dollar range. This weekend you may see Anne Akiko Meyers pulling a similar move if dining in Fort Worth. The globally recognized talent plays the Vieuxtemps Guarneri del Gesù, the world's most expensive violin.

The Vieuxtemps' allure goes deeper than just its market status: It's considered the masterwork of Italian instrument maker Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù. One of the final creations of Guarneri's short career, the Vieuxtemps was built around 1741, before America was even a country.

Throughout waxing and waning economics, the values of well cared for, rare instruments like those made by Guarneri have retained or increased in value. And of the roughly 140 remaining violins lathed by the master before he died at age 46, this particular instrument is especially interesting. Those who play the Vieuxtemps say it guides them, opening up new color palettes of possibilities. They declare a richness and depth to the sound it produces that is unrivaled, a warm darkness that is unmatched. So when rare violin dealers Bien & Fushi of Chicago put the item up for sale, it fetched more than $16 million in 2012. The exact amount paid remains unrevealed, but we do know it outsold the previous record holder -- the "Lady Blunt" Stradivarius, which made headlines for its $15 million dollar price tag -- by more than a million dollars.

The Vieuxtemps' owner is anonymous, and has placed the instrument on lifetime loan to Anne Akiko Meyers, who plays a three-day run at Bass Hall this weekend. Meyers is no stranger to expensive rarities. She has owned two Stradivarius in her career, each one a multimillion dollar purchase.

See Anne Akiko Meyers pull centuries of sound out of The Vieuxtemps at Bass Hall, as she performs Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2 and his Symphony No. 7 with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Friday through Sunday. Tickets are available here.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.