Booth Stradivarius

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The Otto Booth; Cho-Ming Sin Stradivarius[1] of 1716 is an antique violin fabricated by Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari (1644–1737) of Cremona. The original label of the instrument was "Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis faciebat Anno 1716". The Booth Stradivarius has a two-piece back and has a body length of 35.4 cm.[2]

The Booth receives its name after a former owner, Madame Wilhelm von Booth who purchased the instrument in 1855 for her son Otto van Booth to be played in a Stradivari quartet.[2] Otto van Booth sold the instrument in 1889 to George Hart, an instrument dealer in London, and the instrument has since been used in concerts. In 1930, Booth was sold at an auction by the American Art Association, New York to Rudolph Wurlitzer Company and played by the renowned Ukrainian-born violinist Mischa Mischakoff from 1931 to 1961.[2] After 1961, the instrument became a part of the Henry Hottinger Collection in New York.[3] Cho-Ming Sin from whom the instrument received one of its sobriquets owned the instrument until 1978.[2][4]

For a time, the instrument was owned and played by violinist Iona Brown, who after 1998 Tokyo performance of The Lark Ascending, returned the instrument to its case declaring: "It was received so rapturously by the audience that I went back to my dressing room, put my violin in its case and said: 'I'm not going to do it any more.' I felt it was best to go out on a high note." (The Lark Ascending ends on one of the highest notes on the violin). She has never played the violin again, citing her arthritis and age.[5] She sold the instrument in 1999.[6]

Since 1999, The Booth is owned by the Nippon Music Foundation and loaned to distinguished violinists.[3]

After Iona Brown, the German violinist Julia Fischer played the instrument from 2000 to the summer of 2004, until when she purchased a 1742-made (1750-reworked) Guadagnini.[7][8] After Julia Fischer, the Japanese violinist Shunske Sato played the instrument.

The Booth is currently loaned to the German violinist Arabella Steinbacher.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The sobriquet of this instrument is referred differently in various sources. While Doring (1999) and Henley (1961) referred it as "Booth", Goodkind (1972) referred it as "Booth; Cho-Ming Sin" probably in an attempt to name the then owner. See: Doring, Ernest N. (1999) How Many Strads? - Our Heritage from the Master Enlarged and expanded edition by Robert Bein & Geoffrey Fushi Bein & Fushi, Inc., Chicago, Illinois: 1999; Henley, William (1961) Antonio Stradivari - His Life and Instruments. 1961, Amati Publishing Ltd., Brighton (England). Goodkind, Herbert K. (1972) Violin Iconography of Antonio Stradivari: 1644 - 1737. Published by the author, Larchmont, New York.
  2. ^ a b c d [1],
  3. ^ a b [2], Stradivarius 1716 violin " Booth ", Instruments owned by the Nippon Music Foundation.
  4. ^ Goodkind, Herbert K. (1972) Violin Iconography of Antonio Stradivari: 1644 - 1737. Published by the author, Larchmont, New York.
  5. ^ [3], "Iona Brown", The Telegraph, 11 June 2004. Retrieved on: 02.03.2011
  6. ^ [4], Obituary: Iona Brown, The Guardian, 10 June 2004. Retrieved on 02.03.2011.
  7. ^ [5], Embracing the Eternal, Strings magazine, May 2006, No.139.
  8. ^ [6][permanent dead link], WQXR interview on January 4, 2006
  9. ^ [7], Interview with Arabella Steinbacher.

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