In Sunday’s (4/12) Buffalo News, Mary Kunz Goldman writes, “The ‘Mary Portman’ Guarneri Del Gesu is a violin. But when Clement and Karen Arrison look at it, they see a living thing. … They own not only the ‘Mary Portman’—which was made in Cremona, Italy, around 1735 and is named for a British violinist who owned her—but two other rare violins. One is a 1723 Stradivarius, dubbed the ‘ex-Kiesewetter’ after a German violin master who owned it. The other is the 1717 ‘Moller,’ made in Venice by Francesco Gobetti. … The Arrisons are affiliated with the Stradivari Society of Chicago, which ‘matches’ valuable violins with promising violinists. With the society’s intervention, the Buffalo couple offer the violins to emerging artists on loan, typically for a year. Thanks to the loan system, the Gobetti is currently in the hands of 32-year-old New York violinist Tim Fain, while the ‘Ex-Kiesewetter’ Strad is in the possession of Russian-born Philippe Quint, 35. National media have hailed the Arrisons’ patronage as a win for all involved. … Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Concertmaster Michael Ludwig was struck by the mystique of ‘Mary Portman’ when he borrowed it to play John Corigliano’s ‘Red Violin’ concerto—a performance soon to be released on the Naxos label.”

Posted April 15, 2009