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BBC Presents Documentary on the Theft and Recovery of the Lipinski Stradivarius Violin

By Jaime Prisco j.prisco@classicalite.com on Dec 31, 2014 05:29 PM EST
Lipinski Strad BBC has produced a documentary about the theft of the famous Lipinski Stradivarius violin. (Photo : Courtesy aviolinslife.org/Michael Darnton)

Though many stories have hit the hearts of classical music lovers in 2014, none shocked people as much as the theft and recovery of the Lipinski Stradivarius violin. Now, BBC will broadcast a documentary called The Lipinski, detailing the events which lead to this worldwide news sensation.

The story begins with Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Frank Almond, who walked out of Wisconsin performances with the rare Lipinski Stradivarius slung over his shoulder. At this point, a man got out of a van in the parking lot, tased Almond and stole the violin. The Strad, which was made by a 17th- and 18th-century Italian luthier named Antonio Stradivari, is said to be worth $5 million to $6 million. The reason for this high asking price is because there are only about 650 left in the world.

Days went by without a trace of the Lipinski Stradivarius, which was on loan to Almond. The Milwaukee Police Department and the FBI worked quickly. At a local news conference one week after the theft, Police Chief Edward Flynn announced that they had safely recovered the Lapinski Strad. They had discovered it, undamaged, in a suitcase in an attic. Two men were arrested, including the mastermind behind the theft, who pleaded guilty this month to felony robbery.

"It's survived wars and revolutions and, most recently, someone trying to steal it," Almond said.

The documentary on BBC will be produced and presented by Pete Curran.

"The violin, and the music that’s been written on this instrument over 300 years, has really moved people," Curran said. "And the fact that someone was brutally relieved of it ... it’s a very kind of 21st century collision ...”

The program will be available on the BBC website 30 days after the broadcast.

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TagsBBC, documentary, Lipinski Stradivarius, violin, Frank Almond, Peter Curran