"Ex-Lipiński" Stradivarius Violin Worth $6 Million Stolen from Concertmaster Frank Almond of Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

By Louise Burton on Jan 29, 2014 05:24 PM EST

Frank Almond, concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, was walking to his car on Monday evening, carrying his "Ex-Lipiński" Stradivarius violin, when an assailant approached him and shot him with a stun gun, of Milwaukee reported.

The jolt caused Almond to drop his violin case and fall to the ground. The attacker grabbed the case and drove off with a second suspect. Milwaukee police say the suspects, a man and a woman, were driving a vehicle described as a late 1980s or early 1990s maroon Chrysler or Dodge minivan.

The armed theft occurred just before 10:30 p.m. on January 27, after Almond played a concert at Wisconsin Lutheran College.

"It appears at this time that the violin was the primary target of this assault and robbery," Milwaukee police said in a statement. "It is important to note that this violin is valuable to a very small number of people in the world and is not something easily sold for what it is worth."

The Milwaukee police are working together with the FBI's Art Crime Team to investigate the theft.

The "Ex-Lipiński" Stradivarius violin, worth an estimated $6 million, was on loan to Almond from an anonymous benefactor.

The violin, made in 1715, has an extensive provenance. It was owned by legendary violinists including Giuseppe Tartini, 18th-century composer of the famous "Devil's Trill" sonata for violin and 19th-century Polish violin virtuoso Karol Lipiński, for whom the instrument is named.

Almond recently recorded A Violin's Life, an album of music associated with the "Ex-Lipiński" Strad. Almond states on program notes for the recording: "The repertory was specifically chosen for its most obvious historical connections--Tartini (the violin's first known owner), Lipiński, a premiere recording of a sonata by the underrated Julius Röntgen, and Lipiński fan/colleague Robert Schumann."

Almond's website posted the following statement: "Anyone with information about the whereabouts of the Stradivarius violin should call 414-935-7360 or the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at 414-226-7838. A reward offer is pending and information will be made available once confirmed."

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TagsFrank Almond, "ex-Lipinski" Stradivarius violin, Stradivarius, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, A Violin's Life, Giuseppe Tartini, Karol Lipinski

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