READ: Statement from Owner of "Ex-Lipiński" Stradivarius Violin, Stolen from Frank Almond of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
The owner of the "Ex-Lipiński" Stradivarius violin that was stolen from violinist Frank Almond last week has issued a statement about the theft. Far from expressing anger, she expresses concern for Almond and devastation that the theft occurred, saying to Almond, "First, I'm so happy that you are safe."
The violin, worth an estimated $6 million, was stolen from Almond during an armed robbery on January 27.
The owner also states her gratitude for "all the help given by the Milwaukee Police and other law enforcement organizations, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and those who are offering the reward."
A $100,000 reward will be offered to anyone who can provide information resulting in the safe return of the stolen Lipiński Stradivarius.
The owner has long opted for anonymity, but chose to issue this rare statement today, signed simply, "Char." Almond posted her statement on his blog, non divisi:
Statement from the Owner of the "Ex-Lipiński" Stradivarius:
Due to my devastation at the attack on you, Frank, and the theft of the violin, I feel compelled to write this. First, I'm so happy that you are safe. I speak to your many friends, whose responses to this event have been so touching. It has been my joy and privilege to own the Lipinski Stradivari in recent years. I have thought of myself more as a guardian of a treasure than an owner, a treasure that needs to be seen and heard. It has been in my family for over five decades, deeply loved and used in performance across the world. As a non-violinist, non-public figure, it has felt more natural to me to remain relatively anonymous. Not expecting the violin to participate in this tendency, I had the good fortune to find Frank to take loving care of it every day and to use his musicality and virtuosity to express his vision with its glorious voice. That he was concertmaster of the MSO was especially appropriate, as another goal was to give Milwaukee the gift of being able to hear the violin frequently. He has also acted as its human face and voice, giving interviews exploring his thoughts and feelings on getting to know this violin. He has put remarkable effort, talent and enthusiasm into making the first modern recordings of the Lipinski. It was a joy for me to feel so welcomed by Frank to write some of the historical essays for the website of "A Violin's Life." All this he has done in exemplary, energetic fashion and for all of it I am grateful. I am even more grateful that his terrible experience on the night of Jan. 27 did not result in permanent injury. I had left the concert hall just a few minutes earlier and thinking of what then happened so quickly is very painful.
As a child overhearing long, expert practice sessions on the Lipinski, I didn't realize that it was exceptional. To me, that was just how violins sounded. Understanding its capabilities came later: the pure, strong voice, clear, light and dancing, dark, brooding, poignant, tender, ebullient, expressing any emotion the player was feeling. Its loss is devastating.
Perhaps it's appropriate to say also that I'm not part of any upper echelon, musical or other, just a person who loved her family violin with all its memories and three hundred years of history more than the many opportunities to sell it. My heart is broken.
I am very grateful for all the help given by the Milwaukee Police and other law enforcement organizations, the MSO, and those who are offering the reward. If anyone knows anything and can help, I appeal to them to come forward.
Frank, I could never have guessed that after all you have done, you would be physically attacked. I'm so sorry.
Tips or leads about the stolen Stradivarius violin can be directed to the Milwaukee Police Department at (414) 935-7360, or to the MSO at (414) 226-7838.