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Stephen Fine

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  1. Any "workshop" instrument I'd assume is imported in the white from elsewhere with lower labor costs. As you say, I'm hoping the shop will be clear.
  2. In the case of the Cremonese instrument in question, I just received an email back from the maker who reports master-made instruments at the price point I'd expect and then "handmade workshop" instruments for students. So, now it's up to the shop to tell my student what's what...
  3. I'd like whatever shop I'm buying an instrument from to be clear on this question.
  4. What's special about any violin? They're all carved out of wood in roughly the same shape and size. Usually, I wouldn't want to buy a shop instrument from Cremona because you're paying a premium for the "Cremona" printed on the label, but there's no reason a shop instrument can't be a superior product. It's about materials, skill, method, and care.
  5. Yeah... that was my second thought. I have nothing against shop instruments. In fact, in my student's price range, it's what I thought I'd be mostly seeing. But it seems like that information should be presented up front to the consumer.
  6. I told my student to ask about the Cremona instrument's papers. If it doesn't have any, I'll contact the maker directly. Your thought about items priced-to-move on consignment was definitely my first thought.
  7. Now, to confuse things further... a couple more instruments have entered the mix. A violin with a turn-of-the-20th-century Hungarian label from a Hungarian who didn't make violins. So, I assume he imported it for sale, but the shop tells my students it's by the maker... guy is not mentioned as a violin maker, so it seems unlikely. It is what I'd call overpriced. And, a recent instrument by a maker in Cremona in perfect condition that seems about half price of what I'd expect a contemporary violin, let alone one from Cremona to sell for. I'm definitely learning that I didn't understand the market as well as I thought I did.
  8. Yeah... my impression of the market before now was that higher quality was available at a lower price than it used to be. That's what I thought, yes. Right, that's what I thought. I assumed any dealer would have their source for high grade shop instruments that they'd import in the white or whatever. Hmm...
  9. I know used cars are very expensive right now. Have violins seen a rapid price increase over the past few years? I'm helping a student shop for a violin to take college auditions on, so this is a big step up for her. We've been looking in the $4,000-$8,000 range which I expected would get her a nice new shop instrument from somewhere. It seems to me that in this price range, if you shop enough you should be able to find something. However... I've spoken with a few shops now who suggested to me that $4,000-$8,000 is now on the low end of quality instrument pricing and that students applying to music school should be looking at $10,000-$20,000 instruments. That is not an option for my student. She currently has out on trial a 20th century Markie in decent condition that the shop is asking $8,000 for. It's a reasonable sounding instrument, but I would've expected it to sell closer to $5,000? Am I out of touch with the market? Who the heck are $4,000-$8,000 violins for? I can tell the difference between a $100 violin and a $500 violin. A $500 and a $1000 violin. Is there no difference between $1,000 and $5,000 any longer?
  10. In the vein of Paganini, Ernst, Ysaÿe... holy crap. Some of the close-up hand shots are priceless. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nW6N0BDAnN0
  11. You're allowed (and encouraged) to play the "for sale" violins, I believe.
  12. Usually they want to invite you back to their place for... drinks and conversation and the opportunity to brag and hear you play their fancy thing. Occasionally they're aiming for more (I've heard one story), but usually it's just the innocent enthusiasm of a super-rich amateur.
  13. When is "open more doors" not metaphorical? We are never talking about literal doors but about career opportunities when we say "that'll open doors for you." It's easy for me to imagine being schmoozed by a wealthy donor with a Strad. Having a Strad must be a nice conversation opener with any great (or mediocre) violinist. And so many concert bookers are musicians themselves.
  14. I attended a Tafelmusik workshop where they brought in a Baroque dance teacher for the Bach Suites. Very enlightening. Highly recommended.
  15. A remarkable staging of one of my favorites: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGSctM_8K_E
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