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PhilipKT

Most expensive new instruments?

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If we leave aside for a moment the question of who makes the best instruments, and instead focus on who makes the most expensive instruments, Who would that be? What living maker who is still working is getting the most for his new instruments?

I realize there is a strong connection between most expensive and best, but it’s not absolute.

My wife and I met a local violinist and some friends outside a sushi shop last week, and he had what looked like a viola case. I accosted him and asked, “Is that a viola?” And he laughed and said,”no it is a double violin case.”

I asked him what he had, And he said, “I have a Gofriller and a Zygmuntovich.”

I complimented him on having a very nice collection of wood. Anyway, I found myself wondering which violin he played the most, which led to the current question.

( the Gofriller is a Matteo, btw)

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We should know the actual sales prices of all luthiers, something that i don't know.

But I vote for Zig, at least if auction prices are taken into consideration, I do not know the real selling price of the maker.

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16 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

I complimented him on having a very nice collection of wood. Anyway, I found myself wondering which violin he played the most

Didn't you ask him?

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3 minutes ago, Davide Sora said:

Didn't you ask him?

Actually no, it didn’t occur to me to ask him, and it was in the parking lot, and I didn’t want to pester the group for more than a few seconds. One of his companions is a well-known cellist( We actually know each other but did not recognize each other at first) and he said he had had the chance to play David Finkel’s Zygmuntovich and thought very highly of it.

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The easy answer based on publicized auction results is Zyg, but I'd wonder about Roger Hargrave.  I'd expect it's one or the other. :)

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After you guys have figured this one out, would someone mind telling me who the most undervalued contemporary builders are? It seems like more actionable information...

;)

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A maker can ask whatever they wish. ;)

The two contemporary instrument I currently own,  which I chose because I thought they represented something very close to the top of the heap, were not by any means the most expensive.

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15 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

A maker can ask whatever they wish. ;)

The two contemporary instrument I currently own,  which I chose because I thought they represented something very close to the top of the heap, were not by any means the most expensive.

My question was about most expensive, not about best. Certainly anybody can ask anything they wish, but what matters is whether they are selling at their asking price. 

Now I have to go find out all about Roger Hargrave…

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41 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

The easy answer based on publicized auction results is Zyg, but I'd wonder about Roger Hargrave.  I'd expect it's one or the other. :)

Thanks to your comment, I have just found a library of writings by Roger Hargrave, and I am completely delighted. I’ve read very little, but he already seems to be an extremely charming person with a wonderful writing style. Now I have something to do while attempting to ignore the fact that the Orioles are so awful.

double thanks!

addendem: He looks just like John Lithgow.

Edited by PhilipKT

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36 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

A maker can ask whatever they wish. ;)

The two contemporary instrument I currently own,  which I chose because I thought they represented something very close to the top of the heap, were not by any means the most expensive.

David, now I am really interested in which two instruments you own, since being one of the best. 

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You could set the bar as who got the highest average price over their last 20-30 instruments built. Impossible to collect this data, but I'll bet its Zyg. Could be surprised though.

 

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1 hour ago, PhilipKT said:

My wife and I met a local violinist and some friends outside a sushi shop last week, and he had what looked like a viola case. I accosted him and asked, “Is that a viola?” And he laughed and said,”no it is a double violin case.”

I asked him what he had, And he said, “I have a Gofriller and a Zygmuntovich.”

I complimented him on having a very nice collection of wood. Anyway, I found myself wondering which violin he played the most, which led to the current question.

( the Gofriller is a Matteo, btw)

Were his initials A.B., by any chance? I might know those fiddles (and the fiddler)...

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By far the highest price ever fetched for a violin by a living maker was one of Roger Hargrave's  Del Gesu copies. But that is a different story altogether.

From what I have heard or read: violins from the Florian Leonhard  shop , and those by  Christophe Landon are  in the 60k US dollar range, but I may be off now. So please correct me if I'm wrong. 

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2 hours ago, gowan said:

Does the name Peter Greiner belong in this discussion?

One of the most famous (internationally) names in the pro violin field plays a Greiner. The fact his name escapes me doesn't demean the maker one iota. When/if I think of it, I'll come back and edit. (Maybe Zimmerman???)

OTOH, it's a silly yet common question. Regardless of who might be the most expensive, it can be very revealing to know who the famous performers perform on to make their daily bread. As an example, L. Harrell doesn't play the violin, but he makes a fine living on a modern cello by a maker only a few cognescenti would recognize.

I'm no Lynn, but then I've never been accused of thinking so. That said, I play a modern "shop" instrument I find very satisfying. Strings and setup can overcome a lot, and this instrument is more stable and reliable than my 18th. century Venetian ever was. Now every time I open the case I know for a plain fact that if I put my fingers in their proper place, the proper sounds will reliably come out.

In the end, "it's not the arrow, it's the Indian." A few people come to learn that; many don't.

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2 hours ago, devaraja42 said:

Were his initials A.B., by any chance? I might know those fiddles (and the fiddler)...

The cellist was Andres Diaz, The violinist actually did not introduce himself, ha ha we spent the whole time talking about instruments, and we only spent like four minutes chatting.

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6 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

The cellist was Andres Diaz, The violinist actually did not introduce himself, ha ha we spent the whole time talking about instruments, and we only spent like four minutes chatting.

I grew up with Andres and his brother and sister; their father was one of my best friends in the 70's. Roberto played solo on a concert with us just this season for the first time.

A now deceased colleague used to say "the world of classical music is so small, you get a pimple on your butt [sic] in New York on Monday, the next day everyone in LA knows about it" I guess this exchange is proof.

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25 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

A maker (or artist) can arrange for one of their works to be sold at auction for any price they want.

David that’s correct, I read your website post on the subject with much interest and linked to it on my own website. But those prices are so high and so consistent that I doubt that is taking place here.

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3 hours ago, AtlVcl said:

One of the most famous (internationally) names in the pro violin field plays a Greiner. The fact his name escapes me doesn't demean the maker one iota. When/if I think of it, I'll come back and edit. (Maybe Zimmerman???)

OTOH, it's a silly yet common question. Regardless of who might be the most expensive, it can be very revealing to know who the famous performers perform on to make their daily bread. As an example, L. Harrell doesn't play the violin, but he makes a fine living on a modern cello by a maker only a few cognescenti would recognize.

I'm no Lynn, but then I've never been accused of thinking so. That said, I play a modern "shop" instrument I find very satisfying. Strings and setup can overcome a lot, and this instrument is more stable and reliable than my 18th. century Venetian ever was. Now every time I open the case I know for a plain fact that if I put my fingers in their proper place, the proper sounds will reliably come out.

In the end, "it's not the arrow, it's the Indian." A few people come to learn that; many don't.

Christian Tetzlaff?

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3 hours ago, David Burgess said:

A maker (or artist) can arrange for one of their works to be sold at auction for any price they want.

Well, by that terribly cynical logic, someone could also pay for a book to be written about their genius, or for a PBS special on their work, and so forth. I'm sure no one would really do that. The fake auction thing wouldn't work because there would have to be a rigged sale multiple times, to elude detection of the price inflation, and that wouldn't be possible to pull off. At least, not without an extra million bucks.

Of course, there are the odd guys out there who name famous soloists and other serious musicians who own their instruments, and I always wonder if that wording doesn't sometimes indicate a gift. The intent being, to justify a high price to the actual customers. If these website writers are talking about soloists choosing their instruments to purchase, indicating only ownership would be incredibly weak wording. Who knows. 

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