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When I first began playing on the Lipiński back in 2008, there was a fair amount of speculation regarding its provenance and history. To most aficionados the violin had “disappeared” for a couple of decades, which was a bit unusual for a 1715 Stradivari. It also became obvious that a modern, technically advanced recording had never been made of this violin; most everything seemed to be either on cassette or reel-to-reel from the ‘70s or earlier. As it happened, I was planning a recording right around then (Portraits and Elegies, on the wonderful Innova label), and that CD became the de facto return of the violin to the modern audio landscape.

But the concept of this current project was already germinating in my head, and by the beginning of 2012 it seemed the pieces were falling into place. To my knowledge no one had ever attempted something like this in a comprehensive way, and I felt this was a perfect vehicle for a site like Kickstarter. After a few delays I got the campaign going in May 2012 and it ran for 60 days.

It was truly heartening to learn how many other people agreed it was a compelling project (via their donations), and the campaign’s success allowed us to proceed in exactly the fashion I’d hoped. The CD was recorded over three days last August with the team from a couple of previous recordings, and by mid-March 2013 I actually had one in my hand. 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 (see tab above), and Lipiński fan/colleague Robert Schumann.

I’d like to once again thank Bill Wolfram, Evans Mirageas, Ric Probst, the Juilliard Library, AVIE, the Milwaukee Symphony, and the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center for all the support and hard work. And of course we could never have done it without the devoted Kickstarter donors.

I hope you enjoy both the recording and website devoted to this exceptional violin.

~ Frank Almond

Frank Almond

Frank Almond

Violinist Frank Almond holds the Charles and Marie Caestecker Concertmaster Chair at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He returned to the MSO after holding positions as concert master of the Rotterdam Philharmonic with Valery Gergiev and guest concert master of the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Kurt Masur. Other guest concert master appearances have included the Seattle Symphony, the Montreal Symphony, and the Dallas Symphony. He continues an active schedule of performances in the US and abroad and has appeared as a soloist with internationally renowned conductors including Edo de Waart, Pinchas Zukerman, Stanislaw Skrowacewski, Philippe Entremont, and James Gaffigan,

He has been a member of the chamber group An die Musik in New York City since 1997, and also founded and directs the acclaimed Frankly Music chamber series based in Milwaukee. At 17, he was one of the youngest prizewinners in the history of the Nicolò Paganini Competition in Genoa, and later was one of two American prizewinners at the Eighth International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, documented in an award-winning PBS film.

In addition to his work with An die Musik, Frank Almond’s work as a chamber musician has generated collaborations over the years with many of today’s top institutions. He has recorded for AVIE, Summit, Albany, Hal Leonard, Boolean, Innova, Newport Classic, Wergo and New Albion, and was twice nominated for a Grammy with An die Musik.

Frank Almond holds two degrees from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Dorothy DeLay. Other important teachers included Michael Tseitlin, Felix Galimir and Joseph Silverstein. He has held several academic positions and is currently on the faculty at Northwestern University.

William Wolfram

William Wolfram

American pianist William Wolfram was a silver medalist at both the William Kapell and the Naumburg International Piano Competitions, and a bronze medalist at the prestigious Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow.

Wolfram has appeared with many of the greatest orchestras of the world and has developed a special reputation as the rare concerto soloist who is also equally versatile and adept as a recitalist, accompanist and chamber musician. In all of these genres, he is highly sought after for his special focus on the music of Liszt and Beethoven and is a special advocate for the music of 20th-century American composers.

Internationally recognized conductors with whom he has worked include JoAnn Falletta, Andrew Litton, Mark Wigglesworth and Jeffrey Tate. He has has recorded four discs of Liszt’s opera transcriptions (for Naxos) and two other chamber music albums. For the Albany label, he recorded the piano concertos of Edward Collins with Marin Alsop and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

Special thanks to the Signature Donors for A Violin’s Life:

Andy Nunemaker and Arthur Laskin

Also much appreciation to William Allmart for his initial research and interest, especially regarding the Röntgen family. And to our Kickstarter backers who really made this happen:

  • Debby Accuardi
  • Madeline Adkins
  • William Allmart
  • Connie Almond
  • Tobias Ammann
  • Kathleen Anderson
  • Linda Binder
  • Charlotte Bleistein
  • Dean Borghesani
  • Joel and Heidi Boyd
  • Jim Briselden
  • Andrew Bruce
  • Gary Burch
  • Cathy Caldwell
  • JP Chan
  • Tasha Chapel
  • Elizabeth Chase
  • Greg Chrisafis
  • Malcom Colmer
  • Mary and James Connelly
  • Roberta Cooper
  • Sophie Comet
  • Nicholas Cords
  • Samantha Crownover
  • Lee Culshaw
  • Joseph Curtain
  • Michael Darnton
  • Janette Deihl
  • Mary Jane Denton
  • Robert Demaine
  • Michael DeMichele
  • Murder by Death
  • Pascal Denize
  • Vincent B Donadio
  • Nicola Dowland
  • Christopher Downey
  • Marcos Efron
  • Winnie Eisenhaure
  • Toby Faber
  • Reed Flom
  • John Franken
  • Janet Gastil
  • Brian Goeller
  • Mike Gonzalez
  • Eric Gorfain
  • Barbara Gray
  • Susan J. Groth
  • Paul Hachmann
  • Douglas Hagerman
  • Kevin Hamberger
  • Sean Hames
  • Thomas Hammer
  • Lynn Harrell
  • Maureen Hart
  • Karen Hartmann-Voss
  • Kathleen Hawkins
  • Bobette Helland
  • Michael Helland
  • Stefan Hersh
  • Megan Holbrook
  • Jean Holmburg
  • Irina Ivanova
  • Colin Jacobsen
  • Hans Jorgen Jensen
  • Benyi Jiang
  • Kay Johannes
  • Blair Jones
  • Lindsey Jones
  • Justin Kazmark
  • Ted Kirkpatrick
  • Korinthia Klein
  • Maiken Knudsen
  • Bjørn Reinhart
  • Mertinat Kolstad
  • Cathe Kuehn
  • Lisa Kuwabara
  • Arthur Laskin
  • Frank Laycock
  • Margo Z. Lazzerini
  • Todd Levy
  • Stephen Liljegren
  • David Lindberg
  • James Lipinski
  • Paul Lipinski
  • Natalia Lonchyna
  • Marcos Juarez Lopez
  • Susan Loris
  • Jesus Luna
  • Kurt Magoon
  • David Manne
  • Keith Mardak
  • Greg Marget
  • Heather Marley
  • David Martin
  • Manuel Martinez, Jr.
  • Tonya Mazor-Posner
  • Robert McCoy
  • Daniel McGauley
  • Patricia McGavock
  • Patrick McGreal
  • Michael McGregor
  • Valarie McMurtry
  • Christel Mildenberg
  • David Millard
  • Phillip Millman
  • Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
  • Joana Miranda
  • Anne Modesitt
  • Jolene Molloy
  • Alexandre Moore
  • Rich Moyers
  • Daniel Neesley
  • Mike and Julia Nelson
  • Pat Nylen
  • Margaret Butler Padilla
  • James Paddcock
  • Sarah J. Pell
  • Karen Peteres
  • Eric Peterson
  • Anne Prescott
  • Andre Raphel
  • Dave Rasmussen
  • Kathryn and ZJ Reinardy
  • Leslie Reissner
  • Kathleen Roebke
  • Sonny Rosenberg
  • Charlene Roufas
  • Kimon Roufas
  • Linda Saladin
  • Howard Saltzman
  • Allen Salyer
  • Lora B. Sanders
  • Beverly Schaffer
  • Annamarie Schalk
  • Michael J.Schmitz
  • Carter Simmons
  • Wendy and Peter Slocum
  • Elizabeth Soellner
  • Benjamin Stanwood
  • Ilana Setapen
  • Natalie Setsuko
  • Susan Steele
  • Jean Stoner
  • Patricia Strapple
  • Greg Stuetze
  • Rick Terrian
  • Markand Thakar
  • Michelle Thompson
  • Haruki Toyama
  • Elizabeth Tuma
  • Maggie Elice Turner
  • Joan Urdan
  • Christopher van Cima
  • Mary Vandenburg
  • Cecily Ward
  • Mike Ward
  • Elizabeth Warne
  • Ottmar Weber
  • Brandon Williams
  • Stacy Williams
  • Cuauhtemoc Yescas
  • Reese Zecchin