The Canada Council adds three violins and two cellos to its Musical Instrument Bank


The Canada Council for the Arts announced today that it has recieved three violins and two cellos to add to its 12-piece Musical Instrument Bank.

1871 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume violin (Curtis Lantinga photo).

The press release states that the enhanced collection — now 19 instruments and one cello bow collectively valued at $28 million – will all become part of the Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank Competition, which has its next iteration this fall.

Competition winners are given the use of the instruments and box for three years, with the aim of giving their careers a boost.

The high prices of fine string instruments mean that the best are out of reach of all but a tiny minority of performers.

The Canada Council bought three of the instruments with funds from a bequest of $1.1 million from the estate of the late Edith Davis Webb, the press release states. The instruments are:

  • 1730 Newland Joannes Franciscus Celoniatus cello valued at $750,000
  • 1871 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume violin valued at $250,000
  • 1900 Stefano Scarampella violin valued at $160,000

The Canada Council is getting the other two instruments on loan: the 1768 Miller Januarius Gagliano violin, from Toronto, valued at $300,000, and a 1929 Carlo Giuseppe Oddone cello valued at $200,000.

“The Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank runs on inspiration, talent and generosity,” stated Canada Council head Robert Sirman in the release. “Thanks to donations, endowments and loans, we are able to get more of these finely crafted instruments into the hands of talented musicians. This means that more audiences can experience the power, depth and beauty of music created by pairing a centuries-old instrument with an exceptional soloist.”

This year’s competition finalists are in the process of being chosen. They will audition live before a jury at the end of September in Toronto. The list of winners will be released on Sept.

John Terauds

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