Stradivarius 1708 “Huggins”

Since 1997, the Nippon Music Foundation loans the Stradivarius 1708 Violin ‘Huggins’ to the First Prize winner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition for a period of four years until the following violin session.

The name of this violin is derived from the English astronomer Sir William Huggins (1824-1910) who once possessed it. The instrument was previously located in France and Austria, before it was brought to W. E. Hill & Sons of England around 1880, then sold to Sir William Huggins in 1882, who retained it until his death. It then had several owners, before it was purchased by the Nippon Music Foundation in 1995. Since Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider in 1997, all first laureates of the Violin Competition have been recipients of the ‘Huggins’.

Description of the instrument
The back of the violin is made up of one piece of maple with a striking medium-broad curl descending to the right. The sides are similarly marked. The scroll, also being of maple, is of less pronounced curl. The table, composed of two pieces of spruce, is marked by fine grain at the center, becoming more open and slightly wavy towards the flanks. The varnish is of a rich orange color.

The Nippon Music Foundation
The Nippon Music Foundation was established in 1974 with the objective to ‘enhance music culture’ in Japan. In 1994, the Foundation started the ‘Instrument Loan Project’ to make greater contributions towards the field of classical music worldwide by loaning top-quality string instruments.
The Foundation now owns 21 string instruments (15 Stradivarius violins, 1 viola, 3 cellos and 2 Guarneri del Gesù violins), and as the custodian of these world cultural assets, maintains them for future generations and loans them gratis to young promising artists and internationally active musicians, regardless of their nationalities.
It organises numerous concerts worldwide to provide opportunities for many people to fully enjoy the timbre of these superb instruments. One of the Foundation’s emblematic concert series ‘Encounter with Stradivari’ features more than 10 Stradivarius instruments and their players.

The Foundation’s activities are made possible by the generous support of The Nippon Foundation.

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