Violinist with Oregon ties plays the world’s most expensive violin

Violinist with Oregon ties plays the world’s most expensive violin


Anne Akiko Meyers plays the most expensive violin in the world. (Lisa-Marie Mazzucco)

By David Stabler |
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on December 03, 2013 at 9:42 AM, updated December 03, 2013 at 12:42 PM

Anne Akiko Meyers, the international violin star with Oregon ties, plays the world’s most expensive violin. Called the Vieuxtemps and made by the 18th-century Italian luthier Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù, the violin fetched over $16 million when an anonymous buyer purchased it last year. That makes it the most expensive violin ever sold.

Meyers is familiar to Oregonian audiences at the Oregon Symphony and Britt Festivals. In 1990, she made her debut with the Portland orchestra. From 1983 to 1993, her father, Richard Meyers, was president of Western Oregon State College in Monmouth.

The Vieuxtemps violin may not hold the record, long. The Economist reports that despite the recent economic downturn, instrument prices have continued to rise at remarkable rates.

Between 1980 and 2011 the average auction prices for Stradivari increased at an annual rate of 15.4%, according to Violin Advisor, an instrument advisory firm. “During the recession, wealthy people lost so much money on stocks and property, but the ones who owned rare violins didn’t lose a penny,” says Paolo Alberghini, a New York violin dealer who was involved in the Vieuxtemps sale. “In fact, they made money. These instruments are recession-proof.”

Meyers previously owned two Stradivari violins. And the Vieuxtemps’s new owner decided earlier this year to give Ms Meyers the famous instrument as a lifetime loan. Why did he lend it to her rather than, say, Anne Sophie Mutter? Reached through an intermediary, the buyer would say only that “it was a natural fit to unite one of the greatest instruments with one of the top artists.” But Julie Reed-Yeboah, a violin restorer who was involved in the deal, adds that Ms Meyers “has demonstrated an incredible level of care over the instruments that she has played in the past.  Given that this is one of the best preserved examples of Guarneri Del Gesù’s work, it’s very important that it is well cared for.”