The National Music Museum on the campus of The University of South Dakota in Vermillion, South Dakota, USA, celebrated the 500th birthday of Andrea Amati, in whose workshop in Cremona, Italy, the form of the instruments of the violin family as we know them today first crystallized, by hosting an international conference — The Secrets, Lives, and Violins of the Great Cremona Makers 1505-1744 — Friday-Monday, July 1-4, 2005.
The aim of the program was to bring together individuals who have been at the forefront of archival research in Cremona to share their findings, in a setting amidst some of the earliest, best preserved, and historically most important instruments known to survive, including the NMM's quartet of instruments by Andrea Amati, violins by the
second and third generations of the Amati family, and instruments by Andrea Guarneri, Antonio Stradivari, and other prominent Cremonese makers.
The program was structured around major presentations by Carlo Chiesa (Milan), John Dilworth (London), Andrew Dipper (Minneapolis), and Duane Rosengard (Philadelphia), with shorter contributions by other experts, round tables, and similar opportunities for discussion among and between all who attended.
Ray Erickson, Professor of Music at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queen's College in New York, placed violin-making in the broader cultural context of the north Italian penninsula and neighboring influences in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Sergiu Luca, one of the premier violinists of our time, performed music of the period, along with Byron Schenkman, Artistic Director of the Seattle Baroque Orchestra, who has recorded critically acclaimed CDs on the NMM's harpsichord by Giacomo Ridolfi, Italy, ca. 1662-1682.
There were opportunities to hear Sergiu Luca play some of the great instruments from the NMM's Witten-Rawlins Collection of Early Italian Stringed Instruments for the first time since the NMM acquired the Collection in 1984.
Participants enjoyed an old-fashioned South Dakota pig roast, as well as lots of North Italian cooking, including a lavish Cremonese banquet that concluded the event on Monday night. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The $495 registration fee included all events, an illustrated souvenir program book that is destined to become a collector's item, and all of the meals, beginning with the opening reception with food and wine at the historic home of USD President and Mrs. James W. Abbott on Friday, July 1, at 5:30 p.m., and ending with the Cremonese banquet at the Buffalo Run Winery — plus fireworks — on Monday night, July 4.
The event was coordinated by Claire Givens of Claire Givens Violins, Minneapolis, a NMM Trustee. Major underwriting was provided by four prominent American violin dealers: Christopher Reuning (Boston), James Warren (Chicago), Robert Bein and Geoffrey Fushi (Chicago), and David Kerr (Portland).
Participation was limited to the first 100 registrants.
Cremonese Instruments (in chronological order)
NMM 3366. Violin by Andrea Amati, Cremona, ca. 1560
NMM 3370. Viola by Andrea Amati, Cremona, ca. 1560
NMM 5260. Violin by Andrea Amati, Cremona, 1574
NMM T-18. Violin pattern attributed to a Cremonese workshop, 17th century
NMM 3423. Violin by Girolamo Amati, Cremona, 1604
NMM 3364. Violin, 7/8-size, by Girolamo Amati, Cremona, 1609
NMM 3361. Violino piccolo by Girolamo Amati, Cremona, 1613
NMM 3356. Violin by Nicolo Amati, Cremona, 1628
NMM 3414. Violin, northern Italy, ca. 1660. Later belly attributed to Antonio Stradivari
NMM 3354. Tenor viola by Andrea Guarneri, Cremona, 1664
NNM 6045. Choral mandolino, The Cutler-Challen, by Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, 1680
NMM 10845. Bass Viola da Gamba, Antonio Stradivari Workshop, Cremona, ca. 1730
Converted into a Violoncello, ca. 1835-1850
NNM 3598. Violin, The Harrison, by Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, Italy, 1693
NNM 3976. Guitar, The Rawlins, by Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, 1700
NMM 4882. Violin bow attributed to the workshop of Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, ca. 1700. Ex coll.: Charles IV of Spain
NMM 6046. Viola by Nicola Bergonzi, Cremona, 1781
NMM 3359. Violin, 1/2-size, by Lorenzo Storioni, Cremona, 1793
NMM 4900. Violin by Giovanni Battista Ceruti, Cremona, ca. 1805-1810
Comparisons of the Andrea Amati Instruments
Comparison of the Treble and Bass Sides of all Four Andrea Amati instruments
Comparison of the Soundholes of all Four Andrea Amati instruments
Comparison of the Pegbox/Scroll Views of all Four Andrea Amati instruments
Checklist of Bowed and Plucked Stringed Instruments Made in Cremona, Italy
Checklist of Bowed
Stringed Instruments Made Before 1800
Checklist of 16th-17th-Century Instruments
Checklist of Violins Made Between 1800-1849
Description of The Witten-Rawlins Collection
©National Music Museum, 2005-2006
Most recent update:
October 19, 2007
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