Granted by a Swiss foundation, the German violinist will now perform on this 303-year-old instrument, crafted during the famed luthier’s Golden Period
The 1718 "Ex-Benno Walter" was made during a pinnacle of the violin maker’s career called his "Golden Period" — which was roughly from 1700-1720.
The violin’s history is illustrious, having passed down from those like the Prince of Donau-Eschingen, whose family was amongst the earliest admirers of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Other recorded owners include Baron Ludwig (Louis) von Eichthal in the late 19th century, who bequeathed it to violinist Benno Walter whose name is still attached to the instrument. After being sold to W.E. Hill & Sons by Walter’s son, the instrument made a trip to Europe before Bernhard Sinsheimer bought it in the 20th century, taking it to the US.
The violin later made its way to Deszö Szigeti, uncle to violinist Joseph Szigeti; hence, the violin is also known as the "Ex-Deszö Szigeti." Landing in New York in 1931, Deszö played with the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic for 29 years.