ARCHIV - Violinisten spielen am 30.07.2013 in Rheinsberg (Brandenburg) im Heckentheater des Schlossparks bei einer Opernaufführung. (zu dpa «Bislang mehr als 6000 Besucher bei Mosel Musikfestival» vom 27.08.2017) Foto: Jens Kalaene/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++

A valuable violin seized during searches in Berlin is intact and should soon be able to be used again by a musician. “A violin maker examined the instrument and confirmed to us that it is ready to play,” said a spokeswoman for the German Foundation for Music Life on request.

The foundation manages valuable string instruments, most of which are owned by the federal government, and makes these highly talented musicians available. This was also the case with the instrument by violin maker Nicolo Gagliano, which was stolen from a student at the Hanns Eisler Music Academy in Berlin in March 2019.

More than three years later, the 18th-century violin was seized during searches in the apartment of an elderly woman in Kreuzberg in mid-July, according to the public prosecutor. The woman’s son is said to have bought the instrument from the thief for only 200 euros. The actual reason for the raid was an investigation into another case of bodily harm, deprivation of liberty and threats.

The public prosecutor’s office gave the value of the violin as at least 275,000 euros. According to the foundation, the instrument has meanwhile experienced an increase in value. Obviously, however, the thief did not know what treasure he had. According to the authorities, the investigation into the case is ongoing.

The instrument is now back in the hands of the Hamburg-based foundation. In February 2023, a competition will then be held to determine which musical talent will now receive the violin on loan.

“We lend our instruments exclusively to the highly gifted,” explained the spokeswoman. New applicants initially receive a valuable musical instrument for one year, but longer periods are also possible afterwards. “Our goal is to promote the cultural landscape of the violin in the long term,” explained the spokeswoman.

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The project started with an inventory of 16 instruments, but the fund now has more than 200 valuable violins, violas, cellos and double basses, some of which are over 300 years old. “Fortunately, there are people who don’t want their instruments to gather dust in the closet,” said the spokeswoman.