It seems things have taken a turn for the worse for young David Garrett aka the David Beckham of classical violin. He recently tripped at a concert and landed on his violin, a
three-hundred year old Stradivarius 1772 Guadagnini.
Every musician I’ve ever met has had at least one horrendous experience where they’ve irreparably damaged their own equipment. At this time it feels like the world has ended, but with hindsight you learn to see the funny side. Interestingly, there seems to be no limit to the number of ridiculous ways you can accidentally break your music equipment.
Take my own personal calamity involving a Hohner Rockwood strat (just like the one pictured – not quite a Stradavarius, I know) and a Sega Megadrive.The day before a music exam I was really getting into a game of EA Hockey when my unbridled enthusiasm got the better of me. In an over-zealous effort to control my joypad my elbows flailed wildly and collided with the strat that was leaning against the couch beside me. In slow motion, it fell like a giant Redwood chopped down by fate’s lumberjack. Not only did the neck of the guitar split just behind the tuning heads, but the USSR scored in the last minute while I was frozen in shock.
Take heart Dave Garret; we’ve all been there.
Have you carelessly destroyed one of your favourite instruments? If so, why not share the heartache so we can all have a good laugh?
The article in the Idependent notes some other particulalry funny close calls involving Sradavarii.
The nearest another musician has come to suffering a similar disaster was when Peter Stumpf, a performer from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, came home tired one evening in 2004 and absent-mindedly left his 1684 Stradivarius cello on his front doorstep. Video security footage showed a youth stealing it and struggling to escape on a bicycle, crashing into dustbins on his way.
It was found three days later by a nurse, who gave it to her boyfriend, a carpenter, who offered to turn it into a CD rack. It was returned only slightly damaged.
In 1999 the world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma left his £1.25m 1733 Stradivarius cello in the boot of a New York taxi. A huge crowd gathered outside his hotel the next day to see it returned in a black police sedan.
Here’s Yo-Yo playing some Morricone on the cello and messing about with the muppets: