What it means to play a Stradivarius violin

The chance to play a Stradivarius violin which features in a new exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum is "a once in a lifetime experience" says Oxford music graduate Cecilia Stinton.

Oxford University music graduate Cecilia Stinton had the privilege of playing the 1666 Stradivarius violin known as the "Serdet". The instrument is currently on display at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, as part of an exhibition looking at the legendary string instruments created by Antonio Stradivari.

... But the instruments were created to be heard. Each instrument’s sound is celebrated and can be heard in the show’s audio guide.

The exhibition includes an impression of Stradivari’s studio in Cremona, Italy, displaying his original tools, models and patterns. It also includes performances. 

What does it feel like to play a Stradivarius? “Awesome, really, in the true sense of the word,” said Stinton. “On top of the normal adrenaline which goes with having to perform, there is that thought that you’re holding something which is worth God knows how many millions, and then there is the thought: ‘I’m going to add another layer to the ownership.’ It’s like that thing when you shake hands with your idol and you don’t want to wash your hands again.”

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