Italy’s violin capital with music recovers from COVID-19

Italy's violin capital with music recovers from COVID-19

Lima has lived in Cremona for the past sixteen years and was educated at the Antonio Stradivari school of violin making. Cremona owes its reputation as a city of violin makers to Stradivari. If Amati is the father of the violin, then Stradivari is the master. No creator has ever improved the sound of this instrument like Stradivari, who was born in Cremona in 1644 and died there 93 years later. Meanwhile, he had made over a thousand perfect violins, some of which sold for as much as $16 million.

The new conservatory

Fortunately, visitors to Cremona do not have to be wealthy to see or listen to one of Stradivari’s masterpieces. Opposite the tree-lined Piazza Marconi, the wonderful Museo del Violino features instruments made by Stradivari. There is also a hall where soloists regularly play his violins.

The museum displays the collections of the municipality of Cremona and the Walter Stover Foundation. The latter organization is helping Cremona recover by opening the Stauffer Tendon Center on October 1. The director of the center, Paolo Petruselli, says that students can take all the programs for free thanks to the full scholarships. This is one of the steps to secure the future of Cremona’s musical heritage.

Despite the fact that Cremona has suffered greatly from the epidemic, the foundation has never considered building the center elsewhere. “This is where we belong,” Petrucelli said. It thus refers to both the city and the home of the center, the stately Palazzo Stradiotti, a restored 17th-century palace.

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As the Stauffer Center prepares to open, some of the existing violin making schools in Cremona are fortunate in that they are still operating. When I visited the city before the pandemic, the Academia Cremonensis was filled with enthusiastic violins making students from Europe, Asia and America. Co-founder Massimo Lucci gave me a tour of the large campus while enthusiastically explaining expansion plans. Lucci informed me this month that his school had barely survived the pandemic.

The school’s income fell sharply because many students were unable to travel to Cremona. The school has remained open during most of the pandemic, so that international students do not feel lonely in their apartments. “It was great to see our students from all over the world helping each other and forming a small community in abandoned and inhabited Cremona,” says Lucci.

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