Advertising
anchor link to jump to start of content

The Seattle Times Company NWclassifieds NWsource seattletimes.com
seattletimes.com Nation/World Home delivery Contact us Search archives
Your account  Today's news index  Weather  Traffic  Movies  Restaurants  Today's events
  NWCLASSIFIEDS
  NWSOURCE
  SHOPPING
  SERVICES





Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - Page updated at 12:22 A.M.

Stradivari's 1684 cello nearly made into CD rack

By Ryan Pearson
The Associated Press

CARLO ALLEGRI / AP, 2003
Cellist Peter Stumpf with the Stradivarius cello last year.
E-mail E-mail this article
Print Print this article
Print Search archive
Most e-mailed articles Most e-mailed articles
LOS ANGELES — A nurse found a 320-year-old cello made by master craftsman Antonio Stradivari near a trash bin and almost had her boyfriend convert it into a CD holder, police said yesterday.

The $3.5 million instrument was returned to the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association on Monday after sitting unrecognized for days in the home of Melanie Stevens, 29, who found it on her way to visit a patient. She discovered the cello about a mile from where it was stolen.

Detective Donald Hrycyk said Stevens asked her boyfriend, a cabinetmaker, to either repair the instrument or convert it into a unique CD holder. She said she didn't know its significance until she noticed a news report May 7.

"It's an incredible miracle that somebody actually found it and returned it. Can you imagine it going into a garbage truck?" said the philharmonic's associate principal cellist, Daniel Rothmuller, who played the instrument for more than 25 years.

Its return was a relief for philharmonic principal cellist Peter Stumpf, who accidentally left it outside his home. Nearby video-surveillance cameras showed a bicyclist stole it April 25.

"It's been an enormous weight on me for the last three weeks," Stumpf said. "I'm just incredibly relieved that it's solved."

However, detectives are looking for the thief. They plan an investigation before deciding whether to give Stevens the $50,000 reward offered by an anonymous donor, Hrycyk said.

The prospect that the prized instrument could have been turned into a CD holder "is so abominable. I get sick when I hear it," said Robert Cauer, a Los Angeles-based expert instrument restorer.

The 1684 cello was one of about 60 made by Stradivari in his Cremona, Italy, workshop. The philharmonic association bought it about 30 years ago.

The cello — nicknamed the "General Kyd" for the man who brought it to England from Italy near the end of the 18th century — is cracked on the front, back and upper rib, but there is no crack in the critical rear soundpost, Cauer said.

He said the cello should be ready to play by October.

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

E-mail E-mail this article
Print Print this article
Print Search archive

More nation & world headlines...

advertising
 NATION/WORLD NEWS
 SEARCH

Today Archive

Advanced search

 
advertising

seattletimes.com home
Home delivery | Contact us | Search archive | Site map | Low-graphic
NWclassifieds | NWsource | Advertising info | The Seattle Times Company

Copyright

Back to topBack to top