Plucking a rare violin



Queenstown’s Turn Up the Music school has been gifted a rare German-made violin thought to date from the late 1800s.

Auckland-based Natasha Beckman, who handed it over month, says it was played by her Wellington-based great-grandmother in the national orchestra and in recordings in the ‘20s and ‘30s, and was named ‘Violet’ in her honour.

She’d been handed it by her father-in-law, a pawn broker, who’d been asked to sell it for
a Russian customer.

Beckman says what makes it special is it originates from the famous violin-making village of Mittenwald in Germany.

After her great-grandmother’s era, the violin had lain around unused till it was restored by Auckland violin conservator, the late Timothy Crake, about a decade ago.

It was then played by well-known English violinist Stephen Hussey, who’d performed reggae, jazz and contemporary music on it, as well as the classical repertoire.

Beckman, who formerly ran a string orchestra in London, says because Covid’s made the
life of professional musicians so difficult, she decided the violin was better off in the
hands of young performers, rather than sitting around, unplayed.

Turn Up the Music trustee Jane Pestell-Litten says the school’s ‘‘thrilled to have the opportunity to have a really marvellous instrument for our teachers and students to utilise’’.