• 1902 Enrico Rocca violin

    This violin was made by Enrico Rocca, who was born in Turin in 1847 and later lived and worked in Genoa. The violin was made in 1902, during the zenith of Rocca's career.

    • Anonymous loan
    • Acquired: 2000
    • Value: $250,000
  • 1900 Stefano Scarampella violin

    This violin was made by Stefano Scarampella, a luthier based in Mantua, Italy, who was one of the more important makers of the late 19th and early 20th century. The instrument was made at the zenith of Scarampella’s career and is in excellent condition. It boasts a rich sound quality and in recent years has been loaned for numerous performance concerts and quartet and orchestral work.

    • Purchased by the Canada Council for the Arts (with funds from the Edith Davis Webb endowment)
    • Acquired: 2012
    • Value: $180,000.
  • 1871 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume violin

    This violin was made by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume of Paris, one of the best luthiers of his era. The volin bears the master's signature on the upper back as well as his number and brand stamp – markings that indicate the maker’s highest level of quality. The violin is in near mint condition and is an exact copy of the famed 1716 Antonio Stradivari, known as the “Messiah” or “Messie,” that Vuillaume brought out of Italy after the death of its owner, Luigi Tarisio, in 1854. More recently, in 2001, it was rescued from a devastating house fire in which the owner lost all other personal belongings.

    • Purchased by the Canada Council for the Arts (with funds from the Edith Davis Webb endowment)
    • Acquired: 2012
    • Value: $260,000.
  • ca. 1869 Jean Baptiste Vuillaume violin (with Vuillaume model bow)

    This violin of Del Gesù model was made in Paris, France by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume at the zenith of his career. The violin bears the master's signature on the inside upper back, as well as his number and brand stamp. It and the bow that accompanies it are in near mint condition.

    • Loan from: Greg Cook (Guelph, Ontario) 
    • Acquired: 2009 
    • Value: $260,000 (violin), $15,000 (bow)
  • ca. 1830 Shaw Adam cello bow

    Made in France by Jean-Dominique Adam, the bow is a fine example of Adam's work. The donor, Andrew R. Shaw was a professional cellist, and was the president of Canada's largest music publishing company for many years before becoming CEO of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 2002.

    • Donated by Andrew R. Shaw (Toronto)
    • Acquired: 1999
    • Value: $55,000.
  • 1824 McConnell Nicolaus Gagliano II cello

    Made by Nicolo Gagliano, whose family played an important part in the art of Italian violin making. Over 20 members of this family are known to have worked in Naples from the end of the 17th century to recent times.

    • Donated by the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation
    • Acquired: 2000
    • Value: $600,000.
  • 1820 Joannes Franciscus Pressenda violin

    This violin is considered to be the first known instrument made by 19th century violinmaker Giovanni Francesco Pressenda of Turin, Italy. It is in a very fine state of preservation and is nearly as it was when it left the master's hands almost two hundred years ago. The instrument was for many years in the possession of Remo Bolignini, a pupil of Ysaÿe.

    • Anonymous loan
    • Acquired: 2000
    • Value: $400,000.
  • 1769 Joannes Guillami cello

    This powerful cello, known as “El Tiburón” (the shark), was made in the year of Joannes Guillami’s death, and may be a collaborative work between him and his son (Joannes II), his only pupil. Guillami’s shop in Barcelona, Spain, produced a number of oversized cellos (sometimes called church bass). This particular cello has been reduced from a larger size to fit more modern needs, but retains the deep haunting voice of a larger bass-like instrument with dark overtones that can be felt by both the player and audience alike.

    • Donated by the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation
    • Acquired: 1999
    • Value: $350,000
  • 1768 Miller Januarius Gagliano violin

    This violin bears the original label by its maker, Januarius Gagliano. Gagliano came from a family of luthiers based in Naples, Italy, and the patriarch Alessandro Gagliano having worked in Cremona with his contemporary Antonio Stradivari. The violin is characteristic of Gagliano’s work and is in an excellent state of preservation.

    • Loaned by Mrs. Miller (Toronto)
    • Acquired: 2012
    • Value: $375,000.
  • 1757 Carlo Antonio Tononi violin

    This fine violin was created by Carlo Antonio Tononi, of Venice, Italy, the third generation of a family of renowned luthiers (father was Pietro Tononi, grandfather was Carlo Tononi of Bologna, Italy). The instrument's voice is strong and clear, and very well suited to solo performance and repertoire. It is accompanied by a certificate and photographs from the firm of Hamma of Stuttgart signed and dated 6 July 1943.

    • Loan from the Buchanan family
    • Acquired: 2014
    • Value: $300,000
  • 1750 Carlo Ferdinando Landolfi violin

    This violin was crafted by master luthier Carlo Ferdinando Landolfi, of Milan, Italy. It was made at the zenith of his career and around the same time as his great contemporary G.B. Guadagnini was based in Milan. Landolfi was known for his beautiful varnishes, and this violin bears a fine reddish brown varnish, richly applied over an amber base. The instrument is in remarkable condition and its voice has a clean and focused core that easily reaches out to the back of the concert hall.

    • Loan from Helen Mailer
    • Acquired: 2014
    • Value: $375,000
  • 1747 Palmason Januarius Gagliano violin

    This fine violin was made by Januarius Gagliano in Naples in 1747. In 1895, W.E. Hill & Sons of London sold the violin to John A. Brown, Esq. In 1938, it was sold by Pierre Vidoudez to Jean Klein of Geneva. Pearl Palmason of Toronto purchased the instrument in 1960 when she was a member of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and loaned it to the Canada Council in 2003. After her death, the heir of the violin, who wishes to remain anonymous, continued the loan.

    • On loan from an anonymous donor 
    • Acquired: 2003
    • Value: $375,000.
  • 1730 Newland Joannes Franciscus Celoniatus cello

    This magnificent cello was made from black Italian poplar, rather than the more often used maple. The softer wood and the way it was cut on a slab is flexible and supple, creating a rich alto sound, like a low rumble on stage. It is believed to be a twin of another cello created from the same tree, currently owned by the Royal Academy of Music in London.

    • Purchased by the Canada Council for the Arts (with funds from the Edith Davis Webb endowment)
    • Acquired: 2011
    • Value: $800,000.
  • 1729 Guarneri del Gesù violin

    Made in Cremona, Italy in 1729 by the famed luthier Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù, it is a characteristic example of this period of the maker's work and has outstanding tonal quality. In 1986 Gordon Jeffrey, a great patron of music and scion of the family that founded London Life Insurance Company, bequeathed it to the University of Western Ontario. An anonymous donor purchased it in 1997.

    • Anonymous loan
    • Acquired: 1998
    • Value: $5.5 million
  • 1717 Windsor-Weinstein Stradivari violin

    This instrument, made in 1717 by Italian violinmaker Antonio Stradivari, has been in the possession of a number of collectors and noted violinists, most recently Leon Weinstein, who purchased it in 1961. In 1980, Mr. Weinstein donated the Stradivari to the Ontario Heritage Foundation in the hope of starting a collection of great musical instruments to be made available to outstanding Canadian musicians who would not otherwise have the opportunity to play such fine instruments.

    • Donated by the Ontario Heritage Foundation
    • Acquired: 1988
    • Value: $5.5 million
  • 1715 Dominicus Montagnana violin

    This fine violin was created by Dominicus Montagnana, one of the greatest Venetian violin-makers of the 18th century. It is a rare and very noted example of this famous violin-maker's work. The history of this violin is known from the latter half of the 19th century, and it passed through the hands of Hart & Son, Marconi (the radio pioneer and violin enthusiast), violin connoisseur R. A. Bower Esq., violin virtuoso Albert Sammons and Percival Hodgson, violin soloist, composer and professor.

    • Anonymous loan
    • Acquired: 2006
    • Value: $950,000
  • 1706 Brott-Turner Tecchler cello

    This cello, built in Rome, is one of the finest pieces by David Tecchler. An excellent maker whose instruments are highly valued, Tecchler produced some 50 cellos. His cellos are particularly sought after because of their rich sonorous tone. This was the first instrument acquired for the MIB and is a career loan to Denis Brott.

    • Donated thanks to the fundraising efforts of W.I.M. Turner and the Brott Family 
    • Acquired: 1987
    • Value: $900,000
  • 1700 Taft Stradivari violin

    This fine violin is a characteristic example of the early part of Antonio Stradivari's “Golden Period”. It is traditionally said to have been in the possession of Albert Caressa, Paris, who passed it to Rudolf Wurlitzer in Cincinnati, Ohio. Around 1915, Mr. Wurlitzer sold the violin to Mrs. Charles Phelps Taft, one of the founders of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and wife of the Cincinnati philanthropist Charles P. Taft, brother of William Howard Taft, 37th President and 10th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Mrs. Taft presented the violin to Emil Heermann, the concertmaster of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, for his use. Following the death of Mr. Taft, the violin was sold to the private collector and amateur violinist Ernest Ruder of Cincinnati in 1940, where it remained until 1987, at which point it was sold by Jacques Français to another owner.

    • Anonymous loan
    • Acquired: 2003
    • Value: $5.5 million
  • ca. 1700 Bell Giovanni Tononi violin

    This fine violin was made in Bologna, Italy, around 1700. Giovanni Tononi was born in Bologna around 1640 and died in 1713. He studied under his father and master, Felice Tononi. Giovanni Tononi produced violins of very high quality both in workmanship and sound. His skill surpassed many of his contemporaries and equaled some of the finest makers of his era. Justice R.D. Bell, a music-lover and philanthropist, donated the violin to the Canada Council in December 2002.

    • Donated by Justice R.D. Bell
    • Acquired: 2002
    • Value: $275,000
  • ca. 1696 Bonjour Stradivari cello

    The Bonjour Stradivari cello, made by Antonio Stradivari ca. 1696, is named after an amateur 19th century Parisian cellist, Abel Bonjour, who owned it until his death sometime after 1885. The cello subsequently passed via Fridolin Hamma of Stuttgart to Dr. Hans Kühne of Cologne, who loaned the cello to the Stradivari Bicentennial exhibition in Cremona in 1937, and it is illustrated in the catalogue of the exhibition. For some years, the cello was owned by the Habisreutinger Foundation of St. Gallen, Switzerland; more recently, it was owned by Martin Lovett of the celebrated Amadeus Quartet. The present owner, an anonymous donor, acquired it in the fall of 1999.

    • Anonymous loan
    • Acquired: 2000
    • Value: $12 million
  • 1689 Baumgartner Stradivari violin

    This early period Stradivari was acquired by Gordon Jeffrey from Robert Masters, the concertmaster of the Bath (England) Festival Orchestra during Yehudi Menuhin's tenure as conductor. The instrument was used in many recordings made by the Orchestra under Menuhin's direction. Étienne Périlhon of Paris owned it in the early 1950s, followed by P. Nicholson of Folkestone, England, in the early 1960s. In 1963, Mr. Fritz Baumgartner of Basel, Switzerland, acquired the violin. In 1986 Gordon Jeffrey, a great patron of music and scion of the family that founded London Life Insurance Company, bequeathed it to the University of Western Ontario, from which an anonymous donor purchased it in 1997.

    • Anonymous loan
    • Acquired: 1997
    • Value: $5.5 million