While sometimes lackadaisical young musicians may be prone to leaving their instrument on a school bus, it is not everyday that a $3.5 million cello, crafted by the revered artisan and craftsman Antonio Stradivari is absent-mindedly forgotten by the principal cellist (one Peter Stumpf) for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. But this is precisely what happened when Mr. Stumpf forgot his cello outside his home on April 25. Not surprisingly, a young male bicyclist departed with the cello in tow, and the search went out immediately for the prized instrument, including the promise of a $50,000 reward for the safe return of the instrument. There seemed to be little hope until earlier this week, when a nurse, Melanie Stevens, noticed a news report on the lost instrument, and realized that it was in fact the same instrument she had found near a dumpster the previous week. She returned the instrument to Mr. Stumpf, who was understandably relieved, particularly when he learned that Stevens had asked her boyfriend to convert the instrument into a CD holder. As a result of its movement around the city of Los Angeles, the cello suffered some moderate damage, but as there was no crack in the rear sound post, the instrument should be ready to play in concert by October of this year.
The first link leads to a piece from the San Diego Union-Tribune that details the recent recovery of this extremely valuable and beloved instrument. The second link will take visitors to an investigative piece from the Christian Science Monitor that takes on some of the unanswered questions that remain in the wake of the instrument's reappearance. The third link leads to an article written by Colin Gough on the unique tonal qualities of the rather revered violins created by Stradivari in the 17th century. The fourth link leads to a nice piece from CNN about the particular climatic conditions that may have led to the ideal wood that later became these prized instruments. The fifth link leads to a detailed profile of Mr. Stump, courtesy of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. The last link will take visitors to a page that details the provenance and technical specifications of the cello in question, known to experts as the General Kyd.