William Fitzpatrick - violin expert

The Many Stories of Bill Fitzpatrick: Dr. Johnson co-signs a loan

How an old violin may be worth less than a new one

In this video, Prof. Fitzpatrick tells a story about a loan for buying a violin.

Released on December 8, 2021

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

After a Nashville Symphony rehearsal, Dr. Johnson the conductor asked me to meet him in front of this bank the following week. So the next week we entered and he told a bank officer that I needed a loan for violin and he would co-sign. I was given $3,500, which was quite a lot in 1968. So I had some violins shipped from Moenig’s shop in Philadelphia, and chose an old Venetian violin, mostly because it looked old. It is a decision that I have regretted for many years, as one of the other violins was by an Italian maker, Scarampella, and is worth a fortune today. And the other by the French maker Gand which is highly sought-after and has a market value that’s up there as well. But I just had to have the older violin. It looked so much better!
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Jennifer on December 13, 2021 @5:15 am PST
I didn’t realize you played in the Nashville Symphony in the past! I live and work in Nashville as a violin maker now. I think in violin buying, trading etc. it’s easy to have regrets at missed opportunities. You make a good point though that looks aren’t everything!
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William - host, on December 13, 2021 @9:38 am PST
Hi and yes I played (Thor Johnson) and was even asst conductor (Schermerhorn) ... Many of my dearest friends are in Nashville ... Connie Heard, Betty Small, and so many others... AND yes looks can be extremely deceiving!!! Thanks!!!
George Mahida * VSM MEMBER * on December 8, 2021 @12:48 pm PST
Professor Fitzpatrick I Like your stories. This one tells me that you are blessed with amazing teacher/conductor who chose to take financial risk on you. It made me think about how music enhances our spirituality. Thanks for sharing!
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William - host, on December 9, 2021 @10:05 am PST
Yes I was so very lucky! Thanks for looking and commenting!
Tosh Hayashi * VSM MEMBER * on December 8, 2021 @9:41 am PST
Seems to me that when buying a violin, how it plays and sounds is much more important than its provenance or age...that is, assuming one is a player and not merely a collector. (One other thing: never
buy a violin without having played on it first and having been satisfied that it suits one's requirements.)
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William - host, on December 9, 2021 @10:02 am PST
Yes I was stupid! That said however one has to be careful when one is young as buying a $5,000 violin could lead to a $10k to a $20k making provenance with documentation/certificates etc are important for resale.
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