November 8, 2005

CORRECTED – Million-dollar Paganini violin to be contest prize

In LONDON story dated November 1 and headlined
"Million-dollar Paganini violin to be contest prize," please
read in first paragraph ... 19th century virtuoso ... instead
of ... 17th century virtuoso ... .

A corrected version follows.

LONDON (Reuters) - The winners of an annual violin
competition in Moscow have a new prize -- a chance to play for
a year on a million-dollar violin once owned by famed 19th
century virtuoso Nicolo Paganini.

The Moscow-based Violin Art Foundation bought the rare
violin -- the first from Paganini's legendary collection to
come up for auction -- for 568,000 pounds on Tuesday,
auctioneers Sotheby's said.

Maxim Viktorov, chairman of the foundation's board of
trustees, said winners of its annual Paganini Moscow
International Violin Competition "will be given the rare
opportunity to play this extraordinary violin for one year."

Not only was it the first time one of Paganini's cherished
instruments had come up for auction, it was one of only 50
surviving violins by master craftsman Carlo Bergonzi of
Cremona. The price set a world auction record for a Bergonzi.

The violin dates from around 1720 when Bergonzi was in his
late 30s and already a powerful name in his own right, ranking
third behind the towering Cremonese makers Josef Guarneri and
Antonio Stradivari.

It is not known when Paganini -- whose virtuoso playing
made people believe he had struck a deal with the devil --
acquired the instrument.

But it is known to have been among the 20 violins,
including 10 Stradivaris, passed to his son Achille on
Paganini's death in 1840 and certified as a Bergonzi in 1870 by
French dealer and violin-maker Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume.

It changed hands several times over the ensuing 80 years
before ending up with John Corrigliano, who was concert master
of the New York Philharmonic orchestra from 1943 to 1966.

In 1957 he sold it to an amateur violinist whose daughter
offered it for sale on Tuesday.