[U]NCSA Time Capsule no. 9

November 16th, 2012

The Amati Instruments:
Publicity Stunt or Epic Saga

You may recall the Time Capsule1 consisted of a copy of the first NCSA Newsletter.  It contained an article noting the loan of four prized Amati instruments to the School of the Arts by the Corcoran Gallery in Washington DC.  It was quite a coup in 1965 for President Vittorio Giannini and Corcoran trustee and Winston Salem native, Gordon Gray, to arrange for this three year loan.  The instruments made in Italy between 1656 and 1677, by Nicolo Amati II, the teacher of Antonio Stradivari, were considered "priceless" and had a provenance which included King Louis XIV of France.  

Newspaper clippings in the school archives provide a colorful story of the pomp and excitement surrounding the presentation of the instruments by the Corcoran to the school.

Dr. Giannini was justifiably proud and at the forefront of every phase of this transaction right up until the week of his untimely death on November 25, 1966 in New York City.  Indeed, his final missive to the Corcoran Gallery was written on November 22, 1966 in which he advised them of the status of a certain insurance claim.  

Read the saga of NCSA and the Amati instruments and judge for yourself whether the esteemed violinist, Marc Gottlieb, wasn't just a bit skeptical with regard to the loan in light of subsequent events.

News clippings (PDF)

Giannini Correspondence (PDF)