A Sound Investment

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Matthew Trusler is one of Britain's most promising young musicians. Critics have likened him to the young Jascha Heifitz. He now needs a top quality violin of his own if he's to continue his bid for stardom but a Stradivari now costs more than a Mayfair house or a Premiership fullback. Prices have risen by over 25,000% in the last forty years. Norman Lebrecht helps him explore the available options. The search starts at The Royal Academy of Music, which holds the largest collection of fine string instruments in the world and loans them out to star soloists. Clio Gould, first woman leader of a London symphony orchestra, describes her own loaned Strad. Matthew compares a £500,000 Guadagnini from the collection with an exact copy made in 2002. But only a Strad will do, and there isn't one spare for a long-term loan. He then goes shopping at Beares, the world's leading dealer, whose stock of instruments is worth hundreds of millions. Matthew tries out a Guarneri, then a rare top-quality Strad. Nigel Brown, who arranges group purchases of instruments by millionaire investors, talks to Matthew. The player uses the violin and gradually buys shares in it himself. Is there someone out there who can help?