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Australian Chamber Orchestra Instrument Fund


ACO Instrument Fund The Australian Chamber Orchestra is establishing an Instrument Fund to offer investors the opportunity to participate in the ownership of a bank of historic stringed instruments. The instruments will be lent by the Fund to the ACO, for use by its worldclass musicians in concerts and recordings both in Australia and around the world.

Message from Richard Tognetti AO, Artistic Director I salute the leadership shown by the Commonwealth Bank, Peter Weiss and the anonymous owner of the violin I play, in bringing fine instruments to Australia to be played by the Australian Chamber Orchestra, for all Australians and music lovers around the world to appreciate.

Richard Tognetti with the Guarneri violin

I invite you to emulate their vision by investing in the ACO’s Instrument Fund so that we may bring one of the world’s most famous violins, a Stradivarius, to Australia and continue to build on the collection of fine instruments held in this country for the future.


Antique violins could add a lucrative string to a portfolio’s bow. Peter Weiss AM, Timo-Veikko Valve and the Guarneri filius Andreae cello

Financial Times Magazine

Patron: Peter Weiss AM In 2007, Peter Weiss AM, one of Australia’s greatest arts philanthropists, a passionate lover of the cello and longstanding and generous supporter of the ACO, acquired a rare 1729 Guarneri filius Andreae cello for the use of the ACO’s Principal Cellist, Timo-Veikko Valve (known as ‘Tipi’). The cello was acquired in 2007 for £400,000 and has since substantially increased in value. At the time of its purchase, Peter decided to remain anonymous but we are delighted that he has now consented to reveal his identity as the owner of this fine instrument, in the hope that others will follow his visionary example. The instrument is now known publicly as the ‘Weiss Guarneri cello’. Peter Weiss says: “I have done much in my life yet one of my greatest joys was the process of selecting the Guarneri cello together with Richard and Tipi and finally its acquisition. Such an ongoing pleasure at every performance!” Peter has now led the way with a new unprecedented gift, the largest in the ACO’s history, to assist the Fund to acquire the Stradivarius violin. Peter’s generosity to the ACO, both now and over more than two decades, is unparalleled and we are honoured that he has accepted our invitation to become the Patron of the Instrument Fund.

The golden age of stringed instruments The finest stringed instruments ever made – violins, violas, cellos and double basses –were crafted in Italy during the 17th and 18th centuries when the technique of the luthier, or violin maker, reached its peak. Four violin makers in particular represent the pinnacle of their craft: Nicolò Amati (1596–1684), Antonio Stradivari (1644–1737), Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù (1698–1744) and Giovanni Battista Guadagnini (1711 - 1786). Simon Morris, of Beare’s, explains, “The best instruments offer not only volume and resonance, but immediate response to the bow and an infinite palette of tonal colours and nuances which are transmitted to the back of the hall. These are the characteristics which define the greatest instruments and which the top players desire.” Among the unique qualities of the instruments from this period is the longevity of their performing lives and the maintenance or improvement of tonal qualities over time. In fact, age itself may contribute to the unique sound of these instruments and their increasing value.


First Investment Australia’s only Stradivarius violin The Fund’s first investment will be a 1728/1729 Stradivarius violin valued at the time of purchase at AUS$1.79 million. This is, to the knowledge of the Fund’s Trustees, the only Stradivarius violin owned in Australia and its ownership by the Fund will lead to considerable attention from investors, the media and the public. Dating from the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and acknowledged as the finest of their type, only 650 of these instruments, made by Antonio Stradivari, survive. They were made in the period known as the ‘golden age of stringed instruments’ and are played by the world’s greatest musicians.

About Antonio Stradivari Antonio Stradivari (1644–1737) is universally acknowledged as the greatest violin maker of all time. Even to the person on the street, the name Stradivarius is synonymous with rarity, real value and true excellence. His instruments exhibit a unique blend of tonal excellence, design, beauty to the eye and accuracy of workmanship. Hundreds of years since he made his first violin, it is almost impossible to name any great violinist who did not play an instrument made either by Stradivari or his celebrated contemporary, Guarneri del Gesù.

The instrument: the Stradivarius 1728/29 violin The 1728/1729 Stradivarius violin is a composite of two instruments made by Stradivari in 1728 to 1729. Two Stradivarius violins, one with an original front and the other with an original back and sides, have been united to form an all-Stradivarius instrument. The Stradivarius violin has been tested in major concerts halls across Australia. In acoustic tests across a wide variety of repertoires and styles, and in halls ranging from small and medium regional centres through to our greatest performance venues, it has consistently displayed all the hallmarks of the great Stradivarius violins. It has powerful projection and evenness of tone throughout its full range, with equality across all four strings. It has a rich and well projected lower register on the G-string and a finely balanced middle register that soars to a sweet-toned, singing quality in the upper register which, in the right hands, intensifies to brilliance. In keeping with the established tradition of caring for fine instruments and ensuring that they are heard, this Stradivarius violin will be played initially by Satu Vänskä, who joined the ACO as Assistant Leader in 2004. Satu Vänskä says, “I will never forget the feeling, when I was handed an old Italian instrument to play for the first time. At 19, I won a year-long custodianship of a Gagliano (a typical entry-level fine violin) that changed my world as a violinist forever. The possibility for colour and sound was a revelation. I would never have dreamed of being the custodian of a Stradivarius, the epitome of fine violins. Its distinctive, brilliant beauty of sound carries in a concert hall through the ears, straight to the listener’s heart. Part of the mystery and fascination of a fine Stradivarius is that it has a soul and a personality of its own. For the violinist, this means that the violin seems to play the player. I am extremely happy and thankful that this collaboration is working successfully in a way that is taking me further as a violinist and musician. This beautiful instrument has a very keen and admiring custodian. After endless, lifelong practice to master this difficult instrument, most of my generation of violinists simply can’t afford to own one. That is why supporting the ACO instrument fund is of crucial importance to the development of the orchestra.”

This document is intended to provide an overview only of some of the key features of the ACO’s Instrument Fund and the benefits of investing in fine instruments in general. Its terms are not intended to be relied upon as the basis on which an investment may be made in the Fund. Offers will be made to investors to invest in the Fund, based on an Information Memorandum to be issued to prospective investors.


Authenticity: the provenance and dealer of the instrument The Stradivarius violin was purchased from J & A Beare and Co. of London (Beare’s), the world’s most distinguished international violin experts and dealers. Established in 1892, Beare’s counts the world’s greatest string players as its clients. In 2008, it received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise from Queen Elizabeth II, the only business in art or antiques ever to do so. Beare’s has an unblemished record of reliability and integrity.

“The acknowledged world authority on stringed instruments.” The Independent, 2003

“An extraordinary unsullied reputation.” The Daily Telegraph, 1994

The Fund will only purchase instruments whose authenticity is guaranteed by a reputable expert, as is the case with this one.

Its distinctive, brilliant beauty of sound carries in a concert hall through the ears, straight to the listener’s heart. Satu Vänskä

Satu Vänskä with the Stradivarius violin


Investing in the fine instrument market: demand The market for fine instruments is global, with increasing demand driven in recent years by the rising popularity of Western classical music in emerging Asian markets, particularly China, Japan and Korea. Simon Morris of Beares says: “In future years I believe that we will look back at the last twelve months as the year in which the Chinese market for violins got off the ground. We have recently sold two fine old Italian cellos to wealthy mainland Chinese parents as well as a number of instruments to one of the orchestras. With this potential market far exceeding that of Japan and Korea - there are literally millions of violinists in China - and the growing market in Russia for ‘top drawer’ examples, the prospect of violin values increasing significantly in the next decade has never been more real.” The end of the golden period of instrument making in the late 18th century also marked the end of supply of these unique instruments. These instruments are like old master paintings, but with a critical difference. As well as works of art, they are tools of trade that are in high demand and valued for their performance quality. As intrinsically valuable tools of trade, fine instruments are best held by musicians who can ensure that they continue to produce the best sound and, through performance, share their wonders with audiences throughout the world. However, very few musicians have the resources to buy them. It is therefore usual for the instruments to be owned by private individuals, banks, trusts or foundations which recognise them as secure investments and lend them to the world’s finest musicians.

The value of a fine instrument investment: returns While past performance is no guarantee of future performance, the historical data paints a picture of an investment with relatively low risk and a favourable return. In a recent study, Fiddling with Value: Violins as an investment?1 Kathryn Graddy, Professor of Economics at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, USA, measured the returns from investing in violins of different classes and values, by analysing 75 repeat sales of violins at auction between 1850 and 2006 and 2,000 individual sales between 1980 and 2006. Professor Graddy concludes that real returns through public sales to Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesù violins have been as high as 6.92% per annum, over the 25 years to 2006. Real returns for all other violins over the 25 years to 2006 have averaged almost 4% per annum. However, she notes that many instruments are sold privately by dealers, directly to individuals, investors, institutions or foundations, and the sale results are not made public. Simon Morris of Beare’s describes how, despite the recent global financial crisis, the market for high quality instruments has remained strong and some record prices have been paid for instruments in the highest category, through private sales: “From our own sales (which are the only private data I can confirm) it is obvious that the upper end of the market continues to rise and that there is a rising international interest in violins. 2009 marked the first year in which an example by Stradivari sold for over US$10,000,000. A Guarneri del Gesù sold for US$10,000,000 in 2010. This instrument (The Kochanski) was of comparable quality to the Carrodus del Gesù currently played by Richard Tognetti and purchased in 2006 for US$6.6m. The Carrodus del Gesù played by Richard Tognetti has just been valued as at May 2011 at US$10,500,000. These prices seem to reflect the general increase in value at the upper end of the market in recent years, in which annual increases in the region of 8-10% are not uncommon.”

Investor satisfaction from a fine instrument investment As well as its financial basis, investment in a fine instrument represents a strong philanthropic commitment, in this case supporting the ongoing success of Australia’s most revered performing ensemble. In effect, the investor becomes a patron of the virtuosos to whom the instruments are loaned and may hear them played to their full potential at private and other concerts. An investor also contributes to Australia’s cultural landscape, providing thousands with the opportunity to attend performances that could not be achieved with lesser instruments and helping support the future of music in Australia. It is rare that an investment opportunity offering such a range of returns on so many levels arises. 1. Graddy,K and Margolis Philip E, Fiddling with Value: Violins as an investment? CERP (Centre for Economic Research and Policy), London DP6583 (2007) This document is intended to provide an overview only of some of the key features of the ACO’s Instrument Fund and the benefits of investing in fine instruments in general. Its terms are not intended to be relied upon as the basis on which an investment may be made in the Fund. Offers will be made to investors to invest in the Fund, based on an Information Memorandum to be issued to prospective investors.


Commonwealth Bank of Australia and the 1759 Guadagnini violin In 1996, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia acquired a 1759 J.B. Guadagnini violin, for its Fine Arts collection. The violin has been on loan to the ACO by the Bank since its acquisition, initially for Richard Tognetti to play and now played by the talented and virtuosic Helena Rathbone, the ACO’s Principal Second Violin. Since its acquisition, the violin has significantly appreciated in value. Ralph Norris, CEO of the Commonwealth Bank, says of the violin: “The Commonwealth Bank purchased the rare 1759 Guadagnini Violin to enable audiences to enjoy this remarkable instrument. We are delighted that the distinctive sound of the violin is able to be shared with thousands of Australians and international audiences and hope that it will soon share the stage with the 1729 Stradivari violin and other fine instruments.”

Helena Rathbone with the Commonwealth Bank Guadagnini violin


Australian Chamber Orchestra

The best chamber orchestra on earth The Times, UK

The ACO is recognised as one of the finest chamber orchestras in the world. It is renowned for the integrity and excellence of its musicianship, the boldness and vitality of its programming, and the loyalty and enthusiasm of its audiences and other supporters. Officially designated an international flagship company by the Australian Government, the ACO has staged more than 45 international tours, performing in the world’s most prestigious concert halls, including London’s Wigmore Hall; New York’s Carnegie Hall; Vienna’s Musikverein and Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center. The ACO records for the world’s top labels and recently won three consecutive ARIA Awards. Documentaries featuring the ACO have been shown on television worldwide and won awards at film festivals on four continents.

The ACO instrument collection The instruments purchased by the Fund will join the fine instruments already on loan to the ACO: • In 1996, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia purchased a 1759 Guadagnini violin, now played by the ACO’s Principal 2nd Violinist Helena Rathbone. • In 2007, Peter Weiss AM purchased a 1729 Guarneri filius Andreae cello, played by the ACO’s Principal Cello Timo-Veikko Valve. • In 2007, an anonymous benefactor purchased the famous 1743 Carrodus Guarneri del Gesù violin, played by the ACO’s Artistic Director Richard Tognetti AO.

Australian Chamber Orchestra


The Virtuoso The Stradivarius violin purchased by the Instrument Fund will be played by the ACO’s Assistant Leader Satu Vänskä. Satu was born to a Finnish family in Japan where she took her first violin lessons at the age of three. At the age of 11 she was selected for the Kuhmo Violin School in Finland, a special institution for talented young violinists, where she played with the Kuhmo Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra. She continued her studies at the Lahti Conservatorium and the Sibelius Academy. She also studied at the Hochschule für Musik in Germany, where she played with the Munich Philharmonic and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. She was named Young Soloist of the Year by Sinfonia Lathi, was a prize winner of the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben and played under the auspices of the Live Music Now Foundation founded by Lord Yehudi Menuhin. Satu has performed as a soloist in Europe, North America and Australia and appeared at many festivals. Her most recent recording is a BIS CD of music by Sibelius.


Key Features of the Fund • The Fund is an unlisted Australian unit trust, available only to wholesale clients. • The Trustee of the Fund is Australian Chamber Orchestra Instrument Fund Pty Limited. The directors of the Trustee are Brendan Hopkins (Chairman), Bill Best, Jessica Block, John Leece and John Taberner. • The Manager of the Fund is the ACO, appointed by the Trustee to manage the Fund. • The Australian Financial Services Licence Holder is JBWere. • Applications for units may be made at any time and application prices will be calculated on the basis of a value per unit determined by the Trustee from time to time. • Every three years, limited withdrawal opportunities will be made available to investors, to redeem their units at a value per unit as determined by the Trustee after having received a formal valuation of the instruments held by the Fund at the time. • The Fund will be terminated after 10 years, unless more than 50% of unit holders vote to keep it on foot. All investing involves risk and any investment in this Fund is no exception. • This document is intended to provide an overview only of some of the key features of the ACO’s Instrument Fund and the benefits of investing in fine instruments in general. Its terms are not intended to be relied upon as the basis on which an investment may be made in the Fund. Offers will be made to investors to invest in the Fund, based on an Information Memorandum to be issued to prospective investors. For further information on the ACO’s Instrument Fund, please contact Jessica Block, Deputy General Manager of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, on (02) 8274 3803 or at jessica.block@aco.com.au.

AFSL Holder


A work of art, beautiful to behold on an aesthetic level, a valuable antique, a useful and practical tool supplying the most wonderful music in the hands of a dedicated professional. To purchase one and sponsor an artist, allowing the artist to ply his trade with the best available tool, is both an investment and an act of philanthropy, giving joy to innumerable concert-goers and CD buyers. Private Wealth Investor magazine


Australian Chamber Orchestra Pty Ltd A not for profit company registered in NSW ABN 45001335182 PO Box R21, Royal Exchange NSW 1225 Ph. 02 8274 3800 Fax. 02 8274 3801 aco.com.au


ACO Instrument Fund