Violin heist has impact on music students around the world

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The recent heist of a $6 million, 300 year old Stradivarius violin has gained world-wide attention and the publicity could have an impact on music students everywhere.

Students at the Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee are taught by renowned teachers and influenced by musicians such as Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Frank Almond.

"He is sort of one of the big names," said Matthew Borkowski with the conservatory. "He does a series, Frankly Music, and half of his shows are here."

Borkowski says both Almond and his Lipinski Stradivarius violin are revered.

"The Stradivarius is sort of the pinnacle of instruments and because they are so old, so people go out of their way to hear a particular instrument they've never heard," said Borkowski.

When the rare and valuable violin was stolen during an armed robbery of Almond at the end of January, Borkowski says students and staff were shocked.

"We were really concerned about him and his welfare. It was a big one to hear that that instrument was stolen," said Borkowski. "These thefts go on periodically all over the world. It's scary and an eye-opener for us in Milwaukee to have it happen right here."

Although the heist was unfortunate, Borkowski says the incident will be influential to all musicians.

"If anything, this has increased people's vigilance and their concern for their own instruments," Borkowski said. "Even if it's not a unique, 300 year old, one of a kind, every instrument is extremely valuable."

Almond is set to perform with the Stradivarius violin, for the first time since its recovery, on Monday, February 10th.