Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra welcomes return of stolen violin
BROOKFIELD - This is one of the last rehearsals the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra may have minus their concertmaster. In this Brookfield theatre Monday, Frank Almond's expected to give his first performance since being shocked with a Taser for his Stradivarius.
"To have an instrument of such historical significance, and also extraordinary performance quality to be stolen in such a brazen manner was, I mean it was really disturbing," said Jonathan Winkle, executive director of the Wilson Center for the Arts.
The February 10th show at the Wilson Center for the Arts was already planned to feature the history of this $5 million violin. They didn't know how the show would go on after it was stolen.
"To have this program that was designed to really highlight this particular instrument and its history and then this whole incident happened," said Winkle.
Through it all, Frank Almond remained positive.
"His position that he took immediately was, I'm not gonna let this slow me down. I'm not gonna let it prevent me from performing in public," said Winkle.
Almond issued a statement today thanking police. It read:
"I'd like to express my deep gratitude to Chief Flynn, the Milwaukee Police Department, FBI and all other law enforcement agencies for their outstanding work. Their professionalism and personal concern throughout this entire ordeal have been exemplary, and I cannot thank them enough.
I'd also like to thank everyone for the colossal outpouring of support and concern over the last ten days, especially the musicians, staff, and board of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. It was truly heartening during what was obviously a very difficult time. I could not have imagined a better outcome for this particular chapter in the violin's life and look forward to having it in my hands as soon as possible," said Frank Almond.
It's uncertain whether Almond will be able to play the Stradivarius when he takes the stage on Monday night in Brookfield. Winkle said instruments are typically kept in cases with the temperature rather consistent.
Many will have a humidity gauge and a thermometer in the case, as well. But, that said, Winkle said this particular violin has survived the test of time, about 300 years. He's remaining positive that it will be played again.