News and Events

  • On February 19, 2021 Stewart Pollens was interviewed about his work as a musical instrument conservator and upcoming publications on the internet arts magazine StayThirsty.  www/staythirstymagazine.com/vol. 110 (2021).

  • On November 21, 2020, Stewart Pollens was interviewed about his research into the life and work of Bartolomeo Cristofori on a blog sponsored by the Festival Pianistico Internazionale Bartolomeo Cristofori.  

  • In 2019, a Festschrift was published by the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg to celebrate the 80th birthday of Friedemann Hellwig, the noted conservator of musical instruments. Stewart Pollens contributed an article entitled "Making Purfling as Stradivari Did" to the Festschrift entitled Hinter den Tonen: Musikinstrumente als Forschungsgebiet.

  • In 2018, The Museum of Art published The Care and Handling of Art Objects: Practices in the  Metropolitan Museum of Art, which includes a chapter on musical instruments written by former MMA conservator, Stewart Pollens. 

  • In 2017, Cambridge University Press published Pollens' Bartolomeo Cristofori and the Invention of the Piano. This is a comprehensive study of the life and work of Bartolomeo Cristofori, the Paduan-born harpsichord maker credited with the invention of the piano.  

  • In 2017, Pollens prepared and tuned the 1788 Jacob and Abraham Kirckman harpsichord once owned by famed 18th century music historian Charles Burney for use in public recitals. The temperament requested by Juilliard harpsichordist was Neidhardt's 1724 Kleine Stadt.

  •  In October of 2017, Pollens gave a talk "The Three Cristofori Pianos at an international conference in Bologna, Italy entitled "Il Cembalo a Martelli: da Bartolomeo Cristofori a Giovanni Ferrini. The conference celebrated the life and work of the late Dr. Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini.

  • 2016, Pollens gave a paper entitled "Copies 'Versus' Originals" at the ANIMUSIC organological conference "Os tempos e seus desafios," held in Tomar, Portugal.

  • In 2015, Stewart Pollens's book The Manual of Musical Instrument Conservation was published by Cambridge University Press. It is a distillation of years of training as a musical instrument maker and 30 years work as the conservator of musical instruments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

  • In September, 2015 Pollens gave a talk "When Science Goes Bad" at a joint meeting of the Galpin Society, the Institute of Acoustics, and the Royal Musical Association, hosted by Cambridge University. Pollens' talk challenged the validity of a number of recent scientific studies about the violin.  To read this paper, take this link.

  • In 2014-2015 Pollens gave talks at the Merchant's House Museum and the Morris-Jumel Mansion in New York City about two early-nineteenth pianos he restored for those historic houses: a square piano/harmonium made in New York by Nunns and Fischers and a fortepiano made in Vienna by Anton Zierer. The King Mansion in New York also consulted with him on the restoration of their Longman and Clementi square piano.

  • In October, 2012, Pollens presented a paper at the XIII FIMTE (International Festival of Spanish Keyboard Music) in Mojacar, Spain. His paper was on a temperament described in a manuscript written by the 18th century composer and organist Antonio Soler.  Soler's manuscript  also describes a tuning device termed an Acordante, which Mr. Pollens reconstructed and presented along with his paper.  Here, it is being used to tune a harpsichord at the conference.

  • In February, 2012, Violin Advisor Director Pollens exhibited violins by Stradivari, Guarneri, and Guadagnini at the American International Fine Arts Fair held at the West Palm Beach Convention Center in Florida. In connection with this exhibition, he gave a lecture on the history of violins.

  • In May, 2011, at the invitation of the Museo Correr in Venice, Pollens authenticated violins in the museum's collection. Here he is holding one of the museum's treasures, a violin by Giorgio Serafin that still bears its original neck.

  • Violin Advisor maintains one of the world's largest libraries of books devoted to musical instrument history. The library contains rare manuscripts, printed works, and facsimiles dating back to the fifteenth century, as well as a comprehensive collection of catalogs and checklists of European and American musical instrument collections.  In June and July of 2011, Violin Advisor intern Nicole Glotzer, a student at Smith College, assisted in cataloging this important resource. Shown to the right is part of the reference section that is used in the authentication of violins and other instruments.

  • Stewart Pollens was quoted in the June 23, 2010 online issue of the Financial Times in "An investment option as fit as a fiddle."

  • On June 1, 2010 Pollens appeared as a featured speaker at the prestigious Hay Festival in Hay-on-Wye, Wales. He spoke about his latest book Stradivari, and is pictured at right signing copies. "Pollens’ previous studies on the history of the piano gave this event a pertinence and authority from the outset. The relationship between design, scientific discovery and art was immediately apparent. There’s much to be said for over analysis on subjects where the strength of pragmatism in building hands-on and less so in theory is to be held responsible for their beauty and efficiency. The violins, violas and cellos of Stradivari are testament to this and Pollens was quick to point this out. Myths were dispelled and marked research spoke volumes for the craft of these instruments." - The Hay Festival Blog. 

  • On May 21, 2010 Pollens delivered a paper on problems encountered in the dating of violins by the technique of dendrochronology at the International Workshop on Diagnostics and Preservation of Musical Instruments presented by DISMEC (Department of History and Methods for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage), University of Bologna, Ravenna, Italy. 

  • On May 8, 2010, Violin Advisor LLC donated a violin and bow to Midori & Friends, which they presented to one of their students at their Annual Children's Music Festival.

  • In February, 2008, Pollens gave a lecture on "The Baroque Orchestra" at Stanford University's Lively Arts series.

Some Reviews of STRADIVARI by  Stewart Pollens (Cambridge University Press)
 

The New Yorker  had this to say about Stradivari :

"A meticulously detailed examination of  the legendary Antonio Stradivari's methods...along withall the figures, diagrams, and enigmatic formulas, Pollens also offers juicy details from what sounds like an exciting life: who knew, for example, that Stradivari married his first wife, Francesca, just three years after her brother murdered her first husband?"

"As befits the author of the 1992 The Violin Forms of Antonio Stradivari, [Pollens] offers a detailed study of how the violins were crafted, how tiny variations in form can be deconstructed back to source in paper drawings and templates . . . a masterly study by an acknowledged expert rather than the usual Googled 'object history' that clogs the shelves." The Tablet

"[Pollens] has laid it bare with an analytical method that explodes myths and re-determines facts. . .     Any future researcher will find his work a fruitful bounty of information." Early Music America

"Monumental" The Galpin Society Journal

Read an "Interview with Stewart Pollens" in Stay Thirsty.