In 1980, a Stradivarius violin was stolen right out of the office of Roman Totenberg at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and remained missing for 35 years. In 2015, the instrument was found. The violin, formerly known as the “Ames” Stradivari after its owner George Ames and renamed the “Ames, Totenberg” Stradivari for its later owner, was given to the FBI by the ex-wife of the theif.
Totenberg had passed away in 2012 at age 101, so the instrument was returned to his daughters—Amy, Jill, and Nina—who had it restored. The sisters wanted to ensure the instrument would go into the hands of a musician so it became part of a project called In Consortium, which provides high quality instruments from investors to aspiring young musicians. Amy, Jill, and Nina looked on as Nathan Meltzer, a Juilliard violin student, received the instrument during a ceremony in early October at the Rare Violins offices in New York.
Meltzer expressed his gratitude on social media stating, “Professor Totenberg didn’t live to see his violin recovered and restored by Rare Violins of New York, but today I had the privilege to play it for his daughters Amy, Jill, and Nina Totenberg, the newest unofficial members of my family.”