Meet Stewart Pollens, the Director of Violin Advisor
One of the world's leading authorities on musical instruments, Stewart Pollens founded Violin Advisor in 2006 in order to meet the needs of musicians and institutions considering the purchase of fine violins. Violin Advisor provides a wide range of services, including authentication, appraisal, condition reports, conservation, scientific dating, and analysis of materials.
Trained as a violin and keyboard-instrument maker, Mr. Pollens served as the conservator of musical instruments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for thirty years (1976-2006). His work there included the restoration and maintenance of the museum's encyclopedic collection of over 5000 instruments, as well as research, writing, and lecturing on the collection. Among his responsibilities was the vetting of all acquisitions made by the Department of Musical Instruments
Mr. Pollens' recent book, The Manual of Musical Instrument Conservation, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2015. It is the first comprehensive guide to the conservation and maintenance of historic musical instruments, and is the distillation of thirty years work as the conservator of musical instruments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His book Stradivari was published in 2010 by Cambridge University Press. It includes new biographical information on Stradivari and a detailed analysis of his violin, viola da gamba, lute, mandola, guitar, and harp patterns. Both are currently available for purchase at Cambridge University Press and at a discount at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com. Other works of Mr. Pollens includeThe Violin Forms of Antonio Stradivari, The Early Pianoforte, Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù, François-Xavier Tourte: Bow Maker, The Cambridge Companion to the Guitar and Bartolomeo Cristofori and the Invention of the Piano. He is currently writing A History of Keyboard Instruments, which is scheduled for publication by Cambridge University Press in 2020. He is a contributor to The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and writes on a regular basis for The Strad.
Mr. Pollens is frequently engaged as a guest lecturer on musical instruments. He recently gave a preconcert talk at Stanford University's Lively Arts series and delivered papers at the following conferences: Rencontres Internationales, 2008, Lausanne, Switzerland; Colloque International organized by the Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, 2007, La Borie-en-Limousin, France; and the VIII Festival Internacional de Musica de Tecla Espanola "Diego Fernandez," 2007, Almeria, Spain. His presentation at the Philoctetes Center in New York on April 15, 2008 can be seen on YouTube. In May, 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. In June, 2010 he appeared as a featured guest at the prestigious Hay Festival in Hay-on-Wye, Wales, where he spoke about his book Stradivari. On September 29, 2015, Mr. Pollens spoke about recent research on violin acoustics and authentication at a joint meeting of the Galpin Society, the Institute of Acoustics, and the Royal Musical Association hosted by Cambridge University.
Further biographical information and a list of publications can be found at www,StewartPollens.com
Stewart Pollens and Itzhak Perlman at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1993. Mr. Perlman is playing Jascha Heifetz's Guarnerius del Gesu violin, which was then on loan to the Museum.
Stewart Pollens measuring the year-rings of a violin for dating by dendrochronology