In the News
• In 2016, Stewart Pollens gave a talk "Originals versus Copies" at the ANIMUSIC organological conference "Os tempos e seus desafios" in Tomar, Portugal. His paper addressed the question of whether musical instruments can be effectively copied and whether copies may be more "authentic" than altered or time-worn originals.
• In 2015, Pollens's latest 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.
• 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, Violin Advisor President Stewart 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 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, Violin Advisor Director Stewart Pollens gave a lecture on the history of violins.
• In May, 2011, at the invitation of the Museo Correr in Venice, Violin Advisor Director Stewart 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 library 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.
•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 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 June 1, 2010 Violin Advisor Director Stewart Pollens appeared as a featured speaker at the prestigious Hay Festival in Hay-on-Wye, Wales. He spoke about his latest book Stradivari.
What the critics are saying:
"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.
"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?" - The New Yorker
"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 tinyb 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." - The Galpin Society Journal
"Monumental" - Early Music America
"Stewart Pollens provides here a long-overdue and worthy updating of the Hills' seminal work of 1902."
- John Dilworth, The Strad
"...a meticulously detailed examination of the legendary Antonio Stradivari's methods." - The New Yorker
Read Andrew Manze's review of Stradivari in Early Music.