Adelaide Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Natusko Yoshimoto has been named as the next custodian of ‘The Adelaide’ violin, made by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini.

‘The Adelaide’, which was made in Milan between 1753 and 1757, was purchased by the Music Committee of South Australia for Australian violinist Carmel Hakendorf in the 1950s and has since been used by William Hennessy, Jane Peters, Sophie Rowell and Paul Wright.

Natsuko Yoshimoto, The Adelaide, GuadagniniNatsuko Yoshimoto. Photo © Claudio Raschella

Now held in trust by UKARIA (which also provides the Australian String Quartet with its matched set of Guadagnini instruments), the violin – valued at $1 million – was sent to Cremona, Italy, for restoration in 2015.

“I was immediately drawn to the warmth and the roundness of the Guadagnini’s tone. It has such depth of sound that it really has a three dimensional quality. I was also amazed by its incredible responsiveness. I feel like it has endless colours and dynamics to offer and it’s up to me to just keep on discovering, keep on experimenting and exploring,” Yoshimoto said.

Yoshimoto’s contract with the ASO has been renewed until the end of 2020, the orchestra also announced. ”Natsuko is a formidable musician and wonderful colleague whose ambition for the ASO is always at the heart of what drives her,” Principal Conductor Nicholas Carter said. “I look forward to continuing to work with her into the future.”

“The ASO is absolutely thrilled to have secured the services of our much-loved concertmaster, Natsuko Yoshimoto, for another two years,” said ASO Managing Director Vincent Ciccarello. “Natsuko is a consummate professional and brings the highest standards of playing, dedication and integrity to the ASO.”

“We’re also delighted that UKARIA have entrusted this wonderful instrument to Natsuko,” he said. “We look forward to hearing the influence it has on her own playing and on the sound of the orchestra. Putting such rare and precious instruments in the hands of fine musicians is a wonderful gift.”

“It gives me such joy to know that this exquisite violin will be played and loved right here in Adelaide,” UKARIA Founder and Director Ulrike Klein said. “We have much to look forward to, having ‘The Adelaide’ in Natsuko’s hands.”

Yoshimoto took her new violin for a spin on the weekend at the orchestra’s Season Opening Gala, which featured Sibelius’s Finlandia, Grieg’s Piano Concerto (with Simon Tedeschi as soloist) and Holst’s The Planets.

“I feel extremely honoured and privileged to be the custodian of the Guadagnini,” Yoshimoto said. “I just want to do it justice and do my very best to show the true and wonderful quality of this beautiful work of art to the people of South Australia in particular as it’s ‘their’ violin and it’s now back home in Adelaide.”