The Australian Chamber Orchestra has added another ‘Golden Age’ instrument to its musical armoury this month, a 1590 Brothers Amati violin. The instrument, which will be played by violinist Ike See, was acquired by the ACO’s Instrument Fund, thanks to a $1 million injection by Australian industry super fund Media Super, who last year became the second largest investor in the Instrument Fund.

Ike See, Brothers Amati, Australian Chamber Orchestra, AmatiAustralian Chamber Orchestra violinist Ike See with the 1590 Brothers Amati violin. Photo supplied

“We are delighted to have added a fourth ‘Golden Age’ instrument to the ACO Instrument Fund’s collection,” said ACO Managing Director Richard Evans. “The ACO has one of the finest instrument collections of any orchestra in the world, and the 1590 Brothers Amati violin, with its remarkable depth and warmth of tone, will compliment and contribute to the ACO’s extraordinary sound, for which the Orchestra is renowned around the world.”

The violin – made in 1590 by influential Italian instrument makers Antonio and Hieronymus Amati – is the Instrument Fund’s fourth from the period between 1560 and 1740 in Cremorna, Italy, known as the Golden Age of instrument making. The Fund already owns a 1728/29 Stradivarius violin, a 1714 Guarneri violin and a 1616 Brothers Amati cello. The four instruments are collectively worth approximately $8 million.

Previous known owners of the 1590 Brothers Amati violin include English noblewoman and amateur violinist Lady Margaret Cecil and Dutch-American author Hendrik Willem van Loon, who wrote and illustrated the 1921 children’s book The Story of Mankind.