Janine Jansen to master 12 Stradivari violins in 10 days for new documentary film

Janine Jansen: Falling for Stradivari will tell the story of the great violin maker Antonio Stradivari as Jansen records a new album of works on these priceless instruments with Antonio Pappano

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Violinist Janine Jansen is set to feature in a new documentary which will show her taking on the challenge of playing – and mastering – 12 of the world’s greatest violins in ten days.

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Janine Jansen: Falling for Stradivari will tell the story of Antonio Stradivari, one of the finest violin makers of all time. Jansen embarks on the challenge of recording an album on 12 of Stradivari‘s most famous instruments, accompanied by Antonio Pappano, music director of the Royal Opera House, on the piano. Some have not been played for 200 years while others have been owned and played by the great and the good of the violin world: Fritz Kreisler, Nathan Milstein, Ida Haendel and Oscar Shumsky.

What is a Stradivarius violin? We explain here.

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A few days into the recording process, Jansen fell ill with COVID-19, but, as director Gerald Fox says, ‘she picked herself up after three weeks to make the album. It is really moving to watch Janine triumph over adversity, healing herself through the sheer all-consuming power of music.’

The film will dig into the histories of these violins and show archival footage of their performances over the last century.

The project was devised by Steven Smith, managing director of international violin dealer J&A Beare, who has worked with Stradivari instruments throughout his career and wanted to show the unique properties of each of the 12 violins.

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Jansen’s album of works performed on these 12 Stradivari instruments will be released on Decca on 10 September.

Janine Jansen: Falling for Stradivari will be released in UK cinemas on 2 September. It will also be broadcast on TV, thanks to the fact that it was produced in association with Sky Arts. It will be broadcast on Sky Arts on 23 September.

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Watch the trailer for Janine Jansen: Falling for Stradivari below: