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MUSIC

Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

Italian concert violinist Luigi Alberto Bianchi paid 440,000 pounds ($726,000) for a Stradivarius violin in London on Wednesday, the largest amount spent at auction for a musical instrument. Bidding at Christie’s for the 271-year-old violin known as “The Colossus” had started at 100,000 ($165,000) and reached the sale price in 80 seconds. The previous record price for a musical instrument sold at auction was 396,000 (then $483,120) in 1984 at Sotheby’s for “La Cathedrale,” a 1707 violin by Stradivari. Bianchi, who has homes in Monte Carlo and Gstaad, Switzerland, said of the purchase: “I would have paid more--it has a perfect sound.”


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