A family foundation donated a 12-piece collection of rare bows and violins for use by students at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, the university announced Tuesday.
The violins include 1700s masterpieces made by Antonio Stradivarius and Sanctus Seraphin, and bows made by Nikolai Kittel and Francois Tourte, according to UCLA.
The Phoenix-based Twiford Foundation also established a fund for the maintenance and repair of the instruments, which are collectively valued at nearly $3.5 million.
UCLA already owns one Stradivarius violin — the “Duke of Alcantara,” which was made in 1732 — and with the new gift, the campus will be home to two of only 248 known remaining Stradivarius violins.
“Any school in the world would dream of having these instruments in their possession, and we feel very lucky and grateful to be trusted with such an honor,” said Movses Pogossian, a professor of violin at the school of music. “These treasures of art are also high-precision tools designed for our craft, and they will give our string students the most valuable opportunity to make beautiful music.
“It is impossible to overstate how much future generations of UCLA musicians will learn from these kinds of experiences,” Pogossian added. “When I was a young student at the Moscow Conservatory, I was given the great honor to play on a Stradivarius for two years; that experience taught me priceless lessons about my craft that I continue to apply to this day.”
The collection originated with Lavern “L.” John Twiford, whose brother, Glen Twiford, graduated from UCLA in 1948 with a bachelor’s degree in art. Arthur D. Ehrenreich, the Twiford family’s attorney, helped establish the foundation, for which he served as president.
Lynn Running, the foundation’s president, is Ehrenreich’s daughter.
“This gift is in honor of the Twiford family members who accumulated and treasured the violins and bows in the collection,” she said. “The gift is also in honor of my father, who envisioned that the collection would find its way to UCLA where the instruments would be played by top-tier faculty and burgeoning musical virtuosi. It has been a rewarding journey to partner with UCLA and to see this vision come to fruition.”
A majority of the collection is already with the school, where it has been used by students over the past year, according to Eileen Strempel, dean of the school of music.
“We owe a large debt of gratitude to the Twiford Foundation, Mr. Ehrenreich and Lynn Running for their vision and determination in bringing this beautiful collection to UCLA,” she said. “Their generosity will have an invaluable impact on our students as they hone their craft for many years to come.”