Joseph Guarneri de Jesu, Italy, 1744
|"The Chi Mei Culture Foundation committed itself to the collection of fine violin-family instruments back in the year 1990. The collection today covers a wide-range of violins, violas and cellos made by the most famous and important Italian violin-makers from the 17th Century, including Antonio Stradivari, Joseph Guaneri del Gesu and Nicolo Amati. The objective of this collection which is unique both in quantity and quality within the Asian region, is to restore the life of those instruments, i.e., their primary function as music carriers. The Foundation has an on-loan policy of all instruments in its collection, free of charge, open to any distinguished player of Taiwanese or Chinese origin for either local or international performances. It is a strong commitment of this Foundation that good instruments be played by good players and the good music thus produced be shared by all mankind "-Mr. Wen-long Shi, President, Chi-Mei Culture Foundation, 1997
In addition to its collection of rare violins, The Chi-Mei Musical Instrument Collection contains historical instruments from various time periods and locations. The museum also has a large collection of the mechanical musical instruments which were popular in North America and Europe during 1900-1930. Visitors to the museum, especially school children, are fascinated by the music that can be made with cylinders, barrels, disks and cardboard music rolls.
The Chi-Mei gives regular concerts in the museum, be it piano or violin recital, chamber music, orchestra or chorus. The Chi-Mei Industrial Company has formed a mandolin orchestra of 140 company employees. Many world renowned musicians have visited and utilized the Chi-Mei Music Instrument Collection, including Yo-Yo Ma. In 1994, The Chi-Mei Museum loaned its "Ole Bull" to the Metropolitan Museum in New York for a special exhibition of the Guarneri instruments.
The Chi Mei Museum has published "The Chi-Mei Collection of Fine Violins" in a limited edition of 4000 copies. To order, please email the Shining Collection.
Clockwise from upper left:
Organistrum. 18th c.; Piano Trio playing instruments from the collection; A duet with Chi Mei Chairman Wen-Long Shi and Yo-Yo Ma; Edison phonograph. American, 1896; The Chi Mei Mandolin Orchestra; Harpsichord. German, 1728.
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