Italian offical visits to arrange loan for international exhibition

Italian offical visits to arrange loan for international exhibition Paolo Bodini, a physician and former mayor of Cremona, Italy, met recently with officials at the National Music Museum on The University of South Dakota campus about borrowing some of the NMM's rare violins, violas, and cellos that were built in Cremona in the 16th century by Andrea Amati, whose 500th birthday (1505-2005) is being celebrated this year.

Dr. Bodini is currently serving as president of the Triennale Degli Strumenti ad Arco, an Italian organization that honors the 500-year-old tradition of great violin making for which Cremona is still known.

According to Arian Sheets, Curator of Stringed Instruments, the NMM has agreed to loan two instruments for the October exhibit in Cremona.

One is a cello, built soon after Andrea Amati established his workshop in Cremona in 1538. It is known as "The King" because the back and sides were decorated later in the century for King Charles IX of France, whose Italian mother, Catherine de Medici, served as regent until Charles was old enough to ascend to the throne in 1562.

The second is a viola that was decorated for an, as yet, unidentified Italian marquis.

As noted by Jayson Dobney, NMM associate director, "The King," which is the earliest known surviving cello, "is an icon of Western civilization. As such, it is difficult to expose it to the risks inherent in international travel. However, the NMM also needs to share its treasures with the rest of the world and we do so when we are confident that adequate climate-control and security measures will be in place."

The two instruments, along with other great Italian stringed instruments by Antonio Stradivari, Andrea Guarneri, and three generations of the Amati family, are currently on exhibit in the Rawlins Gallery at the National Music Museum.

The NMM is open daily, Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 2 to 5 p.m.

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