Eckhardt-Gramatté Joachim George Chanot violin

The Musical Instrument Bank welcomes the Eckhardt-Gramatté Joachim Chanot I violin to its collection

05 June 2018
The Eckhardt-Gramatté Joachim Chanot I violin c. 1830-1850

This year, the Canada Council for the Arts welcomes a new instrument into our Musical Instrument Bank competition: The Eckhardt-Gramatté Joachim Chanot I violin c. 1830-1850, on loan from The Eckhardt-Gramatté Foundation. This beautiful instrument, valued at approximately $140,000, will be available to a winner of the 2018 Musical Instrument Bank competition and was in the possession of composer, pianist, and violinist Sophie-Carmen (Sonia) Eckhardt-Gramatté for almost 60 years.

This violin was one of twelve instruments owned by the Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim (1831-1907) and has been identified and certified as the work of George Chanot I - circa 1830-1850.

Black and white photo of Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim plays a violin
Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim (1831-1907) plays one of his 12 violins. While in the possession of Joachim, the violin was inventoried as the work of “J.B. Vuillaume.” More recently, the violin has been identified and certified as the work of George Chanot I - circa 1830-1850.
Eckhardt-Gramatté Joachim George Chanot violin
Eckhart-Gramatte Joachim George 1 Chanot violin, circa 1830-1850

Joseph Joachim’s daughter-in-law Suzanne Chaigneau gave this violin to Sonia Eckhardt-Gramatté, when she was about 16 years old. In 1915 Suzanne wrote in her diary: “I have sent Sonia the little violin ‘vieux Paris’”.

Black and white photo of Suzanne Chaigneau (with her violin)
Suzanne Joachim-Chaigneau gave the violin to Sonia Eckhardt-Gramatté (approximately 16 years old).
Black and white photo of Sonia Eckhardt-Gramatté as a child
Russian-German-Austrian-Canadian composer, pianist, and violinist Sophie-Carmen (Sonia) Eckhardt-Gramatté (photo taken in the 1910s)

Sonia’s life was nomadic and unconventional. She was born in Moscow; spent several years in a commune in England; was admitted to the Paris Conservatoire at the age of eight; and lived and performed in Berlin and Vienna.

The last twenty-one years of Sonia's life were spent in Winnipeg, breaking new ground as a composer and pedagogue on the Canadian prairies. Her catalogue of work of over 175 compositions (symphonic, chamber, violin, and piano) attests to the fiery, dynamic spirit of an artist, steeped in romantic tradition, carving a path for herself in the remarkable musical terrain of the twentieth century. Sonia played all of her concerts and selected recordings on this precious violin.

Black and white photo of Sonia Eckhardt-Gramatté taken in 1927
Sonia, 1927
Black and white photo of Sonia Eckhardt-Gramatté taken in 1936
Sonia, Berlin 1936
Black and white photo of Sonia Eckhardt-Gramatté taken in 1957
Sonia, 1957 Photo: Portigal and Ayers

Sonia’s lifelong dream of making an impact on young musicians on the threshold of their careers was fulfilled after her death through the work of the foundation in her name. Her legacy continues with the inclusion of her beloved violin to Canada’s Musical Instrument Bank.

Follow the Musical Instrument Bank competition this fall as the next group of musicians are chosen to be the caretakers of legendary, fine stringed instruments for 3 years. #InstrumentBank

Black and white photo of Sonia Eckhardt-Gramatté with a child playing the Eckhardt-Gramatté Joachim George Chanot violin
Sonia teaches violin, 1949

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