If you took a taxi this spring, violist David Aaron Carpenter may have joined you for the ride. Well, joined via the news segment in your taxi’s television that is. When David played the ‘Macdonald’ viola made by Antonio Stradivari in 1719, which is currently up for sealed bid at Sotheby’s with bidding starting at $45 million, news organizations took note.
The ‘Macdonald’ is priced at $45 million for a reason. Sotheby’s explains on their website that “This exquisitely preserved and extremely rare viola is one of only ten complete violas Stradivari made during his lifetime and the only example from his golden period.” Contrast the number of violas Stradivari made with the approximately 600 violins he made, and it’s easy to see why a golden period in instrument bidding is about to occur.
For David, playing the ‘Macdonald’ was an incredible opportunity to highlight this viola as well as the instrument in general. As the saying goes, the viola has long played second fiddle to the violin, but not if David can help it. He is on a mission to change how the public views violas.