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Classical Notes: November 5, 2008 Archive

Caveat Emptor Stradivarius

Posted at 7:00 AM on November 5, 2008 by Gillian Martin

In a previous post, I shared an article that advocated investing in rare violins.

Well, that's not looking like such a great idea anymore. Two recent stories about dealers in fake fine violins have made the news in recent weeks.

Canadian violinist Joseph Tang was sentenced recently to 3 years in prison and almost half-a-million in restitution for swindling violin collectors out of thousands of dollars. (Read more about the scheme and his dramatic backstage arrest here.)

Then this week, Serguej Diatchenko, a Russian violinist working in Italy, apparently hanged himself after he was caught selling fake 16th- and 17th-century violins to his students.

R. I. P. Yma Sumac

Posted at 3:54 PM on November 5, 2008 by Rex Levang (4 Comments)

I know she wasn't a classical musician

But her name is one that classical fans tend to be aware of, and her passing may have been overshadowed by election coverage. So here's a link to an obituary for Yma Sumac, who died earlier this week.

The one story that many people know about her, or think they know about her, is that she wasn't really from Peru; she was from Brooklyn. And her real name wasn't Yma Sumac. It was Amy Camus--Yma Sumac, spelled backward!

Just where and when was she born in Brooklyn? And if she wanted to disguise her identity, why didn't she choose a less penetrable stage name? We were never told.

Well, it turns out that it was just a story, after all--as the world of Yma Sumac fandom and scholarship has documented.

Neat coincidence, though, and it fits neatly into the persona of mystery that she seemed to inhabit so easily.

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