Joy as Belsize Festival organiser reunited with stolen violin
- Credit: Archant
A leading violinist has spoken of her “huge relief” at being reunited with her 317-year-old violin, just in time for her performance at the Belsize Music Festival.
Carol Slater, who organises the annual music festival with her husband Ian Jewel, recovered the prized instrument on May 10 after it was stolen from the luggage rack of the Gatwick Express.
Ms Slater, from Belsize Park, was getting off the train at around 7am on March 24 to catch a flight to Menorca, when she discovered that her violin, worth around £180,000, had vanished.
She had played the Matteo Goffriller 1700, one of 20 remaining examples of the Italian designer’s work, in concerts and recordings for 40 years.
British Transport Police (BTP) scoured the train’s CCTV and managed to trace the violin to a North-West London address.
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The BTP has reported a woman for theft to the Crown Prosecution Service and await their decision on whether she will be charged.
Ms Slater, who had been practicing on her son’s violin, told the Ham&High: “I was thrilled to get it back, it’s a huge relief.”
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“You choose a violin because it has the sound you’re looking for, you feel it’s your musical voice.
“With an instrument that you’ve played on for so long, if you lose the violin, it feels like a bereavement.”
The mother-of-two was concerned that whoever stole her violin was not aware of how much it was worth, and could have panicked when she saw there a large-scale hunt for the instrument.
“I was worried that when she saw the CCTV images on TV she would throw it in the sea, or put it under the bed for years.”
Luckily, her violin was discovered without any cracks or major flaws, so she can play it in the festival.
Ms Slater will be playing the Elgar Sonata at the festival, one of many sonatas she has recorded for the BBC.
Trained as a scholarship student at the Guildhall School of Music, Ms Slater has performed at the South Bank and Wigmore Hall.
She has organised the festival, which has classical music on the first day and jazz music on the second, with her husband for the last five years.
To find out more and buy tickets for the festival on May 27 and 28, visit belsizefestival.co.uk.