Armed Robbers Make Off With “Lipinski” Stradivarius

On Monday, January 27, 2014 armed robbers attacked violinist Frank Almond and stole the “Lipinski” Stradivarius violin he used at a Frankly Music chamber series concert that evening. Almond, who is also concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony and author of the non divisi culture blog, was tasered  as he approached his car near the stage entrance after the performance and the violin case was driven away within seconds. The case also contained Almond’s two violin bows.

The 1/28/14 edition of published an article by Myra Sanchick and Jeremy Ross which reports that the Milwaukee police is treating the robbery as an arts theft and an investigation is currently under way which includes Interpol and the FBI.

In addition to using the violin for his performance duties, Almond spearheaded a comprehensive research effort to document the instrument’s history as well as record an album featuring the instrument on the AVIE label in 2013 with pianist William Wolfram.

Almond launched a website,, in 2013 to present the results of the research and to serve as a historical resource for the rare Stradivarius violin.

Milwaukee police say anyone with information about the whereabouts of the violin should call 414-935-7360 or the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at 414-226-7838.  A reward offer is pending and we will update this post as necessary.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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