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Anne Akiko Meyers opens the Louisville Orchestra?s 2019-20 season playing the most expensive violin in the world / 89.3WFPL

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When Anne Akiko Meyers takes center stage Saturday night in Whitney Hall to play the first notes of the Louisville Orchestra's 2019-20 season, she'll bring her bow across the strings of the most expensive violin in the world. And even if 200-year-old musical instruments - like Picasso paintings - change hands today at dizzyingly higher prices than ever, Meyers' violin comes with a fabulous history and reputation as one of the most wonderful instruments ever created.

Built by Bartolomeo Guarneri del Gesu in 1741 in Cremona, Italy, the violin is known in the musical world as "Vieuxtemps Guarneri," after the soloist Henri Vieuxtemps who dazzled European audiences with it in the 19th century. It's been played by such 20th century virtuosos as Itzhak Perlman and Yehudi Menuhin.

After the violin's sale in 2012, The Economist reported the sale price as exceeding $16 million. Which begs the question of Meyers: how did she ever manage to buy it?

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