January 22, 2012

A Beloved Set of Strings Goes to a Good Home

Daniel J. Wakin, The New York Times

It is considered one of the greatest cellos in the world, a beautifully preserved product of Antonio Stradivari that was once owned by Nicolò Paganini and most recently by Bernard Greenhouse, a founding member of the Beaux Arts Trio. Mr. Greenhouse played the cello for a half century, and after his death last year, his family decided to sell it, hoping it would go to a deserving musician.

They got their wish, and a record price.

Christopher Reuning, the rare-instrument dealer in Boston who handled the sale, said on Saturday that the cello had been sold last week for “a fair bit above” the minimum bid price, which was slightly over $6 million. He declined to specify the exact amount. Mr. Reuning said the amount exceeded the previous record of $6 million.

The purchaser was a “patroness of the arts from Montreal,” who declined to be identified further, Mr. Reuning said. He said she has decided to lend the cello, known as Countess of Stainlein, ex-Paganini of 1707, to Stéphane Tétreault, an 18-year-old player from Montreal with a budding career.

Mr. Reuning delivered the cello to the buyer on Friday, and Mr. Tétreault tried it out at her home. The instrument remains with her while the loan arrangements are worked out. Mr. Tétreault has been playing a 250-year-old British instrument by an unknown maker, also on loan to him.

Mr. Tétreault has entered several competitions with modest success and is playing the Dvorak Cello Concerto with the Orchestre Métropolitain of Montreal this year.

“He eats, sleeps and breathes cello,” Mr. Reuning said.

Read on the NYTimes