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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 February 2008, 16:38 GMT
Violinist destroys $1m instrument
David Garrett
Garrett's violin dates from the 18th Century

Virtuoso musician David Garrett smashed a $1 million (540,000) violin when he fell over after a concert in London over Christmas, he has revealed.

"I fell down a flight of stairs and landed on my violin case," he told the BBC. "When I opened it up, it was a total mess."

Garrett, 26, likened the accident to "losing a dear friend".

The 230-year-old instrument will spend the next eight months in a workshop, with a repair bill of around 60,000.

"I think it's worth the money," said Garrett.

"You want to have the best repair possible done, which is never the cheapest solution.

"Certain instruments just work very well with the violinist... I just loved the violin very, very much."

In the meantime, Garrett has been offered the use of a Stradivarius, worth an estimated 2.5m, for a Valentine's Day concert in London.

It has been loaned by London-based dealers J&A Beare, who have arranged for the instrument to be flown in from Milan, Italy.

"I've already got it here," Garrett said after rehearsals at the Barbican. "It's a beautiful instrument and it will sound perfect tomorrow."


German-born Garrett first came to attention as a child prodigy, and he played as a soloist with the London Philharmonic before he was 10.

David Garrett

He has recently returned to the stage after running away from home to study at the renowned Juilliard School in New York, against the wishes of his parents.

He paid his own way for the course, supplementing his income by modelling for the likes of Vogue and Armani.

The broken violin was made by Italian craftsman GB Guadagnini, who referred to himself as an "alumnus of Stradivarius".

Garrett said he bought the 1772 violin for $1 million (510,000) in 2003.

The star said his accident came as he tried to make an early getaway from the Barbican Centre last year.

"I left the concert after the first half because my family was there and we wanted to grab dinner," he said.

"The stairs were very slippery and I still had my concert shoes on. I had my violin over my shoulder, but I slipped and landed on my violin case.

"I'm not happy about it at all, but it kind of saved my life."

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17 Dec 03 |  Science/Nature

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