The acquisition was funded by Australian industry super fund Media Super, who injected AU$1 million into the Fund to enable the purchase of the instrument. The 1590 Brothers Amati violin will be played by ACO violinist Ike See.
This follows on from Media Super’s initial investment of AU$1 million into the ACO Instrument Fund in 2017. The $5.6 billion industry fund is the Instrument Fund’s only institutional investor with a unitholding of 29%.
The ACO established the Instrument Fund in 2011 to offer patrons and investors the rare opportunity to participate in the ownership of a bank of historic stringed instruments. An unlisted Australian unit trust available only to wholesale investors, its investment objective is to achieve long-term capital gains. The Instrument Fund currently has 45 unitholders comprising individuals, companies, family trusts and foundations, and self-managed super funds (SMSFs).
The ACO Instrument Fund currently holds four assets from the ‘Golden Age’ – instruments made between 1560 to 1740 in Cremona, Italy – of instrumentmaking. In addition to the 1590 Brothers Amati violin, the Fund also owns a 1728/29 Stradivarius violin, a 1714 Guarneri violin, and a 1616 Brothers Amati cello. These four rare instruments are played by the professional musicians of the ACO and are collectively worth approximately AU$8 million. Media Super, which covers the print, media and the creative arts industries, has a track record of making investments which its chief executive Graeme Russell said promotes a “strong cultural industry in Australia”. This has a flow on effect of generating jobs for its members and increasing their super contributions and account balances.
In the case of the ACO Instrument Fund, Russell said it was “appropriately structured” to allow for investment by super funds. “The low volatility of the Fund, its track record of growth and potential for further capital growth were the main investment considerations. Our involvement has the intrinsic value of providing ACO musicians with access to high quality period instruments. The Fund has also been recognised as one of Australia’s significant ‘social impact’ investments,” said Russell.
ACO Managing Director Richard Evans describes participation in the Fund as an opportunity for investors to make a viable financial investment with a strong philanthropic element. “We are delighted to have added a fourth ‘Golden Age’ instrument to the ACO Instrument Fund’s collection,” said Evans. “The ACO has one of the finest instrument collections of any orchestra in the world, and the 1590 Brothers Amati violin, with its remarkable depth and warmth of tone, will compliment and contribute to the ACO’s extraordinary sound, for which the Orchestra is renowned around the world. “We are extremely grateful to Media Super for their investment in the Instrument Fund, which enabled the acquisition of this 430-year old instrument.”