Helena Attlee launches crowdfunding campaign for Lev’s violin

Helena Attlee, author of LEV’S VIOLIN: An Italian Adventure, has launched a crowdfunding campaign at Hay Festival to rescue and restore a unique violin.

Helena was inspired to write the story of this violin when she heard it played by Greg Lawson at a concert in Presteigne, near Hay on Wye. She described its voice as “powerful enough to open pores and unbuckle joints” in her book, which reached millions of listeners when it was broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week in April 2021. Now the neck of the violin has collapsed and its fragile body needs thorough restoration.

The campaign team includes Greg Lawson, violinist with Scotland’s leading orchestras and a member of Moishe’s Bagel, a band playing Klezmer and world music, and Dr Lev Atlas, principal viola at the Scottish Opera Orchestra, who smuggled the violin out of Russia in the 1980s. The restoration has been facilitated by Martin Swan of Martin Swan Violins, and will be carried out by violin maker and restorer Anette Fajardo.

This campaign aims to raise sufficient funds to restore Lev’s violin and give its wonderful voice back to the world for another hundred years. When it has been restored, it will be offered on loan to exceptional students seeking out their own voices as musicians, and to other players with projects especially suited to its particular tone. Any additional funds raised will be given to Music for All, a charity dedicated to providing instruments for schools, supporting individual musicians and community music projects.

Contributors to the campaign will be given the opportunity to hear the glorious sound of Lev’s violin on a newly recorded album featuring a variety of classical and world music. Among other funding rewards are tickets to an online concert with Lev’s violin, Greg Lawson and Lev Atlas, a signed copy of LEV’S VIOLIN, and the opportunity to welcome Greg Lawson to your home for a private concert.