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Classic FM Drive with John Brunning 5pm - 7pm
1 December 2014, 15:45
This is the amazing story of how a violin made entirely of matchsticks ended up being a proper concert instrument, known as the Unikat Polish Stradivarius.
Back in 1937, Polish bricklayer Jan Gwiżdż made a violin
Which is pretty impressive on its own, but Jan had to go one better. He decided to make his violin out of matchsticks. 16,000 matchsticks, to be precise.
Initially, it made a bit of a splash
Articles were written about this bizarre instrument, but ultimately it was viewed as an object of curiosity rather than something to actually play. It went on display under the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
But the violin returned to Poland
It ended up back in the country that birthed it, while Jan remained in France. He died in 1980, but he had actually made a start on a second instrument (which remains in two pieces to this day).
Great news though: it's being played again!
Thanks to the efforts of Jan's grandson, Hubert Gwiżdż, the violin has been deemed suitable for actual performance.