The Stradivari Trust makes it possible for outstanding musicians to own their own fine stringed instruments.


In 1985 Cambridge entrepreneur and philanthropist Nigel Brown helped to fund the acquisition of a violin for the young Nigel Kennedy. The violin in question was the ‘La cathédrale’ Stradivari, at a cost of £370,000.

Recognising that young musicians had little chance of buying their own fine instruments, Nigel developed this early success into a unique model of syndicated trusts, whose beneficiaries include Steven Isserlis, Natalie Clein, Lawrence Power and Jennifer Pike.

The Stradivari Trust now

In 2004 the Stradivari Trust became a registered charity. Current Trustees are Colin Smithers, Andy Swarbrick, John Willan and Nigel Yandell. The Trust is managed by Dr. Sibylle Jackson and Justin Lee. Founder Nigel Brown OBE remained strongly connected to the charity as Patron, right up until he passed away peacefully in January 2023.

How it works

An instrumentalist cannot live or work without an instrument. Through our network of contacts we create contributory schemes known as ‘bare’ trusts, which have a lifetime of up to 20 years. Contributors buy notional £1 shares against the value of the instrument, plus a small fundraising fee. During this time, the musician is expected to buy back the instrument from the contributors at its current annual value.

For a small annual management charge, we look after the scheme on behalf of the musician: organising annual valuations and insurance, updating share registers and managing buybacks, and keeping contributors updated about the musicians’ career.

For more information contact Dr. Sibylle Jackson at