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the Fifties
Instruments exhibited at the 2nd Contemporary Lutherie Contest, 1954
Today the Museum holds about thirty stringed instruments from the 20th century, made by some of the best instrument makers of the time. Most are the work of luthiers who took part in the contests organized by the Accademia di Santa Cecilia. Between 1916 and 1920 the Accademia together with several other musical institutions, sponsored five editions of a lutherie contest which contributed to promoting some of the best luthiers then active in Italy. In all, 163 instruments were presented during the five competitions. The initiative was resumed after the Second World War, when the Accademia called for three national competitions in 1952, 1954 and 1956.

The organization of these three competitions benefited from the fundamental role of ANLAI (Associazione Nazionale della Liuteria Artistica Italiana - National Association of Artistic Lutherie) founded in 1949 under the patronage of the Accademia, thanks to the efforts of Professor Gioacchino Pasqualini, academic, violinist and physicistas well as a primary figure in the Museum's history. Some of the prizewinning instruments were acquired by the Academia, donated by their creators or by generous buyers and other agencies who had participated in the initiative, such as the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Government. Thus the instruments which became part of the collection reflect the Italian lutherie production of that period, testimony to the tradition of excellence in artistic craftsmanship for which Italy is still renowned all over the world. Among examples currently in the collection are a Dante Regazzoni viola and a Renato Scrollavezza cello.

In the same era, thanks in part to the success of the initiative, the Accademia was able to obtain a contribution from the government for the purchase of one of its most valuable pieces, the violin built by Antonio Stradivari known as "Il Toscano" (the Tuscan), because it was part of a quintet created in 1690 for Grand Prince Ferdinando de' Medici. "Il Toscano" is one of the few surviving instruments, fifteen in all, from one of the most important 17-18th century Italian collections. Beyond the instrument's intrinsic value, the fact that it was commissioned for a grand prince and subsequent events make the violin a priceless historical artifact.
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Dante Paolo Regazzoni
(Cortenova Valsassina, 20-Sep-1916; Lecco, 12-Mar-1999)
Regazzoni began working as a self-taught artisan in his early twenties, and then trained with the Bisiach brothers, famous Milanese luthiers. He won various national and international prizes and became one of the best Italian luthiers of his time. The Museum holds a 1956 viola which won first prize at the 3rd Contemporary Lutherie Contest. The Accademia has recently acquired various tools and objects from his workshop, donated to the Museum by his heirs.
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