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19 May 2005

Music from instruments crafted by world-famous Australian violinmaker Arthur Edward Smith will flow through the Hall at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra this Sunday.

The Eternal Strings concert will be performed by the Carl Pini Quartet which includes Canberra violist John Gould from the Canberra Symphony Orchestra. The quartet has been playing the instruments for the past month, in preparation for the event. Their condition was checked by museum conservators before they were passed on to the quartet.

ABC Classic FM's Canberra-based presenter Julian Day will compere the concert, which features music by Beethoven, Haydn and Schubert.

'This is a wonderful chance for concertgoers to hear these priceless instruments in our National Historical Collection, being played by top-notch musicians,' said National Museum director Craddock Morton.

The historic AE Smith violins, cello and viola, created after the Second World War, were acquired for the National Historical Collection just before Mr Smith died in 1978.

Media are invited to a rehearsal by the Carl Pini Quartet, using the AE Smith instruments, in the National Museum's Studio at 2pm Sunday, 22 May.

AE Smith's story is told in the National Museum's Eternity gallery. Video footage of the first concert with the instruments last year is also part of the Eternity display.

Mr Smith migrated to Australia in 1909 after completing a violin-making apprenticeship in England. From his Sydney studio he earned a reputation as one of the best violinmakers of the 20th Century, creating instruments for maestros such as Isaac Stern and Yehudi Menuhin.

Eternal Strings is being held in the Museum's Hall from 6.30pm on Sunday, 22 May. Tickets are $20, $15 concession. Bookings on 02 6208 5021.

Museum conservator Robyn Tait who oversaw the conservation of the AE Smith instruments to concert standards will discuss her recent overseas visit to institutions in Europe and North America with wide expertise in conserving such instruments at a pre-concert talk in the Museum's Friends Lounge, starting at 5.30pm. She will also speak at the beginning of the concert.

For interviews or more information please contact Sandy Forbes on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481 or Leanda Coleman on 02 6208 5338 or email

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