After almost three weeks of emotional roller coasters after his old violin was stolen, classical violinist Royce Rich has finally found his beloved instrument.
The Lorenzo Carcassi 1757 violin survived a tumultuous journey, first stolen on the TTC just before Christmas, then sold to a taxi driver before finally returning to its rightful owner.
The search for the violin gained publicity when police released photos of the cherished violin and surveillance photos of a suspect who left with the violin from Dufferin station.
Rich, 22, who currently attends Glenn Gould School of Music in Toronto, was surprised by the condition of the violin when he first saw it last week. Although its case was “quite damaged,” the instrument itself was very well apart from a broken string and a few missing bow hairs, he said.
“I felt like I had lost an arm or part of my body,” Rich said. “When you’re a musician. . . (and you) don’t have that ability to channel what you think you’re supposed to do, it’s very difficult. ”
“I am extremely grateful to everyone who helped find my violin.”
This would not have been possible without the help of Beck Taxi driver Yahya Ahmed. A musician himself, Ahmed said he bought the violin from a man outside Islington station for $ 100. It wasn’t until he researched the instrument that he realized it was much more valuable, which Rich said was at least in the five digits.
“I’m very happy for him,” said Ahmed, who handed the instrument to the police. “I am a musician but I do not play the violin. This guy is a professional, so I’m very glad he has his violin safe.
Beck Taxi offered Ahmed a $ 100 gas card to make up for his financial loss, he said.
Although Rich has yet to have a chance to hook up with Ahmed, he said he was eager to thank the taxi driver in person once the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
“I’m very surprised he even noticed (the origin of the instrument),” Rich said. “But then recognizing it and showing it to the authorities again is amazing.”
Const. Jenifferjit Sidhu, media relations officer with the Toronto Police Department, confirmed that no suspects were found as part of their investigation into the theft.
Rich has been playing Lorenzo Carcassi since 2015, when a private benefactor gave him the instrument after learning he needed a new violin.
The musician started taking violin lessons at the age of five, he said. Now, 17 years later, Rich is preparing to release his debut album – thanks in part to his experiences.
“I had prepared all these recordings but didn’t know when I would use them. But because of the discovery of my violin. . . I wanted to publish it as a thank you, as a celebration project, ”he said.
The album, titled “Short n ‘Sweet,” will feature seven tracks played on Rich’s beloved violin. He plans to release it later in January.
“I have deep gratitude for everyone who helped me,” he said.