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$150,000 Italian Double Bass Declared Stolen in New York

Brian Fountain, Principal Bass of the São Paulo Opera House Orchestra, alleges that Kolstein and Sons Music have stopped returning his calls regarding the instrument


Double bassist Brian Fountain has declared his eighteenth-century Italian double bass stolen, following a consignment agreement that appears to have resulted in the instrument disappearing entirely.

In April 2022, Fountain alleges that he left his bass, which he says is valued at $150,000, with Manny Alvarez of Kolstein and Sons Music in Baldwin, NY. Fountain then opted to collect the instrument two years later — but when he contacted the company, he was informed the instrument had been sold.

However, allegedly, Kolstein and Sons were unable to present Fountain with any kind of documentation that proved the instrument had been sold, nor would they pass on the name of the buyer. Fountain alleges that the company then began to ignore his attempts at communication. He has documented four different phone calls to the company on his Instagram account, and has also shared screenshots of text conversations between himself and Kolstein staff.

Fountain says he has declared the instrument stolen, and reported the matter to both New York and federal police. He is also appealing to his fellow musicians, particularly those based in New York, to keep an eye out for his bass.

The instrument has a top of six pieces of medium-grain spruce with violin corners, and a flat back made of four pieces of clear pearwood. The ribs do not match the back and there are no outside liners present. The bass has no purfling in either table.

The bass's neck is made from well-flamed maple, while the fingerboard is ebony. It has replacement individual tuning gears, made of brass — and the outer side wings of the top and all the wood of the back are cut on the slab.

"If you are with this instrument, please know that you are playing on stolen property," Fountain said. "This has major legal implications for you."

If you have any information relating to the missing bass, please contact Brian Fountain on Instagram (@brianfountain.bass) or by email ([email protected]). You can hear him speak about his experience below.

The Violin Channel has yet to hear from Kolstein and Sons. This is a developing story.

Manny Alvarez became President and Owner of Kolstein’s in 2019, taking over for Barrie Kolstein. On the website, it states that "since taking ownership, Manny has led Kolstein’s to the addition of 3 new locations in the metropolitan area: Kolstein’s North: located at Roosevelt Field Mall, Kolstein’s Loft: located at the JW Marriot Essex House NY 160 Central Park S, and the Kolstein’s + Children’s Orchestra Society (COS) Music School located at 36 Church Street, Syosset NY."



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Brian Fountain (@brianfountain.bass)

You can also view some images of the instrument below.

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