About the Boorse Collection
All violins in the collection are by living makers. The makers are initially chosen by three main criteria: medals won at Violin Society of America competitions; advice by makers already in the collection; and opinions posted at www.violinist.com. Ultimately, instruments are accepted or rejected by the judgment of Christopher Boorse, after consultation with international soloist and University of Delaware professor Xiang Gao, and also with other music professionals and students. In all but two cases, violins were selected from two or more instruments by the same maker. Only two of the violins had a previous owner. It is currently planned to expand the collection to at least 15 makers.
The Boorse Collection is privately owned, but many of its instruments have been lent to other violinists. Besides the University of Delaware, violins from the collection have been played at Appalachian State University, The Aspen Festival, Temple University, University of North Carolina, and West Chester University.
That the best contemporary violins are the equals of old-master instruments is confirmed by many studies, most recently a double-blind test in Paris in 2013.1 In this test (an improved version of a 2010 study with similar results 2), ten world-class violin soloists were blindfolded and asked to compare twelve violins: six contemporary, six old Italians (including five Stradivaris). The most popular violin was a contemporary, and the contemporaries won decisively on total points. Also, the players were unable to tell old from new; their guesses were no better than chance (31 right, 33 wrong).
About the Collector
Christopher Boorse is Professor of Philosophy at University of Delaware, where he has taught since 1971. He comes from a musical family, with his father having been a music professor at Penn State, his father’s parents music teachers, and his great-grandfather and sister piano technicians. He studied violin from ages 6 to 21, and, as a freshman at Oberlin, toured Northeast concert halls in the orchestra’s first-violin section. Recently, after a long hiatus, he took the instrument up again, playing six semesters in UD’s large orchestra and one semester in UD’s chamber orchestra.
In Boorse’s professional life, his writings in philosophy of medicine, on the analysis of concepts of health and disease, are well-known internationally. He has also written on ethics and on symbolic logic. His teaching has included a great variety of courses, mostly in the latter two areas.