Anonymous benefactors donate a Gaspard da Salò bass to the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

The Australian Chamber Orchestra has today announced the newest addition to their ranks of beautiful and rare instruments, a 16th century double bass made by Italian luthier Gaspard da Salò. It was donated to the orchestra by anonymous Australian benefactors.

Da Salo, regarded as the “Stradivari of the double bass”, was the creator of instruments celebrated for their quality of sound and beautiful craftsmanship. The ACO’s latest acquisition is one of only ten da Salò basses still in existence, with tree-ring dating determining parts of the instrument to be over 750 years old. Although the ACO declined to reveal the instrument’s value, it is believed to be  in excess of $500,000.

Maxime Bibeau, the ACO’s principal bassist, has had the honour of getting acquainted with the da Salò bass over the past few weeks. He describes the instrument as one of immense power, wonderful depth and richness of sound. “You can really hear and feel the maturity of the instrument,” he said. “It has an incredibly beautiful tone across its range, and adds a whole new dimension to the sound of the orchestra.”

With the bass measuring ten centimetres taller than...