Wealthy Norwegian businessman and investor Christen Sveaas is sharing his fortune yet again. Now he’s given away a violin and a cello, both made by the legendary Italian instrument maker Antonio Stradivari in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported this week that Sveaas, known for being generous, donated the violin and cello to a charitable fund he set up 26 years ago as a memorial to his father and grandfather. Sveaas has said the Anders Sveaas’ Almennyttige Fond has a goal of “doling out some money to good projects in my father’s and grandfather’s name.”
He confirmed in an email to DN that the fund owns “many fine and old Italian string instruments that can be lent out to Norwegian and Scandinavian musicians.” He confirmed he gave a violin and a cello to the fund, “both Stradivarius.”
Another goal of the fund is to provide such instruments to promising musicians who otherwise would not be able to afford them. “I think it’s a great joy to give away these extremely seldom instruments,” Sveaas wrote. The Stradivarius cello dates from 1707 while the violin is from 1710.
He’d had a good year
Sveaas, active in the shipping and offshore industry, telecommunications, real estate and finance, reported strong results at his Oslo-based Kistefos investment company for 2015. DN reported its profits nearly doubled and Kistefos also logged some major gains and more than doubled Kistefos’ dividend.
He has often donated money to a wide variety of causes, including funding masters’ degrees at the Harvard Kennedy School in the US and, most recently, at his alma mater, St Gallen in Switzerland. He has supported culture and arts, magazines and political parties, provided wine for nursing homes and clowns to entertain children in hospitals, while also completely renovating Kistefos Træsliberi, an historic cellulose firm in Jevnaker, and turning it into an industrial and art museum with a sculpture park known for its major annual exhibitions.
Sveaas also sponsors Queen Sonja’s annual international music competition and the annual art and cultural festival Festspillene in Bergen. DN reported that accounts show Sveaas also contributed NOK 250,000 to the Liberal Party (Venstre), NOK 1 million to the conservative Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet) and NOK 1.3 million to the Conservatives (Høyre).