The Harrison-Frank Family Foundation


The Harrison-Frank Family Foundation was set up in 2014 as a charity which owns and lends a collection of fine old Italian, French, Dutch and English violins to young professional musicians.

Richard Harrison, originally from the USA, is a naturalised British Citizen who was also an amateur violinist and who wanted to give something back to his adopted country. A chance meeting in 2012 with violist Louise Williams at Wigmore Hall on a Monday lunchtime concert, when the BBC announcer exhorted the audience to talk to their neighbours, led to the idea of purchasing a violin to lend to a young player.

Mr Harrison’s understanding was that some string players leave their conservatoire with instruments that may be rather inadequate for the concerts, auditions and competitions which they are engaged to play.

Often these musicians are having to hand back a fine violin which they have been able to borrow from their conservatoire during the years of their studies. Purchasing an instrument of sufficient quality for a professional career is often not an option, since these instruments are usually unaffordable for most young players.

There are currently 54 violins, 1 viola, 5 bows and 1 string quartet in the Foundation’s collection. All the instruments have been acquired for the foundation by Richard and his late wife Barbara Frank Harrison, in collaboration with J & A Beare who have helped to set up, maintain and run the scheme.

Loans are arranged on a renewable annual basis, with the option of extending up to 5 years, until the musician is established and earning enough to think of buying their own violin. The instrument can then be released to lend again to another qualifying applicant.

“Since its existence, the Harrison-Frank Family Foundation has been helping over 100 young violinists in the early stages of their career, with the loan of a quality instrument and/or bow from its collection. These musicians are often winners of national and international competitions, are active soloists, chamber musicians, and members of some of the UK’s professional orchestras.”

The Jacob Ford violin on loan to me from the Harrison-Frank Foundation is a perfect instrument to be played on with gut strings and will from now on be the instrument I play on in the Consone Quartet.

This instrument has a gorgeous deep lower register and a beautiful bright top register, perfect for blending in a quartet while also being able to bring out those higher singing violin melodies. I very much look forward to getting to know this instrument better and exploring lots of repertoire on it!

Agata Daraskaite, 2017

Words cannot express my gratitude to the Harrison-Frank Family Foundation for providing me an instrument since 2016. Without this generosity I could not be able to further my studies in Brussels and try to explore a musically more independent life in London.

Julia Pusker, 2018

The loan of the Baldantoni violin from Harrison Frank Foundation has truly enriched my career. This violin has a very distinctive mellow voice, and I am continuously discovering more and more beautiful colours in the sound as I develop my relationship with this instrument. The assistance of this loan is absolutely invaluable. While providing me with a wonderful instrument at the beginning stage of my young professional life, it gives me the time necessary to eventually settle on an instrument of my own. I am so very grateful!

Yu-Mien Sun, 2019

I am incredibly grateful to the Harrison Frank Foundation for the loan of the Marchetti violin that I’ve been lucky enough to play on for over two years now.  When I was in my final year at music college, the impending loss of the instrument I had on loan from the Royal Academy of Music was an ever-constant worry.  The Harrison Frank Foundation bridged a hugely important time in my career, when I was starting out and needed a good instrument but was still acquiring the means to purchase my own.  As proof of the confidence having an instrument of quality has given me; I was appointed to my job at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra whilst playing the HFF violin. I have hugely enjoyed playing it in many other contexts too, from quartet and other chamber music concerts, to earlier in 2017 performing Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the Sinfonia of Birmingham. 

Kate Suthers, 2019

I am forever grateful to the Harrison-Frank Family Foundation. The foundation was instrumental in my development as a musician. Thanks to their generosity, I was able to play on a beautiful instrument, which helped me pursue my artistic dreams. Without their help and support I would not have been able to go on to the next stage in my career.

Ionel Manicu, 2024

I learnt so much from playing 2 very different instruments during my loan period with HFF. I was particularly grateful to play an instrument of a high enough calibre to lead orchestras and perform as soloist. As string players, we are reliant on having quality instruments for auditions, competitions and concerts, and my HFF violins allowed me to be free musically and creatively in these arenas. I am so grateful for the time I spent on my HFF violins, and for all the joy and musical development I got out of playing them.

Eleanor Corr, 2024

I was lucky enough to be loaned this very warm and big sounding viola when I was just fresh out of music college. It was a big step up in quality to what I'd been playing on previously. The timing was perfect, as it allowed me time to look for and purchase my current instrument, taking the pressure off that process timing and giving me a high-quality instrument to start my career on. I had a few years playing it in (it was brand new when we first met) and I enjoying the big sound opening up in scope and depth. I've made recordings, competitions, auditions, played in orchestras and worked in chamber music groups with this viola, including my current groups: the Belinfante Quartet and Trilogy Ensemble (harp trio). It saw me through the early stages of my performance career. It is as happy in an orchestra section as it is in a chamber ensemble and projects wonderfully for solos. I highly recommend you give it a try!

Henrietta Hill, 2024

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to play such a fine instrument, one that would have otherwise been out of my reach had it not been for the help of the Harrison-Frank Foundation. The violin was truly a joy to play and helped me achieve some of the most important milestones in my career. Although I will miss it dearly, I feel very fortunate to have had it as my companion for so many years.

Emily Nebel, 2024