AYM grew out of The Musicas Fund, which was established in 1998 from the sale proceeds of Robert Lewin’s collection of stringed instruments, bows and books. This extraordinary legacy ensures that young musicians with exceptional potential are given a chance to develop their talent.
Robert Lewin (1906 -1998)
Bob Lewin was born over a fish and chip shop in the East End of London. The family’s strong interest in music encouraged his progress on the violin and piano. He started by accompanying silent movies in the cinemas and, age 19, he was playing at The High Street Cinema, Leicester. In October ’25 he was engaged by the Highgate Empire, Holloway Road, London to play on Sunday evenings; his hours were 6.45 to 8.15 and 9.00 ‘until finish’! In that same month the Musical Director of the Ipswich Picture House gave him a written contract as Leader Violinist in the orchestra divided between the Picture House and its Café, at £6.00 p.w.
During the War (1939-1945) he joined the Auxiliary Fire Service, at which time he also learnt the viola. After the War, Lewin took up music professionally and started dealing in instruments and bows; he made his name as an honest and reliable authority, going on to write the market report for ‘The Strad’ magazine for over 50 years.
Bob Lewin is remembered warmly by both private and professional associates, not only as a humorous and generous man but also as a collector of excellent taste and knowledge. Peter Horner of Bonhams’ Musical Instrument Department said “All of the instruments he sold through me were examples of incredible purity…He had great taste. Every instrument I saw at his flat was immaculate”. His eye for quality was such that he appreciated a wide variety of makers, such as Pedrazzini, Ornati, Rocca and Barbieri, long before they became as fashionable as they are today.
AYM is a registered charity and company limited by guarantee, founded in 1998.