An old woman made a special gift to Swiss Baroque musician Leila Schayegh when she was a teenager – one that she has kept with her for 30 years. It was a violin – not just any violin but one attributed to one of the great 17th century makers.

“It’s labelled as Andrea Guarneri, but half of the parts have been replaced over the past four centuries,” says Schayegh, who is making her triumphant debut here leading the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s latest tour.

“It was given to me by an old lady who had it from her former husband. She decided I was the right person for it, so she just rang me up when I was a teenager and asked if I was interested in playing it.”

Poet of the Violin: Leila Schayegh and Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. Photo © Keith Saunders

The much-renovated fiddle was at the heart of Schayegh’s wide-ranging and enjoyable programme of music covering France, Germany and what is now the Czech Republic. The concert showed why she has become a high-profile figure in European early music circles since she took over from Chiara Banchini as professor of...