The Red Violin sings again

DOWNEY - Coming to Downey! One night only! At a theater near you! The chance of a lifetime!This is hype you might not ordinarily associate with our symphony orchestra, but it's simply a modestly understated notice to alert you to a rare event. Coming to Downey on Saturday evening, April 10, at the Civic Theatre in concert with the Downey Symphony is soloist Elizabeth Pitcairn, performing Max Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1. Pitcairn owns and plays (gloriously) the 1720 "Mendelssohn" Stradivarius violin, the inspiration for the 1999 Academy Award-winning film, "The Red Violin." After the master violin-maker completed this instrument, it essentially vanished for more than 200 years, swathed in mystery, and seems not to have been played publicly for longer than that. Then in 1999 the New York Times reported that the extraordinary violin, "the Red Mendelssohn," had been put on Christie's auction block in London and sold to an American buyer "who does not wish to be identified." Guess who? Elizabeth Pitcairn's website tells us, "While some of the world's most powerful sought to win the coveted instrument, it landed in the hands of a then 16-year-old American solo violinist, Elizabeth Pitcairn. Pitcairn would remain silent about owning the violin until her rapidly burgeoning solo career brought her into the public eye on international concert stages after nearly three decades of rigorous training by the world's most esteemed violin teachers." Much of the instrument's "original burnished red varnish remains on the violin today, and it is thought to be one of the best sounding and most beautiful of Stradivari's remaining violins." So this concert on April 10 is an occasion indeed, and here is information you need to be present in the audience. The Civic Theatre is at 8435 Firestone Blvd. at the corner of Brookshire; parking is free. Concert time is 8 p.m., with Music Director Sharon Lavery's preview discussion at 7:15, free to ticket holders. Tickets are $30, $25 and $10, available by calling the symphony office, (562) 403-2944, or by visiting the theater box office from noon to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 7. The evening's program includes an opening work led by Baton Auction Winner Donald Bryan, and Lavery conducts Brahm's Serenade No. 1. Then, in partnership with Elizabeth Pitcairn, the Red Mendelssohn Stradivarius Violin sings again.

********** Published: April 2, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 50