Tuesday, August 24, 2010 , Updated 12:00 a.m., October 8, 2010
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra celebrates 300th anniversary of 1710 Davis Stradivarius violin
Concertmaster Michael Shih will perform the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto – the same piece performed at the inaugural concert of the Davis Stradivarius in Fort Worth in 1981.
FORT WORTH In 1981, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra was given an incredible gift: a 1710 Stradivarius violin, on loan to the orchestra from Mr. and Mrs. William S. Davis, who wished to see thesSymphony and the arts scene in the city grow. In October, the FWSO will celebrate this priceless instrument, crafted by the famed violin maker Antonio Stradivari, on the occasion of its 300th anniversary.
- Bass Performance Hall
525 Commerce St.
Fort Worth, TX
In honor of this special event, FWSO Concertmaster Michael Shih will take the stage to perform the beautiful Mendelssohn Violin Concerto – the same piece performed at the inaugural concert of the Davis Stradivarius in Fort Worth in 1981.
Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80 and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio espagnol, Op. 34 are also on the program. Hindemeth’s Symphonic Metamorphosis after Themes by Carl Maria von Weber will be performed Saturday and Sunday only.
The concerts take place October 8, 9 and 10 at Bass Performance Hall. Performances start at 7:30 p.m. Friday, 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10 - $79 and go on sale August 30 at www.fwsymphony.org or 817-665-6000.
Learn more about the music and the history of the Stradivari violin at Symphonic Insights, hosted by Shields-Collins “Buddy” Bray, principal keyboardist of the FWSO. The interactive lecture series takes place one hour before each concert in the audience chamber.
Italian violin maker Antonio Stradivari crafted instruments that are still considered to be the finest ever made. The new styles of violins and cellos that he created were remarkable for their excellent tonal quality and became the basic design for all modern versions of the instruments. The years from 1700 to 1720 were the greatest of his career and these years are often referred to as his “golden period.” The 1710 Davis Stradivarius was crafted during this time period. The sound of these violins resonates beautifully and produces very powerful tones. He created violins that blended the qualities of the dark, rich tones of his earlier instruments with the brighter, sweet sounds of the traditional Cremona (Italy) violin. No one truly knows exactly why the sound of the Stradivarius violin is so wonderful, but there are many theories as to what makes a violin a good violin. The quality of the wood is a definite factor, as well as the shape of the instrument, the thickness of the wooden plates that are placed in the belly and the back of the instrument, and the varnish on the wood. Of the more than 1,100 instruments Stradivari made, only 650 are known to survive today.
Not only does the Stradivarius enhance the rich tone quality of the FWSO string section, but having a Stradivarius violin on loan has attracted some of the country’s top musicians to the position of concertmaster.
The 1710 Davis Stradivarius was crafted during the artisan’s golden period and is also known as “the Magaziner” and “the ex-Wilmotte,” after Wilmotte of Antwerp, a great collector who purchased the violin in 1855. In its rich history, the violin has been owned and played by musician Isolde Menges, who used it in the capacity of leader of the quartet which bore her name; American violinist Joseph Fuchs; and Elliot Magaziner, who was part of the CBS Orchestra for more than 30 years, during which time he played with Frank Sinatra, the Beatles and some of the world's most famous classical musicians.
Michael Shih, concertmaster of the FWSO since 2001, has performed throughout the United States, Asia, Europe, and Central and South Americas. A U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, he was a winner in the Naumburg Violin Competition and Artists International’s Auditions, which led to his New York recital debut at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. He has appeared as a soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Hollywood Bowl, Little Orchestra Society at Avery Fisher Hall, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, New York Youth Symphony, San Pedro Sula Symphony in Honduras, and Taipei Symphony at Taiwan’s National Concert Hall. In 2007 he gave the world premiere of Kevin Puts’ Violin Concerto with the FWSO conducted by Miguel Harth-Bedoya, and this critically acclaimed performance is available on the FWSO Live recording The Composer’s Voice: Volume I. An avid performer of chamber music, he has collaborated with such artists as Leon Fleisher, Sharon Isbin, Jaime Laredo, Cho-Liang Lin, Yo-Yo Ma, Michael Tree and Charles Wadsworth. From 1992 to 2002, he was first violinist of the Whitman Quartet, winner of the Naumburg Chamber Music and Shouse Debut Artists awards. Music festival appearances include Aspen, Bard, Chamber Music Northwest, Chautauqua, La Jolla, Lincoln Center, Ravinia, Spoleto USA and Mostly Mozart. He has also appeared at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Chamber Music International in Dallas, Cliburn Foundation’s “Cliburn at the Bass” series, NPR’s Performance Today, NBC’s Today Show, and Japan’s NHK. He holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Dorothy DeLay and Hyo Kang.
Source: Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra
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