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Legendary violin comes to Breck

KIMBERLY NICOLETTI
summit daily news

It was a coveted instrument, shrouded in mystery for more than 200 years. Now, it emerges in Breckenridge.

The story of the red violin is legendary. Soon after its creation in 1720, the extraordinary instrument seemed to vanish for more than 200 years. It surfaced in the 1930s in Berlin, was purchased by a New Yorker who kept in it pristine shape, then made its way to an auction anonymously on Thanksgiving Day, 1990, at Christie’s of London. That year, Pitcairn became its beloved owner, at age 16. Saturday, she plays Corigliano’s “Chaconne” from the film’s Academy Award winning musical score, as a returning alumna of the NRO. Pitcairn began playing at age 3 and debuted with an orchestra at 14. She lives in Los Angeles, where she is a faculty member at the Colburn School.

“Much of its 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,” according to the NRO.

In addition to motivating numerous historians, writers and critics to speculate on the violin’s apparent disappearance, the story led Canadian filmmaker Francois Girard to create the 1999 Academy award winning film “The Red Violin.” Pitcairn collaborated with Lionsgate Films for “The Red Violin” DVD – Meridan Collection in a special documentary.

As part of the showcase of the red violin, the National Repertory Orchestra presents the always popular “Music of Hollywood” concert, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Riverwalk Center. The program, comprised completely of Hollywood film scores, includes “Cowboys Overture,” selections from “E.T.,” “An American in Paris,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Theme from Jaws.”

Wednesday, a few other musicians shine in the NRO as they play “The Seasons.” Here’s a snapshot of violinists Amy Yi and Rebecca Pernicano:

Why choose the NRO? To get more orchestral experience and build repertoire while escaping the heat.

What keeps you disciplined? To see how much practicing can make things better makes me want to practice.

Other interests: I love Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie short stories and novels. I also enjoy looking at maps and planning trips.

Why is orchestral music important: Orchestral music is really interesting because it has so many different layers and textures. I think the possibilities are endless in what orchestral music can express. I want as many people as possible to realize how fun orchestral music can be.

Goals, both musically and otherwise? I would like to continue studying for a couple more years, then hopefully become part of a professional orchestra. Since I don’t consider myself a good teacher, I would like to see myself improve. Most of all, I want to be a happy musician wherever I may be.

Inspirations: The first time that I decided to have a career in music was when I was 6 years old, and I have not changed my mind ever since. It was after watching a fictionalized biographical animation on the life of the American composer/songwriter Stephen Foster that I wanted to write and perform music.

Most rewarding musical experience: During college, I volunteered as a church musician for worship services at the Los Angeles County Jail. It was rewarding to see how much happiness and fun music brings to people in trouble.

Challenges and rewards you foresee as you continue your musical career: Since I was quite late in starting the violin, I lack in experience, technique and repertoire, so I would need to work extra hard to make up for that. If I overcome my lack and practice diligently, I think I could expect a rewarding result.

Why choose the NRO? I love being able to perform with orchestras and am hoping to be a professional in a symphony in the near future. I hope to learn more how to listen and play as a section, as an orchestra. I’ve never really had too much trouble, but there is always room for improvement.

What keeps you disciplined? Knowing what my ultimate goal is. In order to reach it, I have to work as hard as I can and as often as I can.

Other interests: I love to write poetry, and I love operas, baseball, going to art galleries, etc.

Why is orchestral music important: It’s a way for us musicians to speak to our audience. For those of us who are less verbal, we can express our emotions and tell stories with our melodies.

Inspirations: Mr. Cardenes is a huge influence; he has helped me to come out of my shell and express my inner emotions through my playing. My father is also a major influence; he has supported me since I began at the age of 6.

Most rewarding musical experience: During my senior year of high school, I was given the opportunity to play the first movement of Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole with the Louisville Orchestra. It was incredibly influential. I feel like it trained me to always work my hardest from that day forward, whether doing a solo or playing in an orchestra – you never know who is listening.

Challenges and rewards you foresee as you continue your musical career: I know that it will be hard to get a job, and I will have to make sure that I don’t lose my passion or feel set back. I have to keep going and keep reaching for my dream.


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