January 14, 2016

SIU to host virtuoso player, Stradivarius violin

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. – You don’t have to be a music expert to recognize the name Stradivarius. And you don’t have to travel far, at least for two days in January, to see one. 

A 300-year-old priceless Stradivarius violin, and a virtuoso player, visit Southern Illinois University Carbondale Jan. 18-19 in support of the Southern Illinois Music Festival, the annual summer classical and jazz series of concerts. 

SIU System President Randy Dunn and his wife, Ronda Dunn, will host a wine and cheese reception and concert of Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 18 at the Stone Center as a fund raiser for the music festival.  Tickets are $100, by reservation only, at 618/536-3471. 

A second demonstration, a special School of Music convocation, is at 10 a.m. on Jan. 19 in the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall. There is no admission charge. 

Many Stradivarius violins have names. This one is “Le Brun,” a violin made in 1712 by Antonio Stradivari, during his “golden period” of violin production. Niccolò Paganini, one of the most famous violin virtuosos in music history, owned or played this violin. Other names associated with this violin are Charles LeBrun and Otto Senn. 

Kiril Laskarov, a former student of SIU professor of violin Michael Barta and currently co-concertmaster for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, presents Le Brun. A native of Bulgaria, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State Academy of Music in Sofia and a master’s degree from SIU. He was a featured soloist last year at the Southern Illinois Music Festival. 

The Southern Illinois Music Festival is an annual summer offering from the School of Music and Edward Benyas, music director for the festival. The festival features multiple concerts, many of them free, at venues throughout the Southern Illinois region. 

Kiril Laskarov