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CSO Concertmaster Yuriy Bekker to Play Rare Stradivarius Violin in Season Finale



A rare Stradivarius violin is making its second appearance in Charleston next weekend. For the grand finale of the CSO’s 2017-2018 Season, Concertmaster Yuriy Bekker will perform Bruch’s Violin Concerto on the 1686 Ex-Nachez Stradivarius, one of the world’s oldest and most celebrated violins. Mr. Bekker and the CSO will also perform Beethoven’s 7th Symphony and Ives’ The Unanswered Question. Ken Lam will conduct.

The Ex-Nachez Stradivarius shares a special connection with Charleston. Owners John and Winifred Constable, part-time Charleston residents, first loaned the violin to Yuriy Bekker to perform local Charleston composer Edward Hart’s Under an Indigo Sky with the CSO in 2012. At the time, the CSO was struggling to remain viable, yet saw a strong resurgence after the overwhelming success of the performance.

“It’s almost like driving a Ferrari,” Mr. Bekker said of playing the Stradivarius. “The strength and quality of sound it produces is unlike any violin I’ve ever played.”

Considered to be the best violin maker in the world, Italian Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737) made more than a thousand instruments during his lifetime. While over 600 violins have survived, only a fraction of them are still in playing condition. Stradivarius violins have been admired for more than three hundred years for their unparalleled craftsmanship, beauty, and tone. Stradivarius violins are often named after their famous past owners and players.

The Ex-Nachez Stradivarius was made in 1686, only 16 years after the founding of Charleston. It was once played by such notable musicians as F. Fradkin, Concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1918-1920, and Victor Dardenne of the New York Metropolitan Orchestra in the late 1940s. In addition, it was owned by famous art and violin collectors Joseph Gillott and George Hart in the 1800s.

“There is so much history built into this instrument, and I am honored that I get to be a small part of its story now,” Mr. Bekker said. “I am very grateful to John and Winifred Constable for allowing me to play it, and I can’t wait share its magic with the rest of Charleston.”

Performances will be held at the Gaillard Center on the evenings of Friday, April 13th and Saturday, April 14th at 7:30pm, as well as a 3:00pm matinée on Sunday the 15th with special pricing. This will be the CSO’s last Masterworks performance of the 2017-2018 season. For tickets, visit, call 843-723-7528, or visit the CSO offices at 2133 N. Hillside Drive, 20407.

About the CSO

This year, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra will enter its 82nd season of providing superior musical performances to the area. Founded in 1936, the CSO is the cornerstone of Charleston’s arts scene, performing its Masterworks and Pops series at the Gaillard Center and throughout the tri-county region. Employing 24 full-time musicians and 13 full-time staff, the CSO also participates in community outreach events, special concerts, and school programs throughout South Carolina.

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