Acclaimed soloist to play Shrine’s Stradivari

Acclaimed soloist to play Shrine's Stradivari The acclaimed violin soloist Eugene Fodor, the first American to win the Tchaikovsky competition in Moscow, will perform Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, plus works by Massenet, Paganini, and Vitali, on "The Harrison" violin by Antonio Stradivari from the collections of America's Shrine to Music Museum, plus three other great violins, one by Stradivari and two by Guarneri del Gesu, at a concert in Slagle Auditorium on the campus of The University of South Dakota in Vermillion, Saturday, April 6 at 8 p.m.

It is the first time that "The Harrison" � widely known as the greatest surviving concert instrument of the 17th century � will be heard, since the museum acquired in in 1984.

According to Dr. Andr� P. Larson, director of the museum, "the goal is to preserve the instrument in its current condition, so that museum visitors hundreds of years from now can still see a Stradivari violin, much as it looked, when it was built in 1693. However, it is also appropriate, we think, that each generation should have a chance to hear it played once in a live performance. For most of us, this will be that opportunity."

Fodor will also play his own violin, built in 1740 by the other great Italian master, Guarneri del Gesu (so named because Guarneri stamped his instruments with "I.H.S.," an homage to Jesus).

In addition, arrangements have been finalized to borrow two more great Italian violins from a southern California collector who wishes to remain anonymous for security reasons.

One is a 1714 "golden era" Strad, known as the "Leonora Jackson" (a well-known American violinist at the turn of the last century, who once owned the instrument), and a Guarneri del Gesu, called the "Joachim." It was once owned by Joseph Joachim, who played it at the premiere of the Concerto in D Major by Johannes Brahms in 1878.

The four instruments, valued in the millions, will be placed on an onstage table. Each will be used for one of the four movements of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, says Fodor, "not to set one violin or violin maker against another, but to offer a direct, side-by-side comparison and celebrate the greatness of these four legendary instruments."

Other works on the program include Meditation from "Thais" by Jules Massenet, Ciaccona by Vitali, and two virtuosic works by the great 19th-century violinist, Nicolo Paganini: Four Caprices and Fantasy on "Moses." The latter will be performed entirely on one string � the fourth.

The violin artistry of Eugene Fodor has captivated audiences for three decades in 35 countries on five continents, as a soloist with the world's greatest orchestras.

He has performed for presidents at the White House and at world summit conferences in Virginia and the former Soviet Union (USSR).

The New York Times calls him "spectacular." The Los Angeles Times has said his playing is "filled with effortless brilliance, myriad details of articulation, and suave tone." The Washington Post has described him as "an American treasure."

He has appeared on television productions worldwide, including 17 times on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, as well as CBS 20/20; The Today Show; Good Morning America; a CBS Sunday Morning feature; and, on European, Japanese, and Korean television.

In 1999, he won the coveted "Prix Europ�en du Soliste," which was presented to him in Paris, when he played at the Th�atre des Champs-Elys�es.

Tickets for the April 6 concert are now on sale at the museum by calling 605-677-5306 (Visa/MasterCard). VIP seating (front, center section) is $25. General admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children.

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