Unique Stradivari violins from Russia to sound in Rome

Musician and conductor Yury Bashmet together with his Moscow Soloists Chamber Orchestra is set to give a one-of-a-kind concert in Rome as part of the Russia-Italy cross-culture program.

The orchestra will perform with the help of priceless Stradivarius violins from Russia’s State Collection.

The concert that will feature music by Mozart, Paganini and Tchaikovsky is a unique event for both Russia and Italy. It also marks the beginning of the Chamber Orchestra’s tour dated for its 20th anniversary.

The Moscow Soloists together with Italian violinist Uto Ughi will play the instruments created by the unchallenged Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari from Russia’s State Collection of Unique Musical Instruments. This will be the first time the pearls of the collection will actually sound outside Russia, rather than on display at an exhibition.

It happened so that Vienna was the first place to hear the great instruments play at a concert held several days before the upcoming performance in Rome. “We thought that it would be unfair not to let the instruments visit their historical Fatherland,” says the director of the Russian Concert Agency Dmitry Grinchenko.

Maestro Yury Bashmet – the one behind the idea to hold such a concert – has been planning this for over a decade. “I had a dream that once the whole Chamber Orchestra would play on Stradivari, and now this dream has come true,” says Yury Bashmet.

The instruments that somehow ended up in the Soviet Union for a long while were the “prisoners” of Russia, having not once left the country ever since the Collection was founded back in 1918. There are only about 650 Stradivari instruments left in the world today, about 20 violins fabricated by the members of Antonio Stradivari’s house reside in Russia as part of the State collection. Few people have had a chance to play these instruments.

The concert in Vienna and the upcoming concert in Rome are setting the instruments free. “Today they are back to their Fatherland,” Bashmet added.

Bashmet underlined that Russia’s and Italy’s tight cultural relations go far beyond this year’s events. However he believes “the cross-culture year… will open new perspectives” for both states.

The State Collection of Unique Musical Instruments is the world’s largest collection of string instruments created by masters from various countries and epochs. Among them are masterpieces from Stradivari, Guarneri, Amati and other great luthiers.

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