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Friday, May 6, 2016

Agostini performs on rare violin tonight at Gobin

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Violinist Federico Agostini, a Phillips recording artist who has toured internationally leading the ensembles I Musici and I Virtuosi di Roma, will perform on a rare 1733 Guarneri "Del Gesu" violin as he is joined by cellist Eric Edberg and pianist Nariaki Sugiura in a program of chamber works by Haydn, Ravel and Mendelssohn as the Greencastle Summer Classical Music Festival continues Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m. in the sanctuary of Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church.

Admission is free with donations accepted.

A violin collector in Phoenix, Ariz. recently lent Agostini an instrument crafted in 1733 by the great Cremonese violin maker Giuseppe Guarnerius "Del Gesu," thought by many to be the equal to, or even a greater violin maker than, Antonio Stradavarius. From Niccolo Paganini to Jascha Heifetz to Pinchas Zuckerman, many top soloists have preferred "Del Gesu" violins for their concert performances (the maker included the initials "I.H.S." and a Roman cross on the labels of his instruments, hence the nickname "Del Gesu," or "of Jesus").

"This is a rare opportunity to hear one of the great violins of the world, here in Greencastle -- and for free," said Eric Edberg, the festival's founder and director.

Festival concerts are presented in an informal, relaxed setting. The performers speak to the audience during the program and chat with audience members before and after performances.

"It's like a relaxed evening of music making in a very big living room," Edberg said. "There's no need to get dressed up. If you haven't been to a classical music concert before, try it -- I think you'll like it."

This year is the bicentennial of the death of Franz Joseph Haydn and the birth of Felix Mendelssohn.

According to Edberg, "Federico suggested we join in the worldwide celebration of the music of these two classical-music giants by playing a piano trio by each. We've included the masterful Ravel Sonata for Violin and Cello as an interlude between the Haydn and Mendelssohn works. It's not a special anniversary year for Ravel -- we just both love playing this piece. We've often performed with our friend and my DePauw colleague Claude Cymerman, who is on sabbatical in Paris. We're delighted to be joined in this concert by the outstanding young pianist Nariaki Sugiura, who already has an international performing career."

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