Prized 381-year-old violin to be played by Charleston Symphony concertmaster at 2019 premiere

"I'm still in shock that I get to play this instrument"


“I’m still in shock that I get to play this instrument,” says Yuriy Bekker, concertmaster of the Charleston Symphony. Thanks to an anonymous patron, Bekker now has his hands on an ex-Degen 1638 Guarneri violin, one of “the most coveted in the world, considered to produce a deep and rich sound unparalleled by any other.”

Bekker will debut the Guarnerian masterpiece at the Charleston Symphony’s season premiere, Mozart in the Lowcountry, on Fri. Sept. 27. The violin will be showcased in the first half where Bekker will perform Under an Indigo Sky, a piece of Charleston native and composer Edward Hart’s violin concerto. The concert will be recorded and released next year in the Charleston Symphony’s first record in over 20 years.

Hart sees the opportunity as a great “privilege to have one’s music performed by a world-class violinist and on a world-class violin.” Bekker’s excitement to play the violin is clear and Hart says it “reminds (him) of (his) son when receiving his first bicycle … but Yuriy’s bike is 381 years old!”

Bekker says he is “eternally grateful to the patron who has donated this violin,” adding that he “cannot wait to share its beauty with the people of Charleston.” When asked what he is most excited to play on the historical instrument, Bekker replied “Absolutely everything.”

Mozart in the Lowcountry will be on Sept. 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Gaillard Center. To purchase tickets for this and other CSO events, head online.

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