OHIO VALLEY – The Ohio Valley Symphony will open the season on October 2 with “Mostly Mendelssohn” with an opening night at the Wedge Auditorium, in Point Pleasant, W.Va.
“This [is] a cheerful, upbeat and uplifting musical selection, ”said Lora Snow, Founder and Executive Director of the Ariel Theater.
This year’s opening show will also be a tribute to Paul Simón, former chairman of the Ariel Theater board, who died earlier this year.
The show will be conducted by Scott Woodward, musical director of the Butler Philharmonic Orchestra, with special violinist Elizabeth Pitcarin, American violinist.
Woodward to conduct energizing and uplifting “Symphony No. 4”” and during the performance, Pitcarin will perform ‘Violin Concerto, op. 64, ‘” according to the Ariel Theater website.
“She [Pitcarin] offered a few solo selections and I chose the symphony, Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4. ‘ This [has] a really happy and lively opening, ”Snow said. “I didn’t want it to be sad, I wanted it to be a celebration of Paul’s life.”
Pitcarin has performed several times with the Ohio Valley Symphony at the invitation of Simón.
“It actually started with the Point Pleasant Art Gallery,” Snow said, explaining that his involvement with the gallery had put him in touch with the Pitcarin family.
“… And we were talking about concerts and stuff and he said, ‘you know they have a concert violinist in the family, let me ask them.’ And so it started, ”Snow added, saying Simón and Pitcarin have become great friends over time.
“When she heard of Paul’s passing, she wanted to come back and play for his memorial concert,” Snow said.
Pitcarin made her debut in an orchestra at the age of 14, the violinist has several performances to her credit. She is best known for her performances with the Stradivarius “Red Mendelssohn” violin from 1720.
“It’s quite an incredible story there,” Snow said. “She likes to say that she is teaming up with the legendary Red Violin.”
Behind the red violin
The violin was made by Antonio Stradivari in Cremona, Italy, in 1720. According to Pitcarin’s website, Stradivari is still “the most famous luthier of all time.” However, some time after the creation of the “Red Mendelssohn”, it was not known where the instrument was.
The website says historians, writers, critics and more have speculated on the property and location for over 200 years – this is what led Canadian filmmaker Francois Girad to create the award-winning film at several times, “The Red Violin”, which premiered in 1998.
What is now known as the Red Violin resurfaced in Berlin in the 1930s. It has been traded several times over the years and, in November 1990, was auctioned again. While many are said to have sought out the instrument, the winner, Pitcarin’s grandfather, allegedly gifted it to the then 16-year-old musician, according to her website.
At the time, the violin would have sold for € 902,000 (euros), which today equates to $ 1,934,664.87 in US dollars.
The website further stated that she took the gifted violin and did not share ownership of it for almost 30 years. Pitcarin practiced for the day she would share it with the world, which is considered “one of the most beautiful and beautiful violins in Stradivari”.
Being the only known solo performer of the red violin, Pitcarin said her goal is to share the beautiful sound with as many people as possible.
It is also noted on the Pitcarin website that she “would come to regard the violin as the most inspired mentor and friend of her life.” Many have said that the violin has finally found its true soul mate.
Snow said the way Pitcarin waited until she was ready for such an instrument and knew how much of a responsibility it is to have a “gift like this in my hands.” was special.
“She waited until she had developed enough and worked hard enough on her talent to play the instrument,” Snow said. “Which I think would take an extraordinary amount of willpower.”
While Pitcarin works with young music students in New York City, Snow encourages them in the Ohio Valley with open practices and dress rehearsals.
“Saturday [Oct. 1] the afternoon dress rehearsal, one through four, is a great time to bring young children, ”Snow said. “Kids can still enjoy music, it’s just a matter of how long they can sit still.”
Snow said it was also the perfect opportunity for people to go out and try a new kind of music or even for those who couldn’t make it to the main event, there is still a chance to see a part of the show.
“Most professional groups don’t, but I really wanted to have a different policy for those same reasons,” Snow said.
As noted earlier in this article, the performance is scheduled for October 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Wedge Auditorium, located on the Point Pleasant Junior / Senior High School campus. This temporary change of venue is due to the HVAC renovations and Snow also said that due to the larger size of this auditorium, it will also allow more room for social distancing.
Tickets are available now on the Ariel Theater website.
Snow noted that all musicians will be vaccinated and wear masks where possible. The organizers ask all spectators to wear masks.
More information on the next concert season in a future edition.
The Ohio Valley Symphony during a previous performance at the Ariel Theater, located in Gallipolis, Ohio.
Elizabeth Pitcarin, American violinist, with the Red Mendelssohn, also known as the Red Violin. Pitcarin will perform on October 2.
Brittany Hively is a writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Contact her at (740) 444-4303.