South Australian violin's homecoming

Monday, 29 May 2006

Violinist Sophie Rowell will mark the return of South Australia's precious Guadagnini violin this Friday, 2 June when she performs at the Elder Conservatorium of Music's lunchtime concert.

The 1751 violin, worth up to $1million, has been assigned to Sophie following her return from Europe.

After spending two years in Germany, playing with the continent's best musicians, Adelaide-born Sophie arrived home early this month to start a new phase of her career.

This includes performing as guest concert master and guest soloist with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (ASO), as well as continuing to lead the Tankstream string quartet, and undertaking her Performance PhD at the Elder Conservatorium, dedicated to Beethoven's 10 violin sonatas.

In 2007 Sophie will also lead the 'new' Australian String Quartet, ensuring South Australians will be able to hear the magnificent Guadagnini on a regular basis.

The 2000 ABC Young Performer of the Year moved to Berlin in 2004, where she studied with the world famous Alban Berg Quartet in Cologne, Germany.

This Friday, Sophie will perform the Piano Trio Op 50 by Tchaikovsky, alongside cellist Janis Laurs and pianist Lucinda Collins.

"It's the most exquisite work and takes you through an absolute journey of emotions," Sophie said.

"I'm looking forward to it for several reasons. The first is that I'll be playing the Guadagnini, which is such a beautiful violin. This Friday also marks my return to Elder Hall, which feels like coming home. I'm also looking forward to playing with Lucinda Collins and Janis Laurs, two musicians who I have admired for a very long time."

The Guadagnini, which is managed by the SA Guadagnini Trust, has only changed hands four times since the residents of South Australia bought it for £1750 through public subscription in 1955.

It is now insured by the State Government, through ArtsSA, who have also provided a new, high-quality case and top-class bow.

The next phase in the history of the SA Guadagnini will represent a partnership between the Trustees, the State Government, and Sophie Rowell.

For the past 13 years the precious violin has been on loan to Jane Peters, long regarded as the state's brightest young virtuoso violinist, who now lives in France.

Trustee and Elder Professor at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, Charles Bodman Rae, travelled to France last December to collect the violin from Ms Peters.

"Sophie is a real asset for our new PhD by examination in musical performance," Professor Bodman Rae said. "She holds a Commonwealth APA scholarship and is a performer with an international profile."

This Friday's concert will be held in the Elder Hall, University of Adelaide, from 1.10pm-2pm.


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