Symphony Orchestra tunes up for history making show

Yuriy Bekker
Yuriy Bekker

The sound from a more than 300 year old Stradivarius violin and the debut of a concerto written as a love letter for South Carolina will headline a history making show for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Saturday night. 

"This is an opportunity Charleston I don't think has ever had before," says orchestra executive director Daniel Beckley.

Less than 24 hours from show time, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra is tuning up for a night of firsts. The centerpiece of the show is a concerto called "Under an Indigo Sky" written for South Carolina by Edward Hart, an associate professor of music at the College of Charleston.

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - "There's three movements and each movement is inspired by a region in our state," says Hart."The first movement is called 'Fast Flowing Rivers' and it represents the midlands, the second movement is called 'Warm Salt Air' for the Lowcountry. The last movement is 'Misty Blue Horizon' and that's for the Upstate."

Hart envisioned Concertmaster Yuriy Bekker leading the orchestra, but he didn't expect him to be doing it by playing on one of the most valuable instruments the world has to offer.

Bekker will be playing a 326 year old Stradivarius violin that was offered to the orchestra's director out of the blue by a couple who live in Philadelphia but call Kiawah Island home in the summer.

"I've heard thousands of violins and I haven't heard anything like this," says Beckley.

The violin was built in 1686. That's one year after Johann Sebastian Bach was born and 16 years after Charleston was founded. According to Bekker, there 's only between 200 to 300 of the violins left in existence.

"It's something special," says the concertmaster. "The feeling that I have is not describable. It means so much to my heart and I'm cherishing every moment. I'm enjoying every single note that comes out of this violin."

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