Sunday, July 23, 2017 This Week's Paper

‘Four Strads, Four Stories’

// Tacoma Philharmonic welcomes Zurich musicians for once-in-a-lifetime concert

Nearly 270 years after his death, the genius of violin-maker Antonio Stradivari will be shining as brightly as ever Oct. 17 at Pantages Theater, when the Tacoma Philharmonic presents  "Four Strads, Four Stories" featuring Switzerland's Stradivari Quartet.

In addition to specializing in presenting world-class music events, Tacoma Philharmonic is a unique arts organization that brings in some of the greatest ensembles and orchestras from across the country and around the world. They are celebrating 73 years of bringing outstanding music events to South Sound audiences and will be opening the 2009-2010 season with this once-in-a-lifetime musical experience. In "Four Strads, Four Stories," the musicians of the Stradivari Quartet will tell unique stories of their priceless instruments and play music that highlights the incredible sound and perfect tone these violins produce in this program that was previously reserved only for royalty.

The St. Gallen (Switzerland) textile manufacture and hobby cellist Rolf Habisreutinger began collecting valuable Stradivari instruments, which today are owned by the Stradivari Foundation Habisreutinger. The Foundation has made a two-year loan to the Stradivari Quartet to perform on these four priceless instruments. Cellist Maja Weber formed the Quartet, bringing together four of the finest instrumentalists in the world for this special project.

"At this time, it is unclear whether or not the loan will be extended beyond this concert season, so this may very well be the only opportunity to hear these four Strads on the stage in one performance," Philharmonic Executive Director Andy Wood says.

The Stradivari Quartet, which is based in Zurich and touring the United States this fall, is one of only two ensembles in the world that performs exclusively on instruments made by the legendary instrument maker Antonio Stradivari. The instruments include the King George violin of 1710, the Aurea violin of 1715, the Gibson viola of 1734 and the Bonamy Dubree-Suggio Cello of 1717. There are only approximately 650 Stradivari instruments remaining in existence today, and the Gibson viola is one of only nine remaining violas, the cello is one of only 50 remaining cellos.

This is the first time the Quartet is appearing in Tacoma, and actually the first time they are performing in Washington state. The players in the program are Xiao Ming Wang playing the King George violin, Bartek Niziol playing the Aurea violin, David Greenless playing the Gibson viola and Maja Weber playing the Bonamy Dobree-Suggia cello.

The program will begin at 7:30 p.m., with a pre-concert lecture beginning at 6:30. Seating is by reservation only. Ticket prices range from $32.50-$62.50, and senior, children, active duty military and group discounts apply. Tickets can be purchased by phone, online, or at the Pantages Theater Box Office. The venue is wheelchair accessible and the program is appropriate for ages 5 and older.

Pantages Theater is located at 901 Broadway in downtown Tacoma. Theater operating hours are Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from noon-4 p.m. For more information or to order tickets, call (253) 272-0809 or (253) 591-5894, or visit