CON­CERT

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - IS­LAND BEAT -

sound is some­thing left in the hands of the mu­si­cian who plays it Thayer says.

“It’s like an in­ter­est­ing and com­plex woman,” he ex­plains. “That’s how I would equate my re­la­tion­ship with this vi­o­lin. It’s some­one re­ally worth get­ting to know.”

A pa­tron of the sym­phony pur­chased the Stradi­var­ius vi­o­lin for Thayer’s use when he started with the San Diego Sym­phony in 2004. It was “the dream,” he says — to be told you could pick out any vi­o­lin to play — and he was like a kid in a candy shop.

“To be given a Stradi­var­ius to play is an amaz­ing mo­ment in some­one’s life and to be able to choose the vi­o­lin I wanted to play was even more amaz­ing,” Thayer says.

And he’s been play­ing it ever since.

“I treat it like a baby,” he says. “I’m very care­ful. I keep it by my side like a child. Every day it’s a chal­lenge to get it to per­form at its best.”

Adds HPAF ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Genette Free­man, “I’m fas­ci­nated with Stradi­var­ius vi­o­lins. When you think of the many dif­fer­ent artists who have played it, the times they lived in and where they lived — we can’t know its sto­ries, but we can still bear wit­ness to its ex­tra­or­di­nary sound.”

Free­man says the Stradi­var­ius Thayer is play­ing at this con­cert is owned by the Ja­cobs fam­ily.

“It’s known as the ‘Bagshawe’ af­ter its first own­ers, a no­ble English fam­ily, who per­haps be­cause of so­cial strife in 1600s Eng­land, mi­grated to Italy in the early 1700s, where they pur­chased the vi­o­lin,” she says.

This will be Thayer’s first time play­ing his Stradi­var­ius vi­o­lin in Hawaii. He spends the sym­phony sea­son in San Diego as the sym­phony’s con­cert­mas­ter and as a found­ing mem­ber of the Cam­era Lu­cida cham­ber mu­sic en­sem­ble in res­i­dence at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at San Diego. The rest of the year he trav­els to dif­fer­ent mu­sic fes­ti­vals and per­forms at other spe­cial con­cert events.

“I have al­ways as­pired to be a well-rounded mu­si­cian,” he says. “That’s why I wanted to be a con­cert­mas­ter be­cause they get to do a lit­tle bit of ev­ery­thing. I get to do or­ches­tral play­ing, a cer­tain amount of solo play­ing and a cer­tain amount of cham­ber mu­sic. It’s all ex­tremely re­ward­ing to me, and I think it makes me a more com­plete mu­si­cian.”

A na­tive of Penn­syl­va­nia, Thayer be­gan play­ing the vi­o­lin at the age of 3.

“My mother made me do it,” Thayer re­calls. “She was a vi­o­lin teacher. So she made me do it, like par­ents do with kids un­til they reach a cer­tain age and ei­ther quit or start to re­ally en­joy it.”

Thayer says he was 15 and liv­ing in Spain and at­tend­ing the Con­ser­va­to­rio Su­pe­rior in Cor­doba, when he started to re­al­ize he not only en­joyed play­ing, but he was also pretty good at it.

Af­ter get­ting the chance to be a soloist for “an orches­tra or two” and be­ing ac­cepted into a cou­ple sum­mer camps, he says he never looked back.

“You have to love it and be driven, self-mo­ti­vated and de­ter­mined,” he says of pur­su­ing a ca­reer in clas­si­cal mu­sic. “It re­quires an enor­mous amount of work, it’s very stress­ful and very com­pet­i­tive. But I feel ex­tremely lucky that it doesn’t feel like a job. I’m mak­ing liv­ing at some­thing that’s a part of me. On the best days, I’m trans­ported into a dif­fer­ent world. I think it’s the most en­rich­ing part of life to be in the arts.”

Thayer has been awarded nu­mer­ous ac­co­lades over the years, and was for­merly the as­sis­tant con­cert­mas­ter of the At­lanta Sym­phony Orches­tra, as­so­ciate con­cert­mas­ter of the North Carolina Sym­phony and con­cert­mas­ter of the Can­ton (Ohio) Sym­phony Orches­tra.

He will be joined at this HPAF con­cert by pi­anist Lewis, a found­ing mem­ber of the Lanier Trio, who has per­formed at Carnegie Hall, the Li­brary of Congress, the White House and Kennedy Cen­ter. He is a re­tired fac­ulty mem­ber of Ge­or­gia State Univer­sity and cur­rently lives in Port­land, Ore­gon.

“Cary Lewis is one of the most ac­com­plished col­lab­o­ra­tive pi­anists out there,” Free­man says.

“Many of the finest in­stru­men­tal artists want to per­form with him.”

Adds Thayer, “This recital is re­ally a joint ef­fort be­tween my­self and Cary Lewis. Cary was in a trio with one of my vi­o­lin teach­ers so he has a spe­cial place in my mind.”

The first of three con­certs, Thayer and Lewis’ event is fol­lowed by a per­for­mance by ukulele vir­tu­oso Jake Shimabukuro on Feb. 10 at the Hoaloha Pav­il­ion at Mauna Lani Re­sort; and an opera, pop and cross­over con­cert by UL­TIMI-3 Tenors May 17 at the Palace The­ater in Hilo and May 19 at the Ha­puna Beach Prince Ho­tel.

“We at HPAF are ded­i­cated to bring­ing top-qual­ity artists and con­certs to Hawaii Is­land,” Free­man says. “That’s why we’ve sched­uled this Stradi­var­ius con­cert, the ap­pear­ance by Jake Shimabukuro and the fab­u­lous ‘Three Tenors’ con­cert. Even though our main (fes­ti­val) takes place every sum­mer in July, we don’t want peo­ple to for­get about us the rest of the year.”

Tick­ets for tonight’s in­ti­mate con­cert are lim­ited; ad­mis­sion is $70 per per­son, which in­cludes wine and pu­pus.

For more in­for­ma­tion or to pur­chase tick­ets, call 3337378 or visit www.Hawai­iper­formin­garts­fes­ti­val.org/ tick­ets.

“I’m fas­ci­nated with Stradi­var­ius vi­o­lins. When you think of the many dif­fer­ent artists who have played it, the times they lived in and where they lived — we can’t know its sto­ries, but we can still bear wit­ness to its ex­tra­or­di­nary sound.” — Genette Free­man

Cour­tesy photo

Pi­anist Cary Lewis will be join­ing vi­o­lin­ist Jeff Thayer.

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