Magic Num­bers to re­take the stage

Yorkshire Post - Culture & The Guide - - MUSIC -

THE Mer­cury-nom­i­nated Magic Num­bers have an­nounced a 12-date tour with two per­for­mances in York­shire.

The band’s new al­bum is due to be re­leased this sum­mer and with their new song Roy Or­bi­son re­cently pre­miered by Steve La­macq on his BBC 6Mu­sic show, the four­some are pre­par­ing for a se­ries of live shows.

The Magic Num­bers will play Leeds Met­ro­pol­i­tan Univer­sity on Septem­ber 13 and Sh­effield Lead­mill on Septem­ber 15. For tick­ets call 0844 811 0051 or on­line at www.gigsand­tours. com. DMITRY Sitkovet­sky de­fies cat­e­gori­sa­tion – a violinist, con­duc­tor, ar­ranger and fes­ti­val di­rec­tor. This great artist is known not only for his strong, bold play­ing and im­mac­u­late tech­nique, but for his con­sid­er­able subtlety.

Play­ing a rare vi­o­lin that’s al­most 300 years-old, Dmitry Sitkovet­sky’s re­turn to Har­ro­gate af­ter 25 years of­fers a price­less op­por­tu­nity to see the Rus­sian mas­ter in ac­tion on March 30. “It’s been my faith­ful com­pan­ion for more than 30 years,” says Sitkovet­sky, speak­ing from New York. “I prob­a­bly spend more time with the vi­o­lin than my own fam­ily”

The Stradi­var­ius vi­o­lin is val­ued in the mil­lions. Built in 1717, it’s fit­ting that Sitkovet­sky cher­ishes an in­stru­ment that speaks such mu­si­cal her­itage. A fourth­gen­er­a­tion violinist born into Rus­sia’s mu­sic aris­toc­racy, his mother is the pi­anist Bella Davi­dovich, his fa­ther Ju­lian, was also a violinist des­tined for great­ness be­fore dy­ing of cancer aged just 33.

Sitkovet­sky’s own life story matches that of any great Rus­sian novel. Grow­ing up in com­mu­nist Moscow, at aged 22, he faked ten­donitis to es­cape the regime.

“You have to know what the regime was like in ’77,” he says. “It was not pos­si­ble to em­i­grate. I had two pos­si­bil­i­ties, to com­pete in­ter­na­tion­ally and then de­fect, but that would have af­fected my mother, it would have been the end of her, she’d be the mother of a crim­i­nal. It was not an op­tion. The other pos­si­bil­ity was hard and risky be­cause in or­der to em­i­grate I had to con­vince the au­thor­i­ties I was no longer a valu­able as­set to them. Sovi­ets gave the best mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion, it was un­matched, so they wanted a re­turn on their in­vest­ment.”

Leav­ing was con­sid­ered ‘trea­son’.

“I con­vinced them I could no longer play the vi­o­lin. I went to hospi­tal and got the doc­tors to say I had ten­donitis and couldn’t play, I can­celled all con­certs, and six months later I ap­plied to leave. It was a long and risky plan which worked. I beat the regime. I came to New York with noth­ing, not even my vi­o­lin.”

It was a risk he was de­ter­mined to take.

“Ob­jec­tively, ev­ery­thing was de­cided for me, my path was the path of my par­ents. If I was go­ing to go along with those rules, I would have been one of Rus­sia’s most well­known vi­o­lin­ists, but know­ing I’d al­ways be con­trolled by the govern­ment and be a glo­ri­fied slave,” he says.

As well as the prin­ci­ple of art not be­ing de­fined by pol­i­tics, his need to es­cape was deeply per­sonal.

“Ever since I can re­mem­ber, I was un­sure how much credit I was get­ting. I thought it was all be­cause of my par­ents and I wanted to know what I was ca­pa­ble of, on my own. In Amer­ica, no-one had heard of my mother. I started from Ground Zero, that was my wish.”

New York in the late 1970s was ar­tis­ti­cally vi­brant.

“At that time it was un­safe, but in­cred­i­bly lib­er­at­ing. New York then was as much my time as Rock­e­feller’s. I never

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