Magic Numbers to retake the stage
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