Magazine article Strings

Playing to Her Strengths on a 323-Year-Old Masterwork

Magazine article Strings

Playing to Her Strengths on a 323-Year-Old Masterwork

Article excerpt

A petite Tononi violin offers freedom and demands attention

Is this your primary instrument?

Yes.

How does it compare to your previous violin, and what was that instrument?

I bounced from instrument to instrument for a long time, so my baseline is a little skewed, but this is the first loaner I've given a name.

What did you name it?

"Spitfire."

What gift does this violin bring to your playing that cannot be found in any other violin?

I have big hands with long fingers, and since the Tononi is smaller than other instruments I've played on, it gives me a lot of left-hand freedom.

How does this violin inspire you as a performer?

This violin is needy in the sense that it's only happy if I am serving the specific needs and wants of a particular piece, with all the technical demands that go along with those needs being met. So in fewer words, this violin makes sure I'm paying attention to the music.

What is the Tononi's history?

I can only imagine its history. Since I know none of the facts of its journey, I make up stories in my mind. Previous accidents are visible on the instrument, but it has been treated relatively well. From the late Renaissance to iPhones, can you imagine? It can- 323 years is a long time.

Have you thought about the people who have handled it before you?

I wish I knew who they were.

Do you think they resonate in your violin? In your performance?

Every person who has played on this instrument for any length of time has left a sonic (and emotional) dent in the sound quality of this violin. That same sound quality gives me the freedom to find colors and shapes at will.

How did you come into possession of this violin?

Through the generosity of a private donor, I have the opportunity to temporarily be a part of this violin's life.

What is the Tononi's personality?

The personality of this instrument is front and center. I was immediately intrigued because I couldn't approach it physically in any sort of random way. …

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