ENCINITAS — Local residents will have the rare opportunity to see and listen to a 324-year-old Stradivarius violin when Trio Celeste performs at the Encinitas Library at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18.The trio, which is the Claire Trevor School of the Arts Ensemble-in-Residence at UC Irvine, consists of Iryna Krechkovsky (violin), Kevin Kwan Loucks (piano) and Ross Gasworth (cello).
Krechkovsky will be playing a 1689 Baumgartner Stradivarius violin which is on loan to her from the Canada Council for the Arts. She earned the privilege in 2012 in a competition the council holds every three years.
“They have a collection of 17 violins and, based on the ranking, you get to choose the instrument you like,” she explained. “I was among the top three winners so it was my first choice.”
The competition is only open to Canadians. Krechkovsky was born in Ukraine and raised in Toronto where she remembers learning about the Stradivarius in school. “It’s a piece of history that is with me all the time,” she said. “And as someone who plays it, I ‘get it’ completely.”
Stradivarius violins were handcrafted by master luthier Antonio Stradivari who was born in Italy around 1644. During his lifetime he designed and crafted more than 1,000 violins and instruments, nearly 650 of which still exist today. They continue to set the standard in form, sound and beauty.
Krechkovsky said each violin is thought to have its own distinctive personality.
“The one I play is incredibly responsive and the sound is very warm — something I wasn’t able to get from the instrument I had before,” she said. “It has a very wide range of sound and emotions and I think our personalities clicked.”
Krechkovsky explained that there is a fascination that comes with being entrusted with an instrument that has traveled the globe and survived more than three centuries. “When this instrument is given to us, it’s our job to bring attention and expose it to audiences who have never had the opportunity to hear it before,” she added. “We are encouraged to take it around the world. I’m honored to have it and have the opportunity to share it with people.”
Last year Trio Celeste won the prestigious Beverley Hills Auditions with Krechkovsky playing the Stradivarius. In addition to the unique qualities of her instrument, she said the trio has a natural synchronicity as longtime friends and fellow musicians.
“Kevin and I met at a festival in Italy and we worked together for many years — even before we were married,” Krechkovsky said. “Our cellist, Ross, is our best friend so there is a lot of mutual respect and it couldn’t be a better working situation.”
Loucks was raised in Santa Rosa, Calif., of Korean descent, and Gasworth in Michigan.
“That’s the beautiful thing about music,” she added. “People say music is the universal language.”
The trio will perform “Dvorák: Piano Trio No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 90, ‘Dumky,’” “Piazzolla/Bragato: The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires for Piano Trio, Otoño Porteño (Autumn In Buenos Aires)” and “Beethoven: Piano Trio in G Major, Op.1 No. 2.”
“Trio Celeste is a dynamic young trio with exceptional talent whose members are on the cusp of great careers in music,” said Encinitas Arts Administrator Jim Gilliam. “For the public, who have never heard a Stradivarius violin in person, this experience will be like no other — the intimate setting at the library will be a one-of-a-kind experience for them.”
Under the artistic direction of Laura Schmieder, talented rising artists from around the world are selected at the Beverly Hills Auditions. They are presented monthly in the Music by the Sea recital series at the Encinitas Library on Friday evenings. The concerts are also presented monthly on Saturday evenings in The Interludes concert series, hosted by First Lutheran Church & School in Torrance.
The Encinitas Library is located at 540 Cornish Drive, Encinitas. Tickets are $13 and can be purchased at the door or by calling (760) 633-2740. They can also be held at Will Call. For more information visit trioceleste.com.