"I love this instrument's clarity of tone, the ease with which it speaks, and its evenness across the entire register," says violinist Timothy Steeves about his 1871 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume violin, on loan from the musical instrument bank of the Canada Council for the Arts.
The violin is an exact copy of the famed 1716 Antonio Stradivari, known as the “Messiah,” that Vuillaume brought out of Italy after the death of its owner in 1854. It's one of more than 20 instruments totalling over $41 million in value, managed by the Canada Council. Every three years, musicians compete for the chance to borrow them.
Among the musicians currently in possession of these instruments, we recently invited 11 to our Montreal studios to give a demonstration.
Below, Steeves plays the fourth movement, Allegro, from the Violin Sonata in A Minor, BWV 1003, by J.S. Bach.
Steeves is currently a doctoral student at Rice University in Houston, Texas, where he studies with Cho-Liang Lin.
Upcoming performances include Alban Berg's Kammerkonzert in Houston, the Beethoven Violin Concerto in Michigan, and several recitals in Ontario with soprano Alexandra Smither.
"I have been using the instrument as much as I possibly can," he explains via email. "In addition to my studies, I am the founding violinist of the new music ensemble Latitude 49. We recently completed recording an album, which is due for release later this year. In addition to the concerts mentioned above I am planning on recording a solo album in 2017."