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Watch violinist Byungchan Lee play Kreisler's Recitativo and Scherzo

Robert Rowat

Did you know the Canada Council for the Arts manages a collection of more than 20 string instruments totalling over $41 million in value? Known as the musical instrument bank, these violins, violas, cellos and bows date from the late 1600s to the early 1900s and bear the names Stradivari, Guarneri and Gagliano, among others. Every three years, musicians compete for the chance to borrow them.

Of the musicians currently in possession of these instruments, we recently invited 11 to our Montreal studios to give a demonstration.

Below, Byungchan Lee presents his 1768 Miller Januarius Gagliano violin, valued at $375,000. He plays Recitativo and Scherzo by Fritz Kreisler.

Lee is currently based in New York City, where he's working on a master's degree at Juilliard, studying with Masao Kawasaki. "It’s a busy and exciting time," he tells us via email. "My first concert ever in NYC will be with the Juilliard Orchestra on Oct. 20 in Alice Tully Hall. I’ll be associate concertmaster."

He'll be back home in Montreal in November to compete in the OSM Manulife Competition.

Explore more:

30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30, 2016 edition

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