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Watch Timothy Chooi play Paganini's Caprice No. 24 on his $5.5 million Strad

Robert Rowat

The Canada Council for the Arts' musical instrument bank contains more than 20 string instruments totalling over $41 million in value and 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, Timothy Chooi presents his 1717 Windsor-Weinstein Stradivari violin, valued at $5.5 million and donated by the Ontario Heritage Foundation. He gives it a workout with Paganini's Caprice No. 24.

Chooi is currently in the final year of his bachelor of music degree at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, where he studies with Ida Kavafian and Pamela Frank.

His 2017 schedule is already jammed with concerto performances. In January, he plays Vivaldi's Four Seasons with the Southwest Florida Symphony, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto with the Calgary Philharmonic, and Mozart's Concerto No. 5 with the Saskatoon Symphony. The Victoria Symphony has invited him to play Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in May. He's also got chamber music concerts planned in February in Sechelt, B.C., and Regina, Sask.; in March he plays the Canadian Music Centre in Vancouver, B.C.

"I have been recording quite a lot on this instrument recently," Chooi told us via email. "This violin really shines when recorded, having a distinctive, clear sound that works so well in many environments but particularly in a recording session. There will be a recording released within the next year or so, so please stay tuned!"

Explore more:

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Watch cellist Noémi Raymond-Friset play a Caprice by Alfredo Piatti

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