Most classical musicians would scoff at the idea of performing in a parking garage, but for violinist Yolanda Bruno, it was a highlight of her summer concert season. She played in an all-Steve Reich concert at the BBC Proms' new series at Bold Tendencies Multi-Storey Car Park in London, England.
"It was an absolutely fantastic experience," she told us via email. "We could hear the sounds of the trains zooming by in South London during the performance, which seemed appropriate as Steve Reich has written entire pieces on trains!"
Bruno plays the Taft Stradivari violin, c. 1700, valued at $5.5 million. It's named after Mrs. Charles Phelps Taft, who purchased the violin in 1915. She was one of the founders of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and sister-in-law of William Howard Taft, 37th president of the United States. This exceptional violin is one of more than 20 instruments totalling over $41 million in value belonging to the Canada Council for the Arts' musical instrument bank. 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, Bruno plays the third movement, Andante, from the Violin Sonata No. 2 in A minor, BWV 1003, by J.S. Bach.
Bruno, recipient of the 2015 Virginia Parker Prize, recently finished her studies with David Takeno at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and will be returning to Canada after five years abroad.
In November, she'll play Beethoven's Violin Concerto with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra. She's currently touring Japan with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.