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Virtuoso Says Goodbye to Rare $6-million 'Kreisler' Violin With London Symphony Orchestra

LONDON, November 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Canadian Yi-Jia Susanne Hou to record with LSO in emotional tribute before returning historic violin to Stradivari Society

    Who:   Yi-Jia Susanne Hou with the London Symphony Orchestra
    What:  Recording & TV documentary with 278-year-old Fritz Kreisler violin
    Where: Lyndhurst Hall, Air Studios, Hampstead, London
    When:  Wednesday, Nov.27: 2pm rehearsal / 8pm formal event
           Media must RSVP to request attendance


Tomorrow evening, world-class violinist, Canadian Yi-Jia Susanne Hou, will bid an emotional adieu to a nearly 300-year-old violin worth $6 million in a special musical tribute with the London Symphony Orchestra.

The violin was once owned by Fritz Kreisler (born: 1865, died: 1962) - one of the greatest violinists of all time.

The Shanghai-born Ms. Hou, raised in Canada, rushed the project forward in mere months in order to make one last recording with the rare violin before she is required to give it back to its philanthropic owner.

"I chose London for its deep cultural consciousness, its world-class symphony and its intertwined history with the violin," said Ms. Hou from London on Tuesday.

The Stradivari Society of Chicago loaned Ms. Hou the instrument in 2009.  She has since played it all over the world, including here in the UK two years ago to Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne.

The Guarneri violin was crafted in 1735 in Italy.  Kreisler discovered the instrument much later, and played it in the early 20th century.

Lady Mary Portman of England then acquired the violin in 1924 -- hence the violin's lengthy name: the 1735 "ex-Mary Portman, Fritz Kreisler Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù, Cremona."

On Wednesday evening, Ms. Hou will record Beethoven's Violin Concerto from 1806 (D Major, Op 61) at Lyndhurst Hall, Air Studios in Hampstead.  She chose this music for deeply symbolic reasons.

She says her father Alec Hou - a virtuoso violinist from Shanghai - was the first person in China in the 1970s to be permitted to perform western classical music after it had been banned in the Cultural Revolution.

"He chose Beethoven for the people because it's beautiful and tormenting, yet full of hope."

"On that night, in the middle of his performance in the second movement, I was born into this world," said Ms. Hou.

"My mother didn't even tell my father she went to the hospital that day because she knew this was too important of a moment in history."

Both her proud parents, Yvonne and Alec, will attend the London event Wednesday evening.

The Beethoven concerto from 1806 that Ms. Hou will record is monumental - one of the greatest works ever written.  But Kreisler contributed another a dimension - original and dynamic improvisations called cadenzas.

"He added something truly magical that have stood the test of time," said Ms. Hou.

Filmmakers with UK's HiBROW and Canada's Know Rules Media are producing a TV documentary about the event, and the violin's rich 278-year history, including how the violin ended up in Ms. Hou's talented hands.

In 2009, she picked the violin 'blind' from a large collection of famed instruments in a parlour in Chicago put on by the Stradivari Society.

Ms. Hou says she was heart-broken when she was initially told it was "not available." But days later, she got a surprise call to audition for the instrument.  She immediately returned, performed, and was granted it on the spot.

"I was floored when they told me it was an 'ex-Kreisler' violin," said Ms. Hou.


1) Susanne Hou with Kreisler violin
Photo credit: Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

2) Fritz Kreisler (photographed with a different Kreisler violin).
Photo credit: U.S. Library of Congress

3) Kreisler violin -- the "ex-Mary Portman, Fritz Kreisler Guarneri del Gesu,
Cremona" c. 1735.
Photo credit: Stradivari Society

For further information:
Mychaylo Prystupa, Media Relations
Vancouver: +1-778-999-3546 (from UK: 00 + 1 + 778-999-3546)

Lorenz Ehrsam, Project Manager
For access to the hall.  Photography / videography must be absolutely silent.
+1-212-757-1578 (U.S. mobile)

SOURCE Sustainability Story Inc.

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