Violinist Regina Carter will make history on Sunday, December 30th, 2001, as she plays Paganini’s legendary Guarneri violin in Genoa, Italy at a concert performance at the Teatro Dell’Opera.
This year marks the first time that a non-classical musician has been chosen to perform on the Guarneri. While Carter trained in the classical genre growing up in her hometown of Detroit, MI, she is renowned as one of the leading jazz musicians in the world. In fact, she has won Downbeat Magazine’s Critic’s Poll four times in the Best Jazz Violinist category. Additionally, it is the first time that an African-American will play the classic instrument, which was Paganini’s most treasured violin.
The Paganini institute allows this violin to be played by only select guest soloists. The selection process is very elaborate, requiring approval from the communal government, the Mayor of Genoa, the Paganini Commission, the technicians that care for the violin, and finally, the Italian Cultural Ministry.
The violin was created by Bartolomeo Guarneri in 1743. It was used by Niccolo Paganini (1782-1840) during his career as a stupendous violin player and passionate composer. It is nicknamed the "cannone (canon)" because it is so loud and has such a powerful sound. The Guarneri is an Italian national treasure; it is stored in a bank vault in Genoa and travels with an armed police escort. It was the first thing President Bush requested to see on his visit to Genoa for the G-8 Summit this year.
Says Carter, "Paganini's genius both technically and musically shaped the role of solo violin. To be included as the first jazz violinist among those masters who have played his Guarneri violin before me, is a great honor. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
Carter will be joined by her quintet: Werner "Vana" Gierig (piano), Mayra Casales (percussion), Chris Lightcap (bass), and Alvester Garnett (drums) for this concert, which will take place at 9:30pm.
Following this event, Carter will continue to work on material for her next Verve album. Her previous Verve releases include Rhythms of the Heart, which was named one of 1998’s Ten Best Records by Time Magazine, 2000’s acclaimed Motor City Moments, and this year’s Freefall, a duet with pianist Kenny Barron.