Fiddling and fencing with Thirteen Strings

Ottawa Citizen
March 11, 2004 Thursday Final Edition

Fiddling and fencing with Thirteen Strings

by Steven Mazey

How often do you get to see a prodigiously talented violin soloist
and a fencing demonstration in period costume, all in one evening?

That’s what audiences will be treated to tomorrow night when
violinist Jessica Linnebach joins chamber orchestra Thirteen Strings
and conductor Jean-Francois Rivest for pieces by Tartini and Armenian
composer Alexander Arutiunian.

The orchestra will also perform 17th-century composer Heinrich
Biber’s Battalia, which was inspired by a swordfight. That’s where
the fencing comes in. Rivest will give a free pre-concert talk about
the piece at 7 p.m., with demonstrations by members of the University
of Ottawa Excalibur Fencing Club, in costume.

Linnebach, a native of Edmonton, performed as a soloist with the
National Arts Centre Orchestra when she was 17, on the tour of Israel
and Europe in 2000. Tomorrow, she will perform Arutiunian’s Concerto
for Violin and String Orchestra and Tartini’s Sonata in G minor for
Violin and Strings, “Devil’s Trill.”

It’s Linnebach’s first performance of the Arutunian piece, which she
describes as “very melodious and rich.”

She first performed the Tartini when she was 11, and says “it is very
exciting and dramatic, and it really is like a Devil’s Trill. The
most difficult aspect of the piece is endurance and being able to
keep the energy all the way through. I’m excited to have the
opportunity to play it again.”

Linnebach was accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music in
Philadelphia at the age of 10, and is one of the youngest bachelor of
music graduates in the 75-year history of the school. Last September,
the Canada Council for the Arts’ Instrument Bank awarded her a
three-year loan of a Bell Giovanni Tononi violin from about 1700.

“I have fallen in love with it. It has a rich and full sound and it
has been an absolute joy for me to play,” says Linnebach, who has
been performing as a member of the NACO this season.

The concert starts at 8 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Church, Kent Street at
Wellington. Tickets, at $25 general, $20 seniors, and $5 for
students, will be at the door.

Thirteen Strings will also perform Sunday as part of the Concerts
Cumberland series, joined by two talented Ottawa students.

Violinist Yolanda Bruno, 14, and pianist Nina He, 16, won the fourth
annual Capital Concerto Competition, organized by Concerts Cumberland
to give students the chance to work with a professional orchestra.

At Orleans United Church, 1111 Orleans Blvd., Bruno will perform an
excerpt from a Locatelli concerto and Nina He will perform an excerpt
from Bach’s Concerto in F minor. The students receive prizes of $500
and $300 from sponsor RBC Investments.

The concert includes music by Haydn and a repeat of the Biber piece.
The talk and the fencing demonstration start at 7:10 p.m., followed
by the concert at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, $20 for adults, $16 for seniors,
$5 for students, will be at the door.