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Violin Duel Delights Fans At Fundraiser

The showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor wasn’t the only historic fight taking place the last weekend of August. On Aug. 27, New West Symphony orchestra representatives and patrons of the arts gathered at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks to witness a duel between two violinists. “It was a masterful, virtuosic performance,” Natalia Staneva, executive director of the New West Symphony, said. The concert featured Vadim Gluzman and Philippe Quint, a pair of virtuosos who became friends while students at the Juilliard School and have since gone on to play with prestigious orchestras around the world. They were accompanied by pianist Angela Yoffe, Gluzman’s wife and recital partner. “Phillipe and Vadim are friends with very distinctive personalities and playing forms,” Staneva said. “They came together and did a phenomenal job that resulted in a lot of laughter and a good time for everyone involved.” The pre-season concert was sponsored by Jaguar Thousand Oaks and benefited New West Symphony’s “Adopt-a-Musician” program, in which patrons can “adopt” orchestra members through donations. Tickets were $1,000 and included a cocktail hour, dinner and the main event. Though the program was the first of its kind for New West Symphony, it will not be the last, Staneva said. “I’ve been taking phone calls from people who attended – they thought it was phenomenal,” she said. “We plan on making this a tradition.” The concert itself was structured as a competition between Gluzman and Quint, who showcased their talents in a back-and-forth “battle” of strings and suites. Quint, a two-time Grammy nominee who performed as a soloist with New West in 2012, is known for reimagining traditional works and rediscovering long-lost songs. Gluzman has been compared to Israeli violin sensation Itzhak Perlman, and has been featured with the London Symphony, the Berlin Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony. The musicians performed on a pair of violins crafted in the late 17th and early 18th centuries by the Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari. Only 512 such instruments remain in the world, Staneva said. To have two musicians performing on two Stradivaris at the same time made the performance an exceptional experience, she added. “It was truly a historical event,” she said. “It was like the eclipse, one of those rare moments. I knew we were part of something really special that day.” As for the champion of the duel, “we all agreed that the audience was the real winner,” Staneva said. – Helen Floersh

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