Audience pick: Older violin, sweeter music?

COLLEGE STATION - Call it a reality concert.

There's a highfalutin $4 million 1720 Rochester Stradivarius violin that some would lift their noses flutter their eyes and tell you can not be beat.

Then there's a infant instrument. Crafted in six weeks this year, its maker will emphatically pronounce with piercing eyes, the newbie violin will play fairly well against the master.

You decide. Age-old art and modern science will square off here at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Bush Library Auditorium in a free public comparison concert that also will mark the retirement of Texas A&M University biochemist and violin researcher Dr. Joseph Nagyvary.

His critics may sigh in relief over the latter, but the researcher quickly reveals plans to continue to make his Nagyvarius violins well into retirement.

"Antonio Stradivari was at his best in his 70s and 80s," Hungarian-born Nagyvary said. "I'm 69, so perhaps I'm entering the same stage of life."

But first, the supreme test in a challenge to Nagyvary from violin dealers and a German documentary crew producing a film about the famed 18th century violin maker Antonio Stradivari.

"What it comes down to is, can a brand-new violin completed in July with less than 100 playing hours stand up to The Rochester Stradivarius made in 1720 and with more than 30,000 playing hours in the hands of great artists," Nagyvary said. "I have accepted the formal challenge."

Concert-goers will get to decide which is the Stradivarius while 10 selections are played behind a screen on stage. The dueling violins will be played by teenaged performer Dalibor Karvay from Vienna, Austria, who has played the Stradivarius but will have one day to get accustomed to the new violin.

At the concert's intermission, the true Stradivarius will be revealed and a tally made to determine how many picked the violins correctly. After a brief discussion, se

Contact: Kathleen Phillips
Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications

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