By Sue Pascoe
Violinist Daniel Shindarov, 93, delighted 50 or so people when he gave a private concert in the home of local music teacher Natasha Gevorkyan on December 10.
“He doesn’t mind playing in a small place, when he knows people love hearing him,” said Shindarov’s wife, Sofia.
The internationally renowned virtuoso, born in Odessa, was the concertmaster of the Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre Orchestra in Moscow before leaving the USSR in 1975.
After arriving in the United States, Shindarov was the concertmaster of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and performed with the Master Symphony Orchestra and the Seattle Symphony.
Last year he played the Beverly Hills Music Festival and the Montecito Music Festival, where he was called “a prestigious gift to the festival.”
His playing has been described by critics as “Spontaneous displays of astonishing virtuosity, bravura, stylish musicality and incomparable playing!” and “A master of all sorts of technical violinistic challenges, including double-stops, flying staccato passages, and difficult left hand pizzicati while simultaneously bowing with the right.”
Shindarov’s Palisades program included “Fantasie Brillante” (Romance from the opera Otello by Rossini) by Heinrich Ernst, “Romance” by Reinhold Glier, “Four Preludes” by Dmitri Shostakovich, “Rondo” by Henri Vieuxtemps and “Mazurka” and “Polonez” by Henryk Wieniawski.
After the intermission, songs included “La Capricciosa” by Ferdinand Ries; the “Casta Diva” Aria from Bellini’s opera Norma, arrangement by M. Hauser, and “Concert-Fantasy” from the opera Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin.
Shindarov played a 1742 Guarneri violin, loaned by Dr. William Sloan, who also owns a 1714 Stradivarius.
In a 2015 article (“World-Class Instruments in Claremont”) in the Claremont Courier, the two instruments are called priceless and each represents the pinnacle of violin making. The article noted:
“Born in 1644 in Cremona, Italy, Antonio Stradivari made violins marked by their rich sound and ornate carving until his death at age 93. An estimated 500 Strads are around today.
“Giuseppe Guarneri was born in Cremona in 1666 and only lived to be 46. During his lifetime, he crafted a slew of violins whose quality rivals and whose rarity exceeds those of the Strads.
Said Dr. Sloan in the article, “The Stradivarius is a finesse instrument, but it can sing you into heaven. The Guarneri is more aggressive. It works better in orchestras and big halls. You have to be a master to play it. You need to have a magical touch.’”
Why would Sloan loan the Guarneri? “Violins are made to be played,” he told the Courier writer. “Many people put them in banks and vaults, but I like them to be played by people and touched by people.”
The News inquired how Gevorkyan, a much-beloved music teacher, wooed Shindarov to play in the Palisades.
According to his wife Sofia, “It is a tradition. They know each other for 25 years.” Gevorkyan was born and raised in Russia and received her music education at the College of Music in Sukhumi by the Black Sea. She migrated to the U.S. in 1986 and met Shindarov.
Since moving to Pacific Palisades, Gevorkyan has hosted a concert/birthday party for Shindarov at her home every year.
She teaches adults and children of all levels and abilities (including a mommy- and-me class), but specializes in introducing children, some as young as 12 months, to a wide variety of musical instruments.
Gevorkyan has three adult children, Luiza, Robert and Michael.
For more information, visit natashasmusicstudio.com.