Arts and Entertainment

International artist returns to Langley with red violin

World renowned violinist Elizabeth Pitcairn is the guest soloist at Saratoga Chamber Orchestra’s upcoming concert at South Whidbey High School. - Christian Steiner photo
World renowned violinist Elizabeth Pitcairn is the guest soloist at Saratoga Chamber Orchestra’s upcoming concert at South Whidbey High School.
— image credit: Christian Steiner photo

It is called “The Red Mendelssohn” because of a unique red stripe on its top right side. It is also one of the most famous violins in the world.

Although it was created in 1721, its sound is still achingly beautiful when its current owner, Elizabeth Pitcairn, plays it, and Whidbey audiences can hear her on Sunday.

Pitcairn returns to Whidbey Island as featured guest soloist with the Saratoga Chamber Orchestra under the artistic direction of conductor Legh W. Burns for a special gala concert at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 15 in the auditorium at South Whidbey High School.

Pitcairn will perform the popular Mendelssohn “Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64,” as well as virtuosic violin pieces, “Zigeurnerewiesen” by Pablo de Saratsate and Fritz Kreisler’s “Praeludium and Allegro.” Also on the program is Vivaldi’s “Concerto for Two Violins in A Minor” featuring Pitcairn and Gloria Ferry-Brennan, a Saratoga Chamber Orchestra Student Mentor program participant who recently won first place at the Music Teachers National Association Junior String Competition in Milwaukee, Wis.

“It’s an honor and privilege to welcome Elizabeth back to Whidbey Island,” Burns said.

“My wife and I had just moved to the island in 2007, when she first appeared. It was hearing her and the orchestra that accompanied her that gave me the idea of establishing a season long schedule for our orchestra. So, if you support the Saratoga Chamber Orchestra, much of the credit goes to her, and to Michael Nutt, whose vision brought her here.”

Burns is excited by the pairing of Pitcairn with Ferry-Brennan.

“It will be one of those ‘I remember when’ moments, as you follow the ascending artistic stars of Elizabeth Pitcairn and Gloria Ferry-Brennan,” he added, “a chance of a lifetime.”

The program will open with the “Overture to Egmont,” by Ludwig van Beethoven, and include the world premiere of a piece by the orchestra’s timpanist Kit Mills of Oak Harbor.

General Admission tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for seniors/military. Students 18 and younger are admitted free and those younger than 14 must be accompanied by a paying adult. Tickets are available in Langley at Moonraker Books, in Freeland at the Bookbay, in Coupeville at Bayleaf and in Oak Harbor at Bayleaf and ClickMusic. Cash/check and MC/V/Discover are all accepted at the door. A limited number of $50 “premium” seating tickets are available for purchase at

For additional information, visit the website at

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