Elizabeth Pitcairn and her internationally famous Red Mendelssohn Stradivarius violin made in 1720 return to perform with the Susanville Symphony Orchestra March 8 and 10 at the United Methodist Church. Only about 600 Stradivarius violins survive today. File photos

The Red Violin returns to Susanville this weekend

Once again, Lassen County classical music lovers have an opportunity to enjoy the sounds made by one of the world’s most valuable and unique violins this week as Elizabeth Pitcairn and her 1720 Mendelssohn Red Stradivarius violin return to Susanville for two performances with the symphony and a special, intimate benefit performance at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26 at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Raymond White. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Presale tickets for this intimate event are available at Axia Home Loans.

Pitcairn and the Red Violin also will perform with the symphony at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28 and at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29 at the Assembly of God Church on Richmond Road.

According to Pitcairn’s website, the historic violin was crafted in 1720 by Antonio Stradivarius, of Cremona, Italy. Shortly after its creation, the instrument vanished; no one knows where or to whom the violin belonged for more than 200 years — spawning numerous historians, writers, journalists and critics, as well as Canadian filmmaker, Francois Girard, to speculate on the violin’s mysterious history. Girard’s imaginative speculations became the basis for his 1999 Academy Award-winning film “The Red Violin.”

Ben Wade, conductor and artistic director of the symphony, said the performance includes the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto to celebrate the instrument’s 300th birthday.

Wade said there’s a huge mystery surrounding the Stradivarius violins.

“People have spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to recreate this magical era of violin making, and they’ve not been able to replicate it,” Wade said. “There is no sound like a Stradivarius. It carries over the orchestra, it’s like a laser beam to the back of the room. The tone quality is rich and full, and it’s very sensitve to the player the responsiveness of the Stradivariuses is incredible.”

Students accompanied by an adult may attend Saturday’s concert for free. Tickets are available at Axia Home Loans and Margie’s Book Nook.

For more information, call 310-8111 or visit susanvillesymphony. com.