Violin virtuoso Elizabeth Pitcairn has earned a reputation as one of America’s most beloved soloists. The daughter of a Juilliard-trained cellist, she began her musical studies in Bucks County, Pennsylvania at age three and later developed with renowned teachers such as Robert Lipsett and Shmuel Ashkenasi.
She spent a portion of her youth in Southern California, where she performed alongside High Desert Chamber Music’s Executive Director Isabelle Senger in both the American Youth Symphony and the Young Musicians’ Foundation Debut Orchestra. Her New York solo debut was in 2000 at Alice Tully Hall with the New York String Orchestra.
When she was only 16, Pitcairn’s grandfather purchased the Red Mendelssohn Stradivarius of 1720 at Christie’s Auction in London. Said to be one of the best sounding of Stradivari’s remaining instruments, the violin’s whereabouts were unknown for two hundred years until its reappearance in Berlin in the 1930s.
This mysterious instrument’s 1990 auction inspired the Academy Award–winning film The Red Violin. Pitcairn is the first known musician to bring the instrument into recording studios and the great concert halls of the world.
Today Pitcairn resides in Los Angeles, California and regularly appears internationally in recital. Passionate about youth and education, she is president and artistic director of the Luzerne Music Center, which provides training for gifted young musicians in upstate New York. She believes strongly in philanthropy and is a frequent performer for such charitable events as the American Cancer Society, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Helping Hands and Hearts Foundation and the Nakashima Foundation for Peace.
High Desert Chamber Music and the Tower Theatre are working in conjunction this fall to present a screening of The Red Violin on September 30. The following week is High Desert Chamber Music’s tenth Anniversary season opening night featuring Elizabeth Pitcairn and the Red Mendelssohn Stradivarius on October 7 at the Tower Theatre.