‘The Red Violin’ is as classic as the music it plays 1

Barbara Podgurski, left, Elizabeth Pitcairn and Gjiberta Lukaj — and Pitcairn’s world-famous Red Mendelssohn Stradivarius — will entertain classical concert-goers in Forest Hills on Nov. 13.

Like many Queens arts organizations, Musica Reginae wanted to make a bit of a splash as it came out of the pandemic.

The group appears to be well on its way with its Nov. 13 recital titled “The Red Violin.”

The performance at The Church-in-the-Gardens in Forest Hills will feature pianist Barbara Podgurski of Queens; her regular collaborator, violinist Elizabeth Pitcairn; and guest performer Gjiberta Lukaj, an award-winning cellist from Albania who now makes her home in New York. Her website, Gjiberta.com, quotes the president of Abania as calling her one of the 100 most influential Albanian Americans.

Also featured, of course, will be Pitcairn’s famed “Red Mendelssohn” Stradivarius, which was created in 1720 — 301 years ago. It has been in her family since it was purchased by her grandfather in an auction in London when Pitcairn was a teenager.

“We wanted to have a really great season to re-emerge on the scene,” Podgurski, the group‘s executive and artistic director, said Monday. “... We’ll be having a number of artists coming to join us this season who don’t normally play a lot in New York City, or at least not in this part of the city.”

As for the Red Mendelssohn?

“It has a unique sound,” Podgurski said. “When you hear a very fine violin, you know it.”

Podgurski got her start with the group as a student 22 years ago when it was formed. Lukaj will be performing with the group for the first time in what actually will be a pair of concerts.

“The first one, at 4 p.m., will be a free children’s concert, and at 7:30 we’ll have the regular concert for which you have to purchase a ticket,” Podgurski said.

The children’s concert will be less formal and will allow the youngsters to interact with the artists. “They can be themselves,” Podgurski said.

The main event will feature more than a dozen selections in a combination that includes classical, new classical and some jazz. She and Pitcairn drew up the program.

She said a Mendelssohn trio for the piano is a famous and large work that she has performed often. A sonata for the piano and violin by Edward Elgar and a trio of preludes by George Gershwin — the latter of which she transcribed for the violin — are not performed much in public for various reasons.

“The Elgar sonata is quite beautiful ... All are quite difficult. The Elgar is not really in the mainstream, although it should be. I’ve never heard it in concert, and I’ve been around awhile.”

In-person tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students. They also can be purchased in advance online at musicareginae.org or by going to eventbrite.com and typing in “red violin.” Tickets also can be reserved by calling (718) 894-2178. A Zoom link also can be purchased on Musica Reginae‘s website.

The Church-in-the-Gardens is located at 50 Ascan Ave. in Forest Hills. The organizers will be abiding by New York City’s Covid-19 guidelines, with all in-person attendees required to show proof of at least one vaccination shot.

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