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Haunted Red Violin croons for Houston classical music buffs — woo woo sorcery included

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0380 Elizabeth Pitcairn at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014
Elizabeth Pitcairn demonstrating her 1720 Red Mendelssohn Stradivarius. Photo by Trish Badger
0286 Linda Ayus, from left, Zully Lufscha, Dora Kudisch and Margrit Young at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014
Linda Ayus, from left, Zully Lufscha, Dora Kudisch and Margrit Young. Photo by Trish Badger
0289 Polly Schott, from left, Jennifer Macia, Vytas and Elaine Petrulis and Kelly Fischer at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014
Polly Schott, from left, Jennifer Macia, Vytas and Elaine Petrulis and Kelly Fischer. Photo by Trish Badger
0284 Daniel Musher, from left, Lucile Agaisse and Allen Claman at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014
Daniel Musher, from left, Lucile Agaisse and Allen Claman. Photo by Trish Badger
0276 Lucile Agaisse, from left, NAMES at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014
Lucile Agaisse, from left, and Greg and Bonnie Moore, Walter Hittelman and Jeanne Bauer. Photo by Trish Badger
0274 Elaine Petrulis, left, and Kelly Fischer at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014
Elaine Petrulis, left, and Kelly Fischer. Photo by Trish Badger
0273 Bobbie Newman, from left, Lucile Agaisse and Deirdre Spann at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014
Bobbie Newman, from left, Lucile Agaisse and Deirdre Spann. Photo by Trish Badger
0267 Jacob and Alana Bergfield at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014
Jacob and Alana Bergfield. Photo by Trish Badger
0264 Esteban Lartigue and Mirna Sanchez at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014
Esteban Lartigue and Mirna Sanchez. Photo by Trish Badger
0290 NAMES at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014
Ann Fairbanks and Curtis W. Robinson. Photo by Trish Badger
0315 Elizabeth Pitcairn at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014
Elizabeth Pitcairn in performance. Photo by Trish Badger
0303 H'orderves at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014
The refreshments were themed after the violin's presumed travels. Photo by Trish Badger
0305 Fruit tarts at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014
Fruit tarts and desserts. Photo by Trish Badger
0380 Elizabeth Pitcairn at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014
0286 Linda Ayus, from left, Zully Lufscha, Dora Kudisch and Margrit Young at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014
0289 Polly Schott, from left, Jennifer Macia, Vytas and Elaine Petrulis and Kelly Fischer at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014
0284 Daniel Musher, from left, Lucile Agaisse and Allen Claman at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014
0276 Lucile Agaisse, from left, NAMES at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014
0274 Elaine Petrulis, left, and Kelly Fischer at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014
0273 Bobbie Newman, from left, Lucile Agaisse and Deirdre Spann at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014
0267 Jacob and Alana Bergfield at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014
0264 Esteban Lartigue and Mirna Sanchez at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014
0290 NAMES at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014
0315 Elizabeth Pitcairn at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014
0303 H'orderves at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014
0305 Fruit tarts at Houston Friends of Chamber Music Red Violin event March 2014

The Red Violin — two thumbs up, agree? We are sure everyone is aware that the film wasn't 100 percent factual. It couldn't be. What happened between the storied disappearance of the real 1720 Red Mendelssohn Stradivarius and its whereabouts for more than two centuries has roused the most fantastical of speculations.

Virtuoso fiddler Elizabeth Pitcairn, who acquired the instrument at a 1990 Christie's auction for $1.7 million thanks to the generosity of her grandfather, calls her priceless possession Felix. It's definitely a man, but she's certain that the Strad is haunted by the spirit of Lilli Mendelssohn, an owner who, alongside her husband, died in a tragic car accident in 1928 while shopping for a new home.

And how does one care for such a melodious box? Pitcairn jokes that her violin repair expert has to perform woo woo sorcery to fine tune it for performance. We wouldn't want Lilli ticked off, now would we.

 And how does one care for such a melodious box? Pitcairn jokes that her violin repair expert has to perform woo woo sorcery to fine tune it for performance.

Crafted from maple wood sourced from a Bosnian forest, this jewel was the centerpiece of a Chamber Music Houston salon in a party room in the Bayou Bend Towers, where more than 125 music buffs were charmed by the instrument's exquisite resonance and Pitcairn's fearless flair. The Thursday musicale celebrated the art presenter's recent rebrand that saw its name change from Houston Friends of Chamber Music.

What seemed as if it were an off-the-cuff performance that included Kreisler's Praeludium and Allegro, Gershwin's It Ain't Necessarily So, Heifetz's arrangement of Grigoras Dinicu's Hora Staccato and the Theme from Schinler's List was received with ohs and ahs from the audience, transfixed by the fabled prestige of the guest of honor.

As a nod to the film, the refreshments were themed after the violin's presumed travels. A beer-caramelized onion tart for Vienna, apple blue cheese crostinis for Oxford, spring rolls for Shanghai and hill country fried chicken for its current home in the United States — darling idea indeed.

Enjoying the intimate fundraiser chaired by Mary Ann Shetzer with support from Bobbie and Arthur Newman and underwritten by Larissa Poindexter were Polly Schott, Jennifer Macia, Elaine and Vytas Petrulis, Kelly Fischer, Daniel Musher, Lucile Agaisse, Allen Claman, Deirdre Spann, Alana and Jacob Bergfield and Chamber Music Houston president Curtis Robinson.

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