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The Red Violin Festival, Patron Lord Menuhin, consultant Charles Beare, was created by its artistic director, the violinist Madeleine Mitchell, as a celebration of the violin across the arts. The first festival in Cardiff in October 1997 was a huge success.
The title arose from the "Le Violin Rouge" paintings of Dufy and Pougny and the international festival included:
The Russian State Symphony Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, violinists Ivry Gitlis, Julian Rachlin, Madeleine Mitchell, Maxim Fedotov, Hardanger fiddle from Norway, folk fiddle from Wales and Cape Bretton fiddle form Canada's Prince Edward Island. There was jazz violin, films, lectures including the violin in Art by George Melly, Professor R. Stowell on the Russian Virtuoso tradition, Professor Robert Pascall on Brahms and Joachim and Professor B. Richardson on violin acoustics, the world premiere of a fanfare for four fiddles by John Hardy. Exhibitions included archive photos of Hardanger, Breton, Robin Stowell, Bernard Richardson, from the Royal College of Music and by violin craftsmen including perspex violins and a weekend of Baroque violin with students led by Catherine Mackintosh.
'The first British festival dedicated to the violin in all its manifestations. Radio 2 went to Cardiff and joined in the fun with a programme which included a conversation between Yehudi Menuhin and the organiser of the festival, the international concert soloist Madeleine Mitchell.'
Radio 4 Pick of the Week
The Times Concert of the Week
'Madeleine Mitchell has never been satisfied with being a fine violinist; she has been a tireless pioneer of new music for more than a decade. She has put together a fascinating festival. Eclecticism rules.'
Helen Wallace - The Times
'Violinist Madeleine Mitchell has broken down some musical barriers in her time ... her latest scheme looks likely to give the capital a buzz ... impeccable credentials.'
Arts Editor, Western Mail
Helen Wallace in her nomination of Madeleine Mitchell for Creative Briton Award
'Innovative festival celebrating the violin in a kaleidoscope of guises across the arts.'
Events to Watch BBC Music Magazine
'A special fanfare for four violins performed at the festival's launch last night under the majestic dome of the National Museum in Cardiff.'
Front page photo Western Mail
'A unique celebration of the violin across a wide spectrum of music and the arts ... the very spirit of ertjoyment and creativity that was part of Mitchell's vision for this lively festival. Long may it continue to be a bringer of good things.'
'The essence of The Red Violin is enjoyment, communication and creativity, spearheaded by its vivacious and dynamic artistic director Madeleine Mitchell with Lord Menuhin as Patron, this festival has far reaching potential.'
School workshop with Ivry Gitlis and Mitchell: 'The children's faces summed up the spirit of the festival: interaction and spontaneity crossing all cultural and artistic boundaries.'
Editor Music Wales
'As the festival season draws to a close the best has been saved till last.'
What's On South Wales - Buzz
'Unique violin festival is a resounding success ... unanimous enthusiasm for making The Red Violin an ongoing festival.'
Royal College of Music News - Obbligato
'This excellent new event ... concert could have lasted all night'
South Wales Echo