New play remembers a violinist and her Strad

Posted on: April 20, 2012

On Thursday’s (4/19) website of the Philadelphia Inquirer, David Patrick Stearns writes about a new play in New York City, The Morini Strad: “Even for sophisticated off-Broadway audiences, the title isn’t likely to ring any bells. But mention it to any of the older Philadelphia Orchestra violinists and they’ll snap to attention. The Morini Stradivarius still comes up in conversation some 15 years after it vanished while its owner, the great violinist Erica Morini, languished near death in a nearby Manhattan hospital, having kept the instrument under lock and key over her 19-year retirement. She died in 1995, at 91. Though characterized by playwright Willy Holtzman as a forgotten woman, Morini still has more than a cult following: Not only are her live performances being released for the first time on labels such as Arbiter and Audite, but an 11-CD set of her studio recordings titled ‘The Art of Erica Morini’ sells for $599 … She had a particularly consistent bond with longtime Philadelphia Orchestra music director Eugene Ormandy. … Once heard, she was not easily forgotten. … Morini was considered the equal of violinists who are now legendary. What the play deals with, only lightly, is why isn’t she, too, a legend?”

Posted April 20, 2012