Il Cannone in Columbus: A Historic Event

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While I was sitting next to my daughter in the sold out Ohio Theatre, I knew that this was a special evening but had no idea exactly how big of a deal it truly was.

Il Cannone (The Cannon) is a 276 year old violin named by it’s former owner, famed Italian composer and violinist, Niccolo Paganini.  When Paganini passed in 1840, he left the violin to the city of Genoa, Italy.

In all this time, Il Cannone has been to the U.S. a total of only three times.  Once to San Francisco, the furthest the violin has ever traveled, in 1999 and once to New York City in 2003.  And now, an event 4 years in the making, Il Cannone is here in our great city as a result of the sister city relationship Columbus has with Genoa.

Paganini, aka The Devil’s Violinist, named the violin Il Cannone because of it’s unique and powerful sound which was so amazingly demonstrated by Columbus Symphony‘s own Joanna Frankel.

Before the performance began, there was a passing of the violin ceremony from Genoa’s Mayor Marco Bucci to Frankel. When the case was opened to reveal Il Cannone, there was a quiet gasp in awe amongst the sold out crowd.  The violin was passed.  When Frankel lifted the violin to her shoulder the anticipation was palpable.  When she pulled the bow across the strings every hair on my body stood up and my eyes filled with tears.

I’m not a regular at the symphony, but have seen enough performances to know that what we were witnessing was quite possibly the most breathtaking musical performance I would ever see and hear in my life.

There are no words to describe Frankel’s performance.  The sound of the instrument itself was without a doubt as special and powerful as I had read.  But I get teared up just thinking about the way this woman played.  She is a bona fide rock star and the Columbus Symphony’s performance as a whole was transcendent.

I was honestly hoping for more of a reaction from my 9 year old daughter.  She’s been playing the viola for two years and loves history.  I thought this would be a great experience for her, but she was seemingly unimpressed. She did, however, love the guac and tacos we got at Condado before the performance so girls’ night wasn’t at complete failure.

We are so lucky to live in a city where we can be a part of something so special and historical on a random Wednesday evening.  Thank you so much to Columbus City Councilmember Priscilla Tyson and everyone who made this possible.

Il Cannone can be viewed through tomorrow (Sunday, May 19, 2019) at the Columbus Museum of Art.