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“Instrument of the devil,” legendary violin comes to Columbus

Laura Dachenbach

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He was so good that people believed he had sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his virtuosic talents. In fact, for 36 years after his death, his body was denied burial, so convinced was the general public that Niccolo Paganini (1782-1840) was in league with Satan. The violinist was known for composing works of such extraordinary difficulty that only he could play them. His odd appearance, frequent illnesses, and many vices only reinforced Paganini’s diabolical reputation.

Paganini began playing the violin at the age of seven. When he was 15, he sold his expensive Amati violin to pay off a gambling debt. An amateur violinist and businessman gifted Paganini with a neglected Guarneri Del Gesu violin, constructed in 1743. The young musician named the instrument “Il Cannone” (the cannon) for its unparalleled powerful and resonant sound and played it for the rest of his life. Today the violin is housed at the Musei di Strada Nuova, Palazzo Doria-Tursi in Genoa, Italy, the city where its owner was born.

The now-276-year-old violin continues to enthrall audiences. It has been played by Shlomo Mintz, Joshua Bell, jazz violinist Regina Carter, and the yearly winner of each Premio Paganini contest.

This spring, the Devil’s Violin will seduce the modest Midwest right here in Columbus.

For a week in May, Il Cannone will be exhibited at the Columbus Museum of Art. On Wednesday of that week, it will be played in concert with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Rossen Milanov. Selections for the concert include the overture to Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, the Pas de action from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, the meditation from Thaïs by Massenet, and works composed by Paganini himself.

Sameen Dadfar, Program Manager with Greater Columbus Sister Cities International has been working on Il Cannone as a cultural project for over two years, supported by Columbus City Council.

“It all started in 2015. Councilmember [Priscilla] Tyson led a delegation of young professionals to Genoa that year, and among the many activities they did, they got to see the violin be performed.” A discussion began about whether the violin could be traveled to Columbus as part of a sister city relationship with Genoa. The initial answer was a firm no.

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“The violin very rarely leaves Genoa. It’s only been [in the US] in New York and San Francisco before. So Columbus is kind of something that we had to work towards,” explained Dadfar. “We’re working very closely with the Columbus Museum of Art and the Columbus Symphony so that we can make sure the violin is taken care of.”

In addition to the exhibition and concert, the film Strad Style will be showcased at the Gateway Film Center. A winner at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, Strad Style is a documentary of Columbus native Daniel Houck who, through the medium of YouTube videos, becomes a self-taught violin maker on a quest to craft a concert-level replica of Il Cannone. Much of the story takes place in Houck’s run-down Ohio farmhouse. Houck will be available for a talkback after the showing.

Because of its history with a most unusual owner, Il Cannone has acquired an almost mystical presence in the world of music. Today many speculate Paganini had Marfan syndrome, a connective tissue disorder which was responsible for his long, thin fingers, and unusually flexible joints, endowing him with the ability to perform violin techniques thought physically impossible, and therefore, the product of the Devil’s powers. But the violin’s witching power lies in more than its history. Like a fine wine, Il Cannone has improved with time. 

“As opposed to modern-day instruments, the biggest difference is that the Il Cannone has had hundreds of years to open up. The wood ages, becomes more complex, softens, etc.,” explained CSO Concertmaster Joanna Frankel, who will play Il Cannone in concert. “The sound that players produce on this instrument affects the structure and timbre, allowing the wood to mold over the years to sound  and time.”

What has taken years to plan across two continents will culminate in just a brief time of rehearsal and performance for Frankel. 

“I will have only limited minutes to practice on this instrument, to unlock its mysteries and ‘wake it up’ so to speak, as it is mostly these days on view in a glass case at Genoa’s Palazzo Tursi. I’m excited for the challenge, and also extremely humbled to become one of the few violinists in history to perform on this instrument.”

Il Cannone will be on display at the Columbus Museum of Art from May 10th to May 19th. See columbusmuseum.org for details. The violin will be played in concert on May 15th at the Ohio Theatre. See columbussymphony.com. 

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Hobbies 101: Going green with plant arranging

Laura Dachenbach

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Welcome to a series of articles to help you find your next hobby. Hobbies give us something to be passionate about, a creative outlet, and an alternative way to be productive. So stick around. Better well-being is just a lazy afternoon away.

Go green! Literally. House plants. Office plants. Plantscaping. Plants help us connect with the nature we too often leave outside, keep us creative, and generally make us happier people. So even if you’re stuck in a cubicle all day, a plant or two can help you feel more alive. At the very least, it’ll make your surroundings look better, and might just clean the air a bit.

Founded by a graphic design, and a landscaper, Planthrophy offers workshops and events to help you build a succulent garden, a moss wall, a living wall, or another plant-related creative decor project. Imagine that inspirational wall hanging you saw, now in a vibrant, earthy green. Workshops can be scheduled as private or team-building events.

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I know what you’re thinking. Ugh. Something to take care of. But the plants are low-maintenance, or in the case of moss walls, zero maintenance—nothing to lose, and a little bit of skill and improved well-being to show for it.

The Franklin Park Conservatory also keeps a running calendar of events and classes, including DIY terrariums and other plant projects. You can even learn the mysteries of bonsai, the art of the miniature tree. Bonsai, by the way, represents a complete aesthetic. 

Face it. You spend a lot of time indoors. Make those surroundings work for you.

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Go chasing these 4 beautiful waterfalls around Columbus

614now

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TLC didn’t advise it, but we say go, go chasing waterfalls! Especially these four beauties around Columbus.

Some are for taking a dip in, some are for admiring from a distance, but all are to enjoy the natural beauty that exists just outside our bustling city.

Hayden Run Falls | 4326 Hayden Run Rd., Columbus, OH 43017

This hidden gem in Dublin is just off the boardwalk, giving you optimal time to snap the obligatory selfie and bask in nature’s bounty. Take a swim if you feel so inclined!
But the best part may just be the parking lot *cue choir of angels*

Always an adventure

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Indian Run Falls | 700 Shawan Falls Dr., Dublin, OH 43017

Waterfall jumping is prohibited but we’re just going to leave these photos of people doing just that here….

This old Wyandot tribe ground can be hiked in about 30 minutes.

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Glen Echo Park | 510 Cliffside Dr., Columbus, OH 43202

If you’re not looking close enough, you could miss this park entirely. This serene plot at the end of N Fourth St. beholds an old bridge, picnic tables, and a lovely little waterfall.

Venture a little further down the paved trail and admire the Ohio birds Mural covering the walls of a bridge’s underbelly.

🌿🐶🌊 #beagle #summertime #Columbus

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Untitled (Collection of Headless Birds), 2017

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Not too bad for 5 minutes from the Hotel room. #parkchillen

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Inniswood Metro Gardens| 940 S Hempstead Rd., Westerville, OH 43081

Not only is the waterfall at Inniswood Metro Gardens 10/10 Instagram-worthy, but the park as a whole is wildly photogenic. Besides snappin’ pics, enjoy the lush green grass, seating options, and blossoming foliage.

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Gallery Space: Addison Jones

Mitch Hooper

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For some, the mistakes in the artistic process can be jarring and even derailing. Perfection is a must, and execution is everything. But for others, it’s finding the beauty in these mistakes and flaws. Life doesn’t always present itself with the perfect opportunity, and sometimes you have to make your own. It’s this philosophy that photographer and mixed media artist Addison Jones lives by to create her art.

Jones’ process to creation is very much a go-with-the- ow style, and some of her creations quite literally scream that as the phrase “fuck it” is occasionally written across her art. Don’t get this rebel yell twisted,

Photos: Brian Kaiser

though. What Jones does to create art is a multifaceted process that she does all by hand. It’s a labor of love where pieces will have hours of work poured into them until she feels like it’s finally finished. From the initial photoshoot all the way down to screen printing the paintings, Jones has found a way to work within her own restrictions and even be more efficient with her time. After all, this painting her portraits project started while she had down time waiting for her photos to import to her computer. (614) spent some time with Jones to unlock the secrets of her serendipitous artistry.

614): IS THIS YOUR PRIMARY JOB, SIDE GIG, OR HOBBY? HOW DID IT COME TO BE?

AJ: My boyfriend of six years and I broke up and I wanted a photography studio [in] downtown [Delaware]. I found one that was freaking awesome in an old abandoned building: no running water, third floor, it was an old ballroom so it was 4,000 square feet and SO awesome inside. Seemed amazing for me. Who needs running water anyways? With all that space I was able to have my photography studio and have my paintings out 24/7. I kind of got into a groove where I would edit, and while it was exporting I would paint, and then while that was drying I would edit again […]. I didn’t know that having proper space would bring me to do art more, but it did. I think I grew more as an artist within those two years than I had in the five years prior.

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR GO-WITH- THE-FLOW APPROACH TO ART?

I come from a graphic design background. When I have way too many options I tend to get completely overwhelmed, but when I am under restriction, I think that gets my mind moving. I like to think of myself as a problem solver, so having guidelines actually makes me more creative. I do not do photography to get images to paint with. I do photography for my photography expression and if an image sticks out to me, I use it for my art. I feel like that is when it happens naturally […]. I like

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to think of myself as an experimental artist where I am always trying to play with new techniques, different mediums, and just mess around with it. Due to that nature, I mess around quite a lot and mess up even harder. Most of the time I am like “Well, this is a piece of shit,” and don’t care if I mess up, so then I do something and I like it and then I’m like, “I love this piece.” It’s like that artist meme and it hits home so hard: This sucks, I suck; this is awesome, I am awesome.

CAN YOU EXPLAIN HOW YOU STARTED USING SCREEN PRINTING AS A MEANS TO ENHANCE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY ART?

I played with resin art a while ago and what I loved and hated about it was the fact that you couldn’t control it. I have so much control with what I do that I wanted to just let go. That also drove me bonkers but every time would lead to a different result. I one day was like, “Maybe I should screen on this because it would be a sweet background.” I didn’t know how to screen at that point so I made some terrible homemade thing and kind of figured it out. I found some image on the internet—not even thinking about using my own—and made a screen. I had just finished a photoshoot with one of my favorite models and was like, “Wow, that was stupid, Addison, use your own.”

WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO TRANSFORM A PHOTO INTO A MIXED MEDIA CREATION?

I edit and do a photoshoot for the photoshoot, not for the art. If there is an image that has the correct lighting that I want with the correct mood, that is when I decide to use it as a screen. If it doesn’t have it, I just don’t use it. I don’t want to control a photoshoot for the sake of my screens, I want it for the photography and I want it to just happen naturally. I feel like when it is forced is when it doesn’t work.

YOUR ARTWORK OFTEN GOES THROUGH MANY TRANSFORMATIONS. CAN YOU EXPLAIN THIS PROCESS?

Oh does it! I would like to say that I am constantly experimenting. The problem with experimenting on things so much is that there are a TON of ugly/fuck up stages […]. I think the biggest thing is that most people— me included—are scared to do something because they don’t want to mess it up. I have now changed my mindset into “If I mess it up, I will x it.” There are also a lot of times where I am not sure where to go next. So I just put it to the side, start something new and see if it just comes to me. If it doesn’t, I hang it in my living room until I can figure out what else it needs.

To view more of Addison Jones’ work, go to addisonjonesphotography.com.

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