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The Southwest Florida Symphony hosts ‘The Seasons: Vivaldi & Piazzolla’ at BIG ARTS

January 11, 2017
By ASHLEY GOODMAN ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Prolific violinist Timothy Chooi will make his first-ever Florida debut alongside piano and harpsichord player Alexandra Carlson at BIG ARTS' Schein Hall Thursday, Jan. 12 at 7:30 p.m.

During the concert, the pair will perform Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" and Piazzolla's "The Seasons of Buenos Aires." Chooi will be performing on a $5.5 million dollar Windsor-Weinstein violin that was made in 1717 by Antonio Stradavari. Noted violinist Leon Weinstein donated the violin to the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 1980 so that other musicians could have the opportunity to play it as well.

Chooi, who hails from Victoria, British Columbia, began playing violin at 3 years old. He developed an interest in playing after watching his older brother, Nikki, practice.

Article Photos

Violinist Timothy Chooi.


"When I was born, he was already playing, so in that sense, I think I kind of caught on to it. My parents showed me a video of me playing with chopsticks, trying to imitate him," Chooi said.

What attracts him to playing is the power that the small instrument possesses.

"I've always been drawn to the very high-pitched range of the violin. The violin has that range of pitches that really stand out and is able to lead an entire orchestra because it's so high. It always gets heard first," he said.

Chooi said that having the 1717 Stradavari violin on loan makes him look forward to practicing, which he does for four to six hours every day.

"It's this beautiful instrument. Both because of the craftsmanship, the maker and also that because it's an antique. It's a powerhouse to play on it," he said. "With these older instruments, especially the ones made by Stradavari, there's this mature sound to it. It's got that extra resonance and that rounder quality to it. It projects very well for an audience of 2,000 people."

Chooi is currently studying at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia under Ida Kavafin. He previously studied with Pinchas Zukerman and Patinka Kopec.

Chooi, 23, has already made his debut as soloist with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia, Malaysian Philharmonic, Santa Barbara Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Newfoundland Symphony and the Edmonton Symphony. He has performed as soloist with the Victoria Symphony, the Calgary Symphony Orchestra, National Orchestra of Costa Rica, Orchestre de Jeneusses de Montreal, Calgary Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra, Orford Academy Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Orchestras of Americas and the Moritzburg Symphony Orchestra.

He also has some pretty impressive awards under his belt. In 2015, he was the Bronze Medal Winner of the Michael Hill International Violin Competition, recipient of the 2015 Sylva Gelber Award and the Grand Prize Winner of the 2010 Montreal Symphony Award. He was also the winner of the 2013 Vadim Repin International Scholarship.

Following his performance in Sanibel, Chooi will be playing at the Southwest Florida Performing Arts Center in Bonita Springs Jan. 13. After that, he will be heading back to Canada to play in Calgary and Saskatoon.

Tickets for the performance at BIG ARTS are $39 each and can be purchased at



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