I equate it like going on a blind date and then you’re suddenly in a three year marriage with this instrument.
—Kerry DuWors, musician
For the fourth time, violinist Kerry DuWors has been handed an incredibly expensive instrument. In this case, it's a 1902 Enrico Rocca violin worth about $225,000 that she'll keep for the next three years.
DuWors got the loaned instrument from the Canada Council Instrument Bank
, which holds competitions to give musicians access to their collection. DuWors has been an assistant professor of violin at Brandon University
since 2003, which is the same year she won the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition, or Egré
. From that win, she was invited to apply for the loan program for the first time.
The 1902 Enrico Rocca violin DuWors will keep for the next three years. (Canada Council for the Arts / Donna Santos Photo & Video)
But just being invited to apply for a loan is no guarantee, this year there were 28 musicians who auditioned for one of 17 available instruments. Several of them, the Stradivari
violins and cello and Guarneri del Gesù
violin, are worth millions of dollars. Performers are scored, and their rankings determine who gets first pick of the available instruments.
For DuWors, it's a familiar process and this is the fourth time she been successful in the competition. "I think it's a record, the four-peat. It's been a part of my life for the past nine years and I have three more to go," she said.
This year, she opted to return to the first violin she selected nine years ago, a selection that came with some familiarity. "It's very interesting because each instrument has its own personality. I equate it like going on a blind date and then you're suddenly in a three year marriage with this instrument," she said. "With this one, it certainly felt like I was coming home, it just feels right."
DuWors says the loan program exists because works of art like these instruments were not meant to be kept behind glass, but need to vibrate and breathe. And while the responsibility was an adjustment at first, she's grown accustomed to it over the years.
"I am used to it, I take my instrument everywhere, even if I have to go shopping I take it with me. At a certain point you stop thinking about the dollar value cause it's worth more than that. It's like one of those Mastercard priceless commercials," DuWors said with a laugh.