A 300-year-old piece of musical history worth an estimated $16 million will make an appearance in Calgary tonight at the masterful hands of "the man of the Stradivari."

Maestro Matteo Fedeli will play the "ex Bazzini-De Vito" Stradivarius violin at the Rozsa Centre tonight as part of his "Stradivarius for the People" project, which aims to bring the music of the Stradivarius to people of all backgrounds.

"When I play, I enter into another world because of the real magic around this violin," said Fedeli, who earned his nickname by being the only person in the world to have performed on 25 of the 60 remaining playable Stradivari violins. 

"The mysteries of Stradivari, the people that played this wonderful violin, the trips of this instrument in the world — it's a special, special instrument."

Stradivarius case

Special attention must be paid to the humidity of the environment surrounding the Stradivarius on account of the age of its wood. These gauges inside the case act as a sort of "alarm," said Fedeli. (CBC)

The origin behind the name

The violin is so-named for its it two Italian owners, both of whom were violinists: Antonio Bazzini, composer and director of Milan Conservatory, and Gioconda De Vito.

In 1961, 54-year-old De Vito retired from the professional stage, and the violin was stored away, not to appear again before the public for the next 50 years, Fedeli said. 

Now, Fedeli is on tour with the famed instrument to re-introduce its rich sound to the masses. 

"I play not only in the old theatre for the people who understand music, but I play in hospitals, in churches, in schools, for every people, because I believe that this voice can [speak] to all the people," he said.

"People listen to this violin not only by the ears, but the heart."

His program tonight will include a variety of piano and violin works by composers — including Rachmaninoff, Brahms, Grieg and Paganini — and will explore the history of this mysterious instrument.

Maestro Fedeli Stradivarius

Fedeli is known as 'the man of the Stradivari' for being the only person in the world to have performed on 25 of the 60 remaining playable Stradivari violins. (Susan Holzman/CBC)