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Unique Passing The Passion (sm) Benefit Concert and Two Gala Receptions Dec. 5

PLATTSBURGH, NY __ The State University of New York College at Plattsburgh will be hosting a unique Passing the PassionSM Benefit Concert and two gala receptions on Sunday, Dec. 5. All proceeds will benefit the $2.5 million restoration of the historic Strand Theatre undergoing work in downtown Plattsburgh.

The concert will feature internationally renowned Guarneri String Quartet Violinist Arnold Steinhardt, who teaches at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and is highly honored among musicians; and Helena Baillie, the 26-year-old European discovery, who was chosen to perform at the 2001 memorial service for legend Isaac Stern at Carnegie Hall. She has been honored with many U.S. and European awards, including the top prize for the player possessing the most beautiful tone at the 2003 International Lionel Tertis Competition and the Bärenreiter prize at the 2004 Munich ARB Competition. Baillie recently joined the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester in Berlin and began playing her first concerts with the orchestra this fall.

They will be accompanied by Israeli pianist David Greilsammer, the First Prize Winner at the Julliard Concerto Competition 2004. Greilsammer is scheduled to appear with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra this month performing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No 3. He has been regularly invited to perform in prestigious music festivals under leading conductors of his day.

The announcement was made by Jo Ellen Miano, chair of SUNY Plattsburgh's Music Department. Commenting on the events, Miano said, "This will be one of the most exciting musical gatherings of our time: not only the pairing of the most exciting up-and-coming European violist/violinist and her renowned American teacher, but truly a joyous celebration of great music.  It also will be a exceptional evening designed to deeply touch the hearts and minds of its audience, young and not so young, which is the cornerstone of the concept for the Passing the PassionSM concerts created and developed by The Lewis Foundation.  Committed to education and to reaching listeners of all ages with great music, Passing the PassionSM concerts will sponsor musicians who will perform for the newest as well as the most sophisticated listeners.  We believe that this Passing the PassionSM concept truly can change the world, one child at a time, through inspirational moments in music."

The concert will begin at 3 p.m. in the College's E. Glenn Giltz Auditorium of Hawkins Hall, which is located at the intersection of Court and Beekman streets in downtown Plattsburgh.  The hall's 780 reserved seats are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and free for students 17 and under.

"In addition," Miano noted, "the Benefit offers a festive $55 champagne reception for guests at 1:30 p.m. prior to the concert, which includes a seat at the musical event. Later, a very special treat with the three featured concert artists, a $125 post-concert candlelight reception with hors d'oeuvres will be held at the home of Dr. John Ettling, president of SUNY Plattsburgh, and his wife, Lisa."  The candlelight reception at the President's home will be limited to the first 125 paid guests.

"Since the Lewis Foundation also is covering all expenses connected with the concert, all proceeds from the benefit will go to support the restoration of the Strand Theatre, an exciting and important local community project being directed by the North Country Cultural Center for the Arts," Miano added. "This seminal event also celebrates SUNY Plattsburgh's commitment to college-community partnerships, which has been critical to the College's successful role in local communities."

Passing the PassionSM concerts are underwritten by The Lewis Foundation and the Lewis family.  The Foundation was created in 1950 by Cy Lewis, then Managing Partner of the Wall Street firm Bear Stearns.  Following Lewis' passing in 1978, the direction of the Foundation was assumed by his son, S. B. Lewis, who headed his own Wall Street arbitrage, investment and corporate advisory firm.

Lewis and his wife, Barbara, reside at their certified organic farm complex in Essex, New York, just south of Plattsburgh.

Rarely Heard $4 Million "Red Diamond" Stradivarius To Star In Dec. 5 Concert and Exhibit  

The Lewis Foundation and the Lewis family, among their other musical instrument holdings, own four rare stringed instruments, including the rarest of Stradivarius violins, which is known as the "Red Diamond."  According to Miano, "With an estimated current value of over $4 million, this fabulous violin, which was crafted in 1732, has rarely been seen, let alone played in public performances, in decades, nor are there any compact disc recordings available of historical performances. 

"What a treat to hear this rarest of sounds, certainly among the most beautiful among all violins crafted during the Golden Age in Cremora, Italy. This is an instrument that demands the most talented of artists to control its potential power. To witness this young woman tame its extraordinary musical power is awe-inspiring.  Anyone ever listening to this violin will never forget the magical musical experience emanating from this one-of-a-kind instrument of unmatched beauty," said Miano.

In addition to the "Red Diamond," Baillie also will perform on a rare viola crafted by Carlo Tononi in Bologna in approximately 1690.

For more information, contact Jo Ellen Miano at 518-564-2472 or the Music Department at 518-564-2180.
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Passing the PassionSM is the service mark of The Lewis Foundation.


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