Helena Attlee with Lev Atlas & Greg Lawson: Fiddler on the Don

Objects passed down the generations can provide a rich source of stories. Travel writer Helena Attlee hit on a particularly interesting example of this when, at a folk concert in Wales, she was struck by the gorgeous tone of a violin being played by someone called Greg. It turned out that he had bought it from a man called Lev, who had been told his violin had been made in Cremona (home of the legendary Stradivarius). Lev had bought it from a gypsy in the Russian town of Rostov-on-Don in 1980. So began Attlee’s quest to discover more, and Lev’s Violin recounts Attlee’s journeys to Cremona, Venice and the Black Sea in a bid to unlock the history of the instrument. We are delighted to reunite Attlee with the men who began her story: Greg Lawson teaches at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, while Lev Atlas is principal viola with the Scottish Opera Orchestra. In this event, filmed live at the 2021 Edinburgh International Book Festival, they share the sounds and stories of Lev’s violin in a special event featuring music and discussion, chaired by Allan Little.

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