Music

Biden Invites Irish Violinist to Play for Inauguration Day Morning Mass

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January 21, 2021, 10:28 PM · Music makes the magic when it comes to setting the tone for a major event, milestone or celebration.

So it’s significant that violin music was what Joe Biden wished to hear as he attended morning mass on Wednesday, the day he would be inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States. In fact, he personally invited Irish violinist Patricia Treacy to play for the occasion.

Here she plays Patrick Cassidy’s “The Proclamation” on a c. 1700 Omobono Stradivari violin, provided especially for this occasion by Joe Bein at Bein & Company Rare Violins:

The video above, filmed last weekend at Chicago’s Old St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, was made to be broadcast at the mass in the event that Treacy would not be permitted to play live in D.C. due to security concerns. But in the end, she actually did perform Wednesday morning at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C., in a mass service attended by Biden, his family, and high-ranking members of Congress.

In addition to “The Proclamation,” she also played “Ag Críost an Síol,” and she joined Renée Fleming for the Catholic favorite “On Eagle’s Wings,” as well as Schubert’s “Ave Maria” and the Celtic Alleluia. Treacy has played for Biden on a number of occasions, one being in 2016 when he visited his ancestral home in County Louth, Ireland, where she is a citizen.

The violin that Treacy played for this special event merits some attention – it was made by Antonio Stradivari’s younger son, Omobono and is currently valued at about $4 million. It’s also known as the “Blagrove” Omobono Strad, having belonged to a musical family with the last name Blagrove, and more recently it belonged to violinist Jesse Ceci for almost 50 years. (Ceci was the concertmaster of the Denver Symphony, now the Colorado Symphony, for 20 years, and I remember him well from the many DSO concerts I saw as a child in Denver.) The fiddle happens to be for sale by Bein & Company Rare Violins, the shop recently established by Joe Bein, son of the late Robert Bein, co-founder of Bein and Fushi.

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