The Stradivari Challenge


a special concert

honoring Professor Joseph Nagyvary on his retirement




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Sponsored by MiraMedia Ltd., Hamburg,

as part of a documentary film on the art

of Antonio Stradivari



With prize-winning violinists


Dalibor Karvay and Regina Buenaventura


accompanied by Dr. Michelle Schumann






Bush Conference Center, Sept. 15, Monday, 7:30 p.m.





I.                    Blind test of two violins;

audience survey


II.         Handel:           Sonata for two violins and piano

                                    in G minor

                                    Karvay, Kuschnir and Schumann


            Prokofiev:       Sonata in D for violin and piano

                                    Karvay and Schumann


            Waxman:        Carmen Fantasy                                  

            Karvay and Schumann



xxxx  Intermission  xxxx



III.       Bach:              Concerto for two violins and piano

                                    Buenaventura, Karvay &  Schumann                   


IV        Popular melodies and encores

played by Buenaventura and Schumann


            Kreisler:         Preludium and allegro               

Sarasate:       Zigeunerweisen

            Wieniawski:    Romance                                 

Sarasate:       Introduction and tarantella

Ponce:             Estrellita                                  

Gluck:             Melodie


                  The Stradivari Challenge

        Today's special event has come about by the convergence of two plans, which focus on the most magnificent of all musical instruments, the violin. A concert was originally planned to serve as a fitting bookend to the Stradivarius research project of biochemistry professor Dr. Joseph Nagyvary. About the same time, a German producer of documentary films, MiraMedia Ltd. of Hamburg, initiated a project on the legendary Italian violinmaker Antonio Stradivari and requested the opportunity to scrutinize Nagyvary's research and claims. MiraMedia wished to answer the question: can the best modern violin produced by advanced scientific considerations stand up to the comparison with one of the best preserved specimens of Stradivari's legacy?

        The standard of excellence is represented tonight by "The Da Vinci" Stradivarius of 1725, which was generously loaned for the occasion by Machold Rare Violins. For backup, there is a second Stradivari violin (La Rouse-Boughton, 1703) which is the concert violin of Professor Boris Kuschnir. The challengers will be two violins made by the team of Nagyvary and his Houston based associate, Guang Yue Chen. An exact copy of the Stradivarius was completed only in August this summer, while the other violin is 12 years old.  Can the average concert-goer and music professional tell a $ 4 million violin apart from one that is affordable by young musicians? This question will be answered tonight in a blind test using the audience as the taste panel. You will be asked to rate two contestants on the basis of their tone quality (beauty) and power (projection) of sound. The questionnaires will be collected in the intermission. The violins will be identified at the end of the concert.


Performing Artists

Dalibor Karvay a Slovakian native born in 1985, was introduced to the violin by his father. At eight, he was admitted to the Conservatory of Zilina. Currently, he is a student of professor Kuschnir at the Vienna Conservatory. Dalibor was the winner of several competitions, most importantly, the Eurovision Young Musician Competition in Berlin 2002.

Boris Kuschnir was born in Kiev (1948), and he obtained much of his advanced instrumental training at the Moscow Conservatory. He distinguished himself both as a soloist and a chamber musician. He is currently one of the most sought-after violin pedagogues in Austria, having a professorship simultaneously at the Conservatory of Vienna and the Music University of Graz.

Regina T. Buenaventura is a 15 year old violin prodigy from Manila, The Philippines. Her first teacher was her grandmother, Rizalina Exconde Buenaventura, who was the premier violin teacher in The Philippines. At the age of 9, she was awarded a scholarship to the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory. Her teachers and mentors were Sergio Esmilla, Basilio Manalo and Arturo Molina. At the age of 11, Regina won first prize in the Philippine National Music Competition of Young Artists. Currently, she is enrolled at the Chicago Institute of Music to study with Roland and Almita Vamos.

Michelle Schumann holds a doctorate in piano performance from the University of Texas. She performed with many professional ensembles in Austin, Calgary, Cleveland and also in Europe. Currently, she is on the faculty at the University of Mary Hardin Baylor in Belton.


Professor Joseph Nagyvary retired this summer after 36 years of service with the Department of Biochemistry. In his scientific career, he was fascinated by great puzzles and holy grails such as the origin of life and the secrets of the Stradivari violins.

A note from Dr. Attila E. Pavlath, 2001 President of the American Chemical Society: "Professor Joseph Nagyvary has been the pioneer of the chemical paradigm in violinmaking for over a quarter century. As one of the most popular speakers of the American Chemical Society with over 250 lectures, Nagyvary has marshalled a convincing body of evidence for the role of chemistry in the sublime art of lutherie. He has brought the Stradivarius from its Olympian heights down to Earth since his theories have begun to yield practical benefits."




For the choice of the audience, go to