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Stephens owns four mandolins, all of which have names: ‘Vinny’ (1764 Vincentius Vinaccia mandolin), ‘Baby’ (1933 Luigi Embergher mandolin), ‘Beast’ (1985 Pasquale Pecoraro mandola) and ‘Hugo’ (1956 Luigi Embergher Cerrone mandolin). On Saturday she will using ‘Baby’ and ‘Beast’. “Vinny, my very rare 1764 original Neapolitan mandolin is feeling his age and has been ‘retired’ from concert,” she says. “I am saving up to have him copied so that I can play the copy in concerts.”

Stephens has been playing the mandolin since she was 11. When her mother found it almost impossible to find a mandolin teacher in London she contacted the great Hugo D’Alton for advice and he ended up teaching her for 11 years. She became the first graduate of mandolin at Trinity College of Music in London. Today she teaches at Trinity College, tours solo, in duos and in concertos and is the leading exponent of classical mandolin in the UK. So why the mandolin? “Its sound, its ability to stir emotion in people, the beautiful curves and lines of the instrument. I've always been quite individual so I expect a part of me likes it because it is a little unusual. It is an instrument with a lot of soul and it is extremely expressive... somehow, it captured my heart a long time ago and it has never let me go. I hope it never does.” KA

Strings attached: Stephens won’t be playing from the
Captain Corelli soundtrack. Pic by Kate Mount
The Workshop, English Passage (Cliffe High St)
When? 8pm
How Much? £9.50 (includes glass of wine)

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