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Fiddler on the Loose

When violin virtuoso Charlie Siem isn’t playing his $15 million instrument, he relaxes with a fine cigar
By Kenneth Shouler | From Charles Barkley, March/April 2020
Fiddler on the Loose
Charlie Siem is madly fiddling away, playing Johannes Brahms’ “Hungarian Dance No. 5” on a violin built in 1735. With frenzied bowing, he has the audience clapping and hooting with each rhythmic movement. Suddenly Lady Gaga, her hair a luminous teal, flashes onto the stage. Sporting a translucent body stocking that would make a fish net appear substantial, the reigning queen of transformative pop music embraces the virtuoso of classical violin music and plants a kiss on him. Siem laughs at the seemingly odd juxtaposition of cultures as he recalls the scene that played out in 2011 at an after party for the Council of Fashion Designers of America awards: “On stage I’m …
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