By Jacob Stockinger
It’s been a busy time for classical music, with lots of news — and postings — despite the sudden hot summer.
Last week, The Ear heard from sources that the Madison Symphony Orchestra (below) had named Naha Greenholtz as its new concertmaster, beating out current co-concertmaster Suzanne Beia and Isabella Lippi. But an MSO official called to say that it was premature to announce that.
But no longer – at least as of an hour ago.
Here is the official MSO press release, received Monday afternoon:
The Japanese born, Canadian native emerged successful from the year-long audition process that began when Tyrone Greive (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot), who had held the position for 25 years, announced his retirement at the end of the 2009-2010 Symphony season.
“I’m thrilled that Ms. Greenholtz has accepted a position to be our new concert master,” said DeMain. “Her solo playing impressed our committee and me greatly. Her leadership of the orchestra in her two performances was exemplary. Naha will bring the Madison Symphony Orchestra to a still higher level of excellence, building on our already strong reputation,” said DeMain.
BIOGRAPHY OF NAHA GREENHOLTZ
Canadian violinist Naha Greenholtz was born in Kyoto, Japan. She made her solo debut at 14 playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and was quickly reengaged for performances of concerti by Tchaikovsky and Mozart.
In addition, she has been a featured soloist with the Burnaby Symphony and the Kelowna Symphony Orchestra in works by Sarasate, Bruch, and Bach. Naha has also had an active career as an orchestral musician, appointed Associate Concertmaster of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra in New Orleans at age 21.
One year later, she joined the first violin section of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (below). Most recently she has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra both at Severance Hall and on tour in Tokyo and Seoul. She has also performed as guest Concertmaster of the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra.
Naha received her BM from the Juilliard School in 2007, where she studied with Joel Smirnoff and Donald Weilerstein. Currently, she is the sole participant in the prestigious Concertmaster Academy at the Cleveland Institute of Music, a mentoring fellowship with William Preucil.
JOHN DEMAIN (below in a photo by Katrin Talbot) ON SELECTING A NEW CONCERTMASTER
“As our concertmaster for the past 20 years, Tyrone Greive presided over a period of unprecedented artistic growth for the Symphony. He fully participated with me in creating the incredible string section we have today, and he can leave with great satisfaction, knowing that he leaves it at its all-time pinnacle of virtuosity.
“As we enter this new era, our choice of a new concertmaster is a vital one. We want to choose someone who will build on Tyrone’s tradition and help the MSO continue to blossom artistically.
“Of all the principal players, the concertmaster is possibly the most crucial. This person must be a master musician, a superb soloist, an exceptional ensemble player and a leader who understands how to engender a cohesive performance. An enormous amount of unseen work goes into this position. For example, the concertmaster makes initial bowing decisions that will inform the way that all the string sections play their parts.
“We have completed a comprehensive search for eligible candidates. Each candidate auditioned for a committee made up of the other principal players and myself. They each took the role of Concertmaster at two of our subscription concerts last season, giving everyone a chance to experience them in action. The orchestra and the committee were full participants in the decision.” – By John DeMain
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The Ear wants to hear.