Jun Iwasaki - Photo: Oregon Symphony
Oregon Symphony concertmaster of four years Jun Iwasaki is leaving for a new post with the Nashville Symphony beginning with the 2011-2012 season.
From the Nashville Symphony press release:
Nashville Symphony has appointed Jun Iwasaki as the orchestra’s new concertmaster. Currently concertmaster of the Oregon Symphony in Portland, he will officially assume his post at the start of the 2011/12 season, which opens on September 9 at Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Iwasaki has already appeared as guest concertmaster with the Nashville Symphony twice this season and will return for the orchestra’s performances of Mahler’s Second Symphony on June 2-4.
“Jun is an elegant, technically gifted player who brings a wealth of experience and a high level of professionalism to this position,” says Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero. “The orchestra’s stellar reputation has allowed it to continue attracting fantastic musicians from around the world. When we worked with Jun as a guest concertmaster earlier this season, the chemistry was perfect, and I knew he was the right person for the job. In addition to his phenomenal musical sensibilities, he possesses a natural ability to lead and to communicate, which is a key part of the concertmaster’s role. The concertmaster is the conductor’s ‘right hand’ and essentially represents the members of the orchestra – when I shake hands with the concertmaster onstage, I am acknowledging and thanking each musician.”
Iwasaki will make Nashville his home, working closely with Guerrero to help implement the conductor’s artistic vision. As concertmaster, he will establish a particular bowing style for the violin section and for the rest of the strings, which in turn will shape the music’s phrasing and buoyancy. Through this process, Iwasaki will play an important role in continuing to develop the sound of the Nashville Symphony in the beautiful and acoustically superb Laura Turner Concert Hall in Schermerhorn Symphony Center. In addition, he will play most of the violin solos required in the symphonic repertoire, and will appear on occasion as a soloist with the orchestra. “I am looking forward to working with Maestro Guerrero and the entire Nashville Symphony organization, says Iwasaki. “I hope to continue building a musical tradition with all of the musicians, in one of the most magnificent concert halls in the world.”
And here is the Oregon Symphony’s press release, issued this morning:
(PORTLAND, Ore.) – Oregon Symphony President Elaine Calder today confirmed news from Nashville, Tennessee: that concertmaster Jun Iwasaki is leaving Portland to assume the role of concertmaster for the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.
Iwasaki joined the Oregon Symphony in the fall of 2007 and quickly established himself as a consummate artist and an audience favorite. In addition to his performances with the orchestra he has participated in chamber music concerts, taught privately, coached Portland’s youth ensembles and appeared as a soloist with the Columbia Symphony and the Portland Youth Philharmonic. Early in 2009 he performed the Korngold Violin Concerto with the Oregon Symphony and he was scheduled to play the second Violin Concerto by Max Bruch at concerts in February 2012. He has regretfully withdrawn from the 2012 performances and a violin soloist will be named as quickly as possible.
In confirming Nashville’s announcement Calder said, “It’s hard to accept that Jun is leaving us after only four seasons, but the Nashville Symphony has a $23 million budget and a new, acclaimed concert hall. They record regularly on the Naxos label and have received six Grammy awards in the past decade. We wish him all the very best, and will now turn our attention to finding a gifted new concertmaster. In the meantime, we are fortunate in Peter Frajola, our Associate Concertmaster, and we know that the performance standards we demonstrated at Carnegie Hall last month will continue under Carlos Kalmar’s inspired direction.”
Music Director Carlos Kalmar commented: “It is very sad to see Jun go. As a concertmaster he helped tremendously and had a crucial role in the growth of the orchestra during the time he was here. His artistic presence, his commanding musicality and strong leadership were very important for the orchestra and for me personally. I am sure Jun will have an equally positive impact in Nashville. They will be thrilled to learn about his discipline and artistic standards.”