Concertmaster versus Concert Soloist

from Sarasota Herald-Tribune, January 3, 2010:

Every violin virtuoso faces a major decision early in life. It’s a tough choice:  concert artist or concertmaster?  Both careers attract prodigies.  Choosing one professional career path over the other results in very different lifestyles.  The virtuoso soloist’s life involves travel 32 weeks or more every year; a concertmaster’s career offers a settled and collegial life with an orchestra, a place to call home, to put down roots, and take on the responsibility of leading 80 or so players in the pursuit of splendid music.

Many violinists who become concertmasters do so for two main reasons:  They don’t want to play the same half-dozen concerti again and again all their careers and they dislike constant travel and dislocation.  At an orchestra performance, the concertmaster enters just before the conductor.  He always gets a warm welcome from the audience and then he tunes the orchestra.  He sits directly at the left hand of the conductor and from there performs a job so demanding that The New York Times calls the position the King of Strings.

Read entire story here.

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