Nashville Symphony Welcomes New Concertmaster Jun Iwasaki

June 01, 2011

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."

Born in Tokyo, Iwasaki began violin study at the age of 5 and by 12 made his solo debut with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra. In 2002, he and his quartet won the grand prize at the Coleman Chamber Music Competition. He has since performed with numerous orchestras, including the Blossom Festival Orchestra, Rome (GA) Philharmonic, New Bedford Symphony, Canton Symphony, Cleveland Pops Orchestra, Plano Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra, prior to his tenure as concertmaster of the Oregon Symphony. As a chamber musician Iwasaki has participated in many festivals around the world, including the Mainly Mozart Festival, Sitka Chamber Music Festival, Seattle Chamber Music Society, Chamber Music Northwest, Okinawa Moonbeach, Amelia Island Chamber Music and La Jolla Summerfest, among others. In addition, he has served as concertmaster of Asian Artists and Concerts Orchestra and guest concertmaster of the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa.

His Bachelor and Master of Music degrees are from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with William Preucil. Iwasaki was also the sole participant of the Cleveland Institute of Music's Concertmaster Academy in 2006.

In addition, Nashville Symphony will welcome Principal Oboist James Button and Section Percussionist Trent Leasure to the roster at the start of the 2011/12 concert season.