DSO Announces Results of Concertmaster Auditions
(DUBUQUE) – The Dubuque Symphony Orchestra (DSO) held auditions for the position of Concertmaster at John and Alice Butler Hall on the University of Dubuque campus June 7, 2015.
Ten highly qualified candidates, some who flew in from around the country, auditioned in three separate rounds; the auditions were closed to the public. Joining Music Director and Conductor William Intriligator on the judging panel were DSO Associate Concertmaster Ann Duchow, DSO Principal Viola Christina Mixemong, DSO Principal Cello Kevin Price-Brenner, DSO Acting Principal Bass David Scholl, and DSO Principal Clarinet Corey Mackey.
The auditions began at 9am and ended at approximately 7pm. Each audition round was blind, meaning the judging panel did not see the candidates and never knew their identities. They were asked to perform many challenging orchestral excerpts as well as two concerto movements by J. S. Bach.
By design, two finalists were selected at the end of the day. Each finalist will play concerts with the DSO in the fall of 2015, during which time they will also have opportunities to interact with DSO players, staff, board members, and patrons. The two finalists for the Concertmaster position are Eleanor Bartsch and Timothy Kamps.
Bartsch is a member of both the Madison Symphony and Wisconsin Chamber Orchestras and is an active chamber musician throughout Wisconsin and the United States. She resides in Madison, WI where she performs regularly with over 15 professional ensembles including the Lucido Felice Quartet, Rhapsody Quartet, Con Vivo, Ancora Quartet, Sound Ensemble Wisconsin, Madison Bach Musicians, Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble, and the newly established Willy Street Chamber Players, of which she is a founding member. Bartsch is a dedicated teacher who maintains a studio of private students, is on the faculty of the UW Madison Summer Music Clinic, and enjoys coaching first violin sectionals every Saturday morning for the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO). In May 2015, she completed her Masters Degree as a Paul Collins Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellow at the University of Wisconsin Madison School of Music. She studied with David Perry and Felicia Moye and concurrently earned a graduate certificate in Business Entrepreneurship from the UW-Madison School of Business.
Kamps is Associate Concertmaster of the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, a position he has held since 2008. Prior to winning that position, he served as Acting Principal Violin 2 for two seasons with the DSO. In addition, Tim is a tenured member of both the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and the Madison Symphony Orchestra. Besides a full calendar of orchestral performances, Kamps enjoys collaborating with other chamber musicians, including a series of recitals in summer 2014 and a residency at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville with the Kipperton String Quartet. Kamps began violin lessons at age 4 with Everett Goodwin at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Suzuki Talent Education Center, and later studied with Roland and Almita Vamos at the Music Institute of Chicago, and Vartan Manoogian and Felicia Moye at the University of Wisconsin, where he was awarded the Patricia A. Cheney scholarship, served as concertmaster of the UW Chamber Orchestra, and received his Bachelor of Arts in Violin Performance. As a student, Kamps competed in numerous young artist auditions, and won the Wisconsin Music Teachers Association, Milwaukee Symphony Young Artist, and Wisconsin Alliance of Composers competitions. He has an active interest in contemporary music, collaborating with emerging composers to perform new works in a variety of settings, including a recital series for the American Society of Composers. Kamps performs on a 1925 Carl Becker violin on loan from Dr. Jonathan Tueting.
The final decision of who, Bartsch or Kamps, will be the next Concertmaster of the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, will be made in November or early December 2015.
“I am very pleased with the two finalists selected after the June 7th auditions. Bartsch and Kamps both play at an extremely high level, and they are each very eager to win the position. I could foresee either one of them leading the DSO into an exciting future and helping raise the orchestra to even higher levels of musical excellence,” said Music Director and Conductor William Intriligator.
The Concertmaster of any orchestra is a position of extreme importance. This person is the lead first violinist and, in the days before conductors, used to direct the entire orchestra while playing. These days, the Concertmaster serves as the “team captain” who, along with the Music Director and Conductor (who is like the “team coach”), establishes the musical and professional standards for the orchestra and helps set the tone for the orchestra musicians.
The Concertmaster makes numerous, crucial artistic decisions for every concert by determining the specific bowings and nuances for the violins and the strings as a whole. The Concertmaster is also frequently called upon to perform solos, both within symphonic music as well as in concerto genres. In addition to their playing, the leadership qualities of the Concertmaster are extremely important. The Concertmaster oversees the string section of the orchestra, sometimes coaches them, and makes suggestions for changes during rehearsals. The Concertmaster serves as an ambassador for the orchestra in the community and is a figurehead of the orchestra who, at times, represents the entire personnel of the orchestra.