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Volume 26, Number 5 — May 2019

Knoxville Symphony appoints William Shaub as concertmaster

William Shaub
William Shaub

June 13, 2017

KNOXVILLE, TN The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra has appointed William Shaub as the next KSO Concertmaster. Shaub served as guest concertmaster on two KSO Masterworks performances in the spring of 2017, and performed an audition recital in March 2017.

KSO Music Director Aram Demirjian said, "William Shaub distinguished himself as a superb, sensitive musician and a thoughtful, nuanced violinist whose leadership will continue to strengthen the KSO's already excellent string section. He is a great communicator and creative programmer who will bring a new, fresh perspective to our Concertmaster Series. William is also a devoted, caring person who quickly won over his new colleagues in the KSO. He is ready to invest in our community, and I know Knoxville is going to enjoy getting to know him as much as we all have already."

The search committee included Music Director Aram Demirjian and six KSO musicians. After auditioning numerous candidates, two finalists were invited to perform on a Masterworks program (March and April 2017) and perform solo recitals. In March 2017, Shaub acted as guest concertmaster on a program of Dvorak, Sibelius, and Brahms. Shaub was invited back to perform in May for a program of Mason Bates, Richard Strauss, John Williams and Ludwig van Beethoven. His solo recital with piano accompaniment included violin sonatas by Beethoven and Bach, plus Samuel Adler's "In Memory of Milton Babbitt" for solo violin and "Gypsy Airs" from Sarasate's Zigeunerweisen. Following a unanimous committee vote, Shaub was offered the position of KSO concertmaster.

"I am honored to have the opportunity to work alongside Music Director Aram Demirjian and the Knoxville Symphony musicians," said William Shaub, newly-appointed KSO Concertmaster. "During my two weeks serving as guest concertmaster, I discovered that this orchestra works and performs like a big chamber music group. In an orchestra, this trait is remarkably special and lends itself to the most intimate music-making and the highest levels of musicianship. It drew me in immediately.

The KSO Concertmaster Series represents a space for creativity and musical collaboration between our incredible audience, our musicians, and myself. I am looking forward to programming powerful music and embarking on intellectually curious journeys through the series. A big part of what we do as musicians is tell stories, and together we can delve deeply into the stories that the great composers tell us. The biggest challenge of the series for me will be harboring my enthusiasm: we have so much great music to share but this is only one series! I would ask our audience to "stay tuned'."

Shaub replaces outgoing Concertmaster Gabriel Lefkowitz, who concluded his tenure with the KSO after six seasons in 2016-2017. Lefkowitz auditioned and won the position in 2011 after a similar search, and announced his departure in July 2016. Before Lefkowitz, the position of KSO Concertmaster was held by Mark Zelmanovich, who retired from the KSO following the 2009-2010 season after 24 years. The job of a concertmaster in a professional orchestra is to lead the string section, to be responsible for communication within the members of the orchestra, and to help aid the communication between the conductor and the musicians.