It was never going to be easy, replacing Andres Cardenes as concertmaster. Cardenes was a prize winner in the 1982 Tchaikovsky Competition, with an international solo career. He has been concertmaster in Pittsburgh since 1989, under the music directorships of Lorin Maazel, Mariss Jansons and Manfred Honeck, as well as some transitionals in between. That’s a tough act to follow.
But Pittsburgh have used the close-season to sign another major competition winner. Noah Bendix-Balgley, 27, took a top prize at the 2009 Reine Elisabeth and came third in the Long-Thibaud. He’s from North Carolina and he takes the hot seat next year. His website has more background.