Berlin Philharmonic concertmaster gives up the day job

When Noah Bendix-Balgley won the concertmaster’s seat at the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra last February, he told the Pittsburgh Symphony that he would keep both jobs.

That lasted just one season. Now Noah, 31, has quit Pitts to play fulltime in Berlin.

noah bendix-bagley

 

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  • How on earth would he have been concertmaster of both orchestras? You must mean that he took a limited trial with Berlin prior to making the leap.

  • Berlin usually has two of its three “first concertmasters” playing in most major programs, so each presumably is playing half the time or more. It’s conceivable he could fly back to Pittsburgh in his Berlin off-weeks, but it would seem to get old fast. And I would hope Pittsburgh would have enough self-respect to reject such an arrangement.

  • This is a normal arrangement one is given when one doesn’t yet have tenure in the new job and the old employer wants to keep you close. It’s also very lucrative.

  • I suspect Mr. Lebrecht conveyed incorrect information in saying Mr. Bendix-Balgley would keep both jobs long-term; certainly nothing in the linked article suggested it was anything but the usual practice of an orchestral musician taking leave from his current job while serving the probationary period in the new one, and then, probation passed, quitting to go to the new job. And sometimes, as in this case, you continue to make the intermittent appearance with your current group.

    It’s not unheard of for a concertmaster to hold jobs in two different orchestras, but I can’t imagine he would do so across the Atlantic. Certainly a group of Pittsburgh’s stature should demand a full-time CM.

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