Atlanta Symphony loses both principal cello and viola

Atlanta Symphony loses both principal cello and viola


norman lebrecht

January 17, 2018

The orchestra announced today that Christopher Rex (pictured) will retire next month and Reid Harris in June.

Both were appointed in 1979.

Music Director┬áRobert Spano said: ‘I will personally miss them very much, for they have been magnificent musical partners, and often wise counsel.’

It is rare for an orchestra to change two string principals at once. Atlanta’s choices will be interesting.



  • Larry says:

    Interesting? How so? Any more interesting than any other orchestra’s search for a principal? I can’t imagine why. Pleased elaborate, Norman.

    Christopher is the brother of long-time NY Philharmonic violinist, Charles Rex.

    • Eugene Vlassis says:

      Losing the leaders of two string sections now will bring more variation than losing just one.

      And, poking at the middle of the string section as a whole does more to stir the pot than would taking it from the edge. Would you agree?

    • Steph says:

      I think he means it’s interesting because often when hiring a string principal (or any principal for that matter) most, if not all, of the other string principals/title chairs are on the jury and have a large voice into who should be hired. So it will be interesting to see what they do, especially since the violas and cellos play so often together in symphonic repertoire!

      The fact that Atlanta is hiring two string principals in a short period of time is much more interesting than Christopher being the brother of a NY violinist, IMHO ­čśë

  • Cyril Blair says:

    Well this just sounds like carelessness.

  • harold braun says:

    Two great principals who shaped the ASO┬┤s rise to top class through the Shaw,Levi and Spano years.

  • Larry W says:

    The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra replaced their principal cello and principal viola in 1979. While rare, that turned out quite well, and will again. Best wishes to Chris and Reid.

  • Ben says:

    10 years from now, Yo-yo ma will be accused of improper sexual conduct per that photo.