Minnesota Orchestra has a new concertmaster

Felicity James is the new associate concertmaster, succeeding 35-year veteran Roger Frisch.

She starts immediately in the concertmaster seat for the holiday season concerts.

Erich Rieppel is the new principal timp.


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  • The article title is somewhat misleading: the Minnesota Orchestra has a new Second *Associate* concertmaster. Erin Keefe is still very much *the* concertmaster, and Susie Park is still the First Associate.

    So naturally, as low woman on the totem pole, Miss James gets to lead at least some of the holiday concerts.

    We’re very glad to have her in the Twin Cities!

    • Concertmasters are the top-of-the-bill talent – they get all the attention. Norman was just trying to drum up business [rimshot!]

      • FYI…in many of the top tier, major orchestras, the principal timpanist is often the second highest paid player, after the concertmaster.

        • Any recent examples? I’ve heard this claim before, but current conditions seem to be otherwise. Checking just now with IRS Form 990 filings (the most recent available) for highest reportable compensation to a musician after concertmaster:

          Boston: principal oboe
          Cleveland: principal flute
          Chicago: principal clarinet
          Dallas: principal trumpet
          Los Angeles: principal trumpet
          Minnesota: principal trombone
          National Symphony: unknown
          Philadelphia: principal clarinet
          Pittsburgh: principal horn
          San Francisco: principal trumpet
          Seattle: principal horn

          I only saw one or two cases where the timpani cracked the top 5 list.

  • She looks awfully delicate to be a Concertmaster. Frisch was a strong player with a strong personality. And experienced. She looks like she just got out of school.

  • Vic Firth joined the Boston Symphony (percussion, later timpanist) at age 22. Stanley Drucker joined the NY Philharmonic (clarinet) at age 19, and it was his second job! Ed Barker joined Boston (double bass) at age 21. The list goes on and on so don’t let her age/looks bother you.

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