The new concertmaster is … 23

The new concertmaster is … 23


norman lebrecht

February 20, 2019

Opera Vlaandern in Gent, Belgium, has named its new concertmaster.

She is Kristie Su from California, and she’s one of the youngest anywhere in the job.

Kristie Su is a student of Vesna Stefanovic-Gruppman, who posted this nostalgic picture.

And here’s how she looks now.


  • Esther Cavett says:

    Nothing special. Check out Mendelssohn

    • Anon says:

      A 23 year old, 4 years ago, would have been a 19 year old student.
      The performance itself could have been even earlier than 2015, making the violinist even younger.
      Your comment was unnecessary.

    • NYMike says:

      Actually, pretty damn good.

    • Bruce says:

      She actually sounds like kind of a badass to me, Esther. Even at that age she had the laying-it-down, “this is how it goes and you better listen” quality that a top-notch concertmaster needs to have. Also noted: the left-hand clarity of articulation that makes every note pop out, and the rhythmic steadiness that makes every note sound like “boom — THIS is where this note belongs,” and right-hand technique that keeps the sound solid no matter how busy her left hand is or what part of the bow she’s in. ALSO a very solid sense of timing, as distinct from rhythm: e.g. the length of the pause between the end of the slow movement and the intro to the finale. You can practically hear her waiting until the moment is right, then going “aaaaand…. NOW we begin.”

      Visibly nervous at the beginning (I thought), and a few instances of tight left shoulder, but that seemed to clear up by about 3 minutes in. A bit of a tendency to play sharp to the orchestra — more common than not among soloists, but again that seemed to be a function of nerves/ tension, and seems to straighten itself out after the first few minutes.

      That’s what I heard, anyway. But that’s just me.

      I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if this concertmaster job turns out to be the first of several.

      So, Esther: I’m glad that despite your dismissiveness — or actually because of it — I got a chance to listen to this remarkable performance. Thanks.*

      (*Well, sort of thanks. Your comment brought to mind this quote: “I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers. Khalil Gibran
      Read more at:

  • Anon says:

    Vesna wife of Igor Gruppman. One of the best leaders anywhere. Small world!

  • muslit says:

    she must have a lot of experience.