Just in: Cincinnati’s new concertmaster played in the 2nds

Just in: Cincinnati’s new concertmaster played in the 2nds


norman lebrecht

August 23, 2019

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has appointed Stefani Matsuo as its next concertmaster, starting next months. Matsuo joined the orchestra in 2015 as a member of the second violins, rising to Associate Concertmaster in 2018.

Music director Louis Langrée says: Stefani has consistently demonstrated remarkable artistry and leadership. Throughout the audition process, her playing set Stefani apart from the competition. I am confident in her extraordinary abilities and am thrilled she is serving in this vital role of Concertmaster moving forward.’

The previous concertmaster, Timothy Lees, was forced to retire due to a persistent injury.



  • David K. Nelson says:

    Second violin section to concertmaster is the same career path that Joseph Silverstein took with the Boston Symphony.

    • David says:

      Except he did win the Queen Elisabeth silver and the Naumburg in between those the two positions

    • David Sanders says:

      As did Sam Magad with the Chicago Symphony.

    • Chris says:

      Stefani won the Associate Concertmaster position in 2018 prior to winning the Concertmaster audition in 2019 and spent considerable time performing in that open first chair throughout the 2018-19 season.

  • Highly Strung says:

    A bit of a degrading headline, do you not think? Just because someone is in the second violins doesn’t make them less of a player or less of a virtuoso. It doesn’t matter what position or indeed of what orchestra she last played for, she won the job fair and square and is more than a competent player. I wish her well in the new job.

    • The View from America says:

      It may also be that the headline is highlighting that Ms. Matsuo came up through the ranks “fair and square.”

      I actually read this as a positive — where great talent was promoted from within instead of someone swooping in from the outside — and thus worthy of the headline mention.

    • Anon says:

      Not degrading at all.
      It’s very inspiring.

    • Bruce says:

      Not a degrading headline nor, I feel sure, an attempt at one. Rather, I see it as acknowledgment that terrific players can be found anywhere in an orchestra, not just in the principal chairs. Good on the audition committee for recognizing what they had and not insisting on someone from the outside just “because.”

  • Will says:

    In a great orchestra, the two violin sections are technically equal. They perform different functions during the performance. There should not be any stigma playing in the 2nds.

  • Anthoy M. Gigliotti says:

    I also found it inspiring.

  • Sir David Geffen-Ha;ll says:

    It also shows that the conductor and the committee approached this audition with an open mind.

    Kudos to all involved!

  • Derek says:

    I have noticed that many of the players in 2nd violins have a special intuition and feeling for the music.

    All of the sections in the orchestra have plenty of talent on offer.

  • Mary says:

    The newly appointed assistant concertmaster of my orchestra was also a member of our second violin section prior to winning the ACM audition. We are very proud to have her as a colleague.