Just in: Toronto grabs two NY Philharmonic string players

Just in: Toronto grabs two NY Philharmonic string players


norman lebrecht

September 12, 2019

The Toronto Symphony is about to roll out four new playerslater today, two of them valued members of the New York Philharmonic.

NY Phil violinist Zeyu Victor Li joins Toronto as associate concertmaster. Rémi Pelletier, a section player, arrives as associate principal viola.

In addition, Victor Fournelle-Blain joins Toronto from the Montreal Symphony Orchestra as principal viola and Yolanda Bruno, concertmaster of the Kingston Symphony Orchestra, signs on as a section violinust.

That is quite a close-season catch. This is an orchestra that is not hiding its ambition.





  • Alexander Tarak says:

    Gasp !!!

  • Paul Wells says:

    Toronto’s a very appealing place to live (a claim many Canadians dispute, but it’s true); they’ve lined up a promising music director, Gustavo Gimeno; the hall’s not great, but the orchestra is full of talent. This is good evidence of momentum.

  • Ahimsa says:

    Not so sure about the “valued members of the philharmonic” part. Musicians relocate for various reasons.

  • Shimi says:

    Probably worth mentioning that Victor Li was denied tenure in NY Philharmonic… very valuable indeed

    • John says:

      Doesn’t mean anything! Same thing happened to Robert Chen in Philadelphia right before Chicago happened!

      • Bruce says:

        Agree. As I point out now and then: an orchestral appointment is like a relationship. Just because an orchestra is good and a player (or a conductor) is good, doesn’t mean they’re going to get along.

    • Pepperoni says:

      Tenure in the NY Philharmonic does not mean anything. Lisa ‘Tchaikimchi’ Kim has tenure there. Everyone in the NY musical community knows how she got her job and it was not from her playing!

  • Emil says:

    Big loss for Montreal. Victor Fournelle-Blain is a young promising violist doing lots of chamber playing also; he won a number of big prizes in Montreal (as violinist). Big gain for Toronto (Montreal, meanwhile, seems to have poached the Principal viola from Vancouver, Victor de Almeida).

    Yolanda Bruno has won the OSM’s competition and is also incredibly gifted as a soloist and chamber player. Also a great catch for Toronto.