Top US concertmaster quits

The respected and well-liked Frank Almond has decided to step down at the Milwaukee Symphony after 25 years. He explains why here:

It’s a constellation of things. I have two teenage girls on my own. [Frank’s wife, Kate, passed away from breast cancer in 2017.] For four to five years I had ideas I couldn’t do for either professional reasons or Kate’s illness. Last season it became untenable. Ken-David Masur and I get along great, but I think he should have the opportunity to find someone to take the strings section in a different direction.

I want to build the Frankly Music chamber music series and continue to grow my teaching at Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra. I hope to change the chamber music landscape, and get the arts more out into underserved communities, like schools and prisons, on a regular basis.

We wish Frank every success and happiness. He will contnue to play an advisory role with the Milwaukee Symphony.

In January 2014 Frank was attacked by robbers who stole his Lipinski Stradivarius as he left a recital at Wisconsin Lutheran College, Milwaukee. The criminals were caught and jailed, the violin recovered safe and sound.

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  • A talented and well respected musician. Change is good and he’s done everything there is to do as a leader in the MSO. On to new challenges!

  • He seems like a good egg who has dealt with some real challenges over the past few years. Wishing him all the best!

  • Does anyone know who might replace him? I saw the MSO perform a concert of Mendelssohn and the guest concertmaster was almost certainly auditioning; he had great stage presence and played at a visibly high technical level.

    • I’m sure they will get someone really good but young. They have an exciting Music Director, Ken-David Masur.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if he brought in a German, or there’s the very young but supremely talented Korean violinist, Julian Rhee, who is now studying at Harvard (he’s from the Milwaukee area). He recently won the Elmar Oliveira competition.

  • He was supposed to play Bruch No. 1 as his official farewell at the last MSO concert of the season, I believe, and now we of the audience have been deprived of the chance to give him a proper send off. It would have been raucous!

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