Concertmaster drops out in Vienna

Concertmaster drops out in Vienna


norman lebrecht

May 23, 2021

The Russian-French violinist Fedor Rudin, appointed concertmaster two years ago at the Vienna State Opera and playing also in the Vienna Philharmonic, has left the city to pursue a solo career.

Rudin, 28, a grandson of the composer Edison Denisov, has posted new career plans on his website.

Vienna, it seems, was just a stepping stone.



  • Axl says:

    Sad but not a big surprise. I’ve always thinked that he is perhaps more soloist type violinist than orchestral player.
    And it looks that Mr. Rainer Küchl’s former post isn’t the most easiest to fill because José Maria Blumenschein also deside to step down and go back to WDR Orchestra Cologne.
    But i’m sure that Vienna will find a good viennese sound style orchestral player/concertmaster. They recently promoted tutti players Benjamin Morrison and Luka Ljubas to associate concertmaster/section leader chairs so they might be potential candidates to 1st chair. Both are fantastic violinists and Mr. Ljubas was actually in the same audition when Mr. Rudin was appointed so maybe now is his turn…

    • kölscher jung says:

      It’s not so much that they stepped down willingly… through a family friend (whose position in the orchestra i really can’t name) i was told that it was pretty clear from the beginning that rudin wouldn’t “make it” in the orchestra, while disapproval of Blumenschein wasn’t as unanimous

  • Petros Linardos says:

    I know Wolfgang Schneiderhahn moved on to a solo career at 36, after stints as concertmaster, first of the Vienna Symphony, then of the Vienna Philharmonic. Are there other precedents?

    • Rachelle Goldberg says:

      I believe the same happened to Gunter Pichler but it was with the Alban Berg Quartet

    • David K. Nelson says:

      That kind of depends on how you define “solo career,” since so many concertmasters have some sort of side careers, often considerable ones, as soloists while retaining their concertmaster position. I heard Philadelphia’s Norman Carol solo with the Milwaukee Symphony, for example, and St. Paul Chamber’s Romuald Tecco solo with the Chicago Symphony. Herman Krebbers was busy as a soloist the whole time he was the Concertgebouw’s concertmaster, and Michel Schwalbé also had an active solo career even as he was concertmaster of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and the Berlin Philharmonic.

      Speaking of Norman Carol reminds me that he had a solo and recording career of sorts before becoming a concertmaster, and I have to think he is hardly the only one, so this goes both ways. Israel Baker also comes to mind.

      Tossy Spivakovsky’s solo career lasted far longer than his time as concertmaster.

      Carl Flesch felt concertmaster experience was important for any violinist he taught and he urged his best pupils to take on a concertmaster position before beginning their solo career; witness Peter Rybar, Ricardo Odnoposoff, and Bronislav Gimpel among others.

      Gerhard Taschner had a “purely” solo career after being concertmaster in Berlin at age 19, under admittedly unusual circumstances. He made many recordings for radio broadcast but few commercial recordings.

      Steven Staryk who was concertmaster of four major orchestras (“The King of Concertmasters” is what the Strad called him) was frustrated in his attempts to launch both a solo and recording career, and felt not without reason that perhaps too long a period as concertmaster tends to typecast a violinist adversely.

      Mischa Mischakoff, with whom Staryk worked, was concertmaster of many fine orchestras but was a first rate violinist in general, including solo work.

      And this very inadequate and incomplete discussion does not even delve into concertmasters who had active chamber music careers.

    • Tamino says:

      Guy Braunstein quit the Berlin Phil after 12 years as concert master for a solo and conducting career.

  • Matthias says:

    This is the second time that a young concertmaster has left the Vienna Phil. shortly after being appointed – José Maria Blumenschein left in 2018.

    I wonder what’s going on… Maybe they should try recruiting an experienced concertmaster or someone from within the orchestra next.

    • just a hunch says:

      Being the most junior of 4 concertmasters must be frustrating players like Jose and Fedor, no one under 50 wants to get up early on Sunday and lead Schubert mass with the sängerknaben

  • Michael Güttler says:

    He is a fantastic musician and will have a brilliant career.

  • Giora says:

    It’s ridiculous how this orchestra fails to keep a young concertmaster. They should seriously think about their recruiting process. Certainly the most brilliant player is not always the most suitable person. Maybe playing behind the screen through the whole audition is not the best option. One should know who they have in front, the motivations, the profile, the ambitions of the candidate, and decide not only relating to his playing.

    • Just a hunch says:

      Thats what the 2 or 3 year trial is for…..and after that, the orchestra decides if the player is right for them, and the player decides if the orchestra/position is right for them

    • Bill says:

      They kept the young Ms. Danailova, though perhaps she was made of sterner stuff. Rainer Küchl was younger than either of these two chaps who didn’t work out, only 20 when he got the job. Rainer Honeck became a concertmaster in the opera orchestra at age 23, same for Volkhard Steude. Perhaps they just didn’t play like they’d been pupils of Staar or Samohyl…

      • Rachelle Goldberg says:

        You raise an interesting comment here. It was quite radical to have an female Concertmaster because there was relunctance to promote females from the Opera Orchestra to the main Orchestra. Also having heard Rainer Kuchl’s comments about female instrumentalists this was quite a surprise when she was appointed. Having studied with Samoyhl and Pichler the rationale up to a few years ago were to have violinists from the traditional Viennese Violin School as you mentioned. Nowadays it has been harder I believe to recruit violinists from the traditional Viennese String School as it were. Now the orchestra has become slightly more forward looking they have been taking instrumentalists from different countries which they declined to do in the past.

  • JohnB says:

    In the case of José Maria Blumenschein, the situation was different; he was an experienced concertmaster (Philadelphia, Cologne, Bayreuth) who was beyond any doubt about his playing and leadership qualities, but who voluntarily decided that he no longer wanted to swim in the scheming Viennese shark tank.

    With Fedor Rudin, it was actually clear from the beginning that he would not fit into “this” orchestra. He is a talented (if often somewhat sloppy) violinist, but he had neither experience as a concertmaster nor as an orchestral musician at all, and as a personality he was simply not suited for this orchestra. The decision to pursue a soloist career was not as voluntary as is suggested here.