New concertmaster, 22, in Copenhagen

New concertmaster, 22, in Copenhagen


norman lebrecht

June 16, 2021

The Copenhagen Philharmonic has signed a musician from the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester as its new concertmaster.

She is Roberta Verna from Würzburg and she plays a 1703 Stradivarius on loan from the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben.



  • SMH says:

    A 22 year old concertmaster? Let’s finally address the age discrimination against experienced, older musicians. The audition process discriminates against experience in favor of abstract skills displayed in a vacuum. Would a Fortune 500 company hire top execs who are 22?

    • Interested observer says:

      With 4 rounds (behind a screen until the final rounds) & a video round, I highly doubt discrimination against age, gender, etc. played any part whatsoever. Perhaps you should do more background research about the fair selection process before firing shots…

    • Algot says:

      Hindemith was a concertmaster at 21. Initially there was some trouble because his sight-reading was so good that they thought he had been tipped off…Roberta’s audition is out there for everyone to hear and see on YouTube: there’s nothing to say. Her Strauss “don Juan” excerpt is flawless. These are not abstract skills. In music, if you are gifted AND work hard, you can start honing your skills as a concertmaster and/or soloist much earlier than a CEO for a major company. What is the problem?

      • Vienna says:

        That was a good Don Juan? Not really. But i liked her Mozart concerto. Excerpt of Mozart was also quite average with some rushing moments and strange mannerisms. Is she too young for this position – definitely for most of orchestras. But sorry to say – we are talking here Copenhagen Philharmonic… Is she a good player? Yes, but like many others who didn’t get the place. Quite likely luck + Strad made a difference in this case.

        • Interested Observer says:

          The video you saw was a preselection as the first of 5 rounds. As such an expert, you surely know that it’s not based on just one YouTube video 😉

        • pescho says:

          Maybe you should ask yourself why she plays a Strad, not everyone gets a violin like that just like that. She certainly didn’t get this violin because she plays like many others.

  • Tom Jersey says:

    @SMH: Isn’t that exaxcly what you are doing ourself by writing? Age discrimination!
    If I look right into the season of Copenhagen Philharmonic they also hired 82 year old Eschenbach and 78 year old Hartmut Haenchen.
    Both Rune Tonsgaard and Frederik Oland (Danish String Quartett) joined the same orchestra as concert masters in a pretty young age btw.
    Music is universal. Not about age.

    • Ashu says:

      [Music is universal. Not about age.]

      In the context of this discussion, this is meaningless pseudo-profundity.

  • BRUCEB says:

    Funny how “age is just a number” is something only said about old people…

  • Grancino says:

    Jealousy in some of the comments here: go practice and do better which I doubt you will as otherwise your attitude would be different. She is a wonderful violinist and was selected after five rounds by a highly professional orchestra with a history dating back to 1843. Hats off to her and good luck!