An American concertmaster plays his last

An American concertmaster plays his last


norman lebrecht

October 14, 2021

Milwaukee says farewell this weekend to the much loved Frank Almond.

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

Frank Almond is many things.

A violin virtuoso. A widower raising two teenage daughters. A 57-year-old who has come to realize that however you might draw up a schedule, however long you practice in a rehearsal room, stuff happens, life intervenes.

Along the way, you might even become the victim of a robbery, a prized Stradivarius violin taken one winter’s night in 2014 and recovered a little more than a week later in a Milwaukee attic.

For 25 years, Almond was concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the first violin who sat just to the left of the conductor.

He was supposed to end his MSO tenure in musical glory at the conclusion of the 2019-20 season with a capstone performance of Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto….

Read on here.



  • Jack says:

    Just to clarify, Frank Almond announced his retirement as MSO concertmaster around two years ago. And he is not leaving Milwaukee. In fact, his “Frankly Music” chamber series is in its 18th year, as the article mentions.

  • Pierre says:

    That was a touching article. Thanks

  • Frank Flambeau says:

    He’s extremely talented and Milwaukee seems to be exploding in musical activities now under Music Director, Ken David Masur. Almond is just now playing the Bruch concerto with the MSO in a newly renovated center ($90 million) that just opened, fundraising is up, community engagement is excellent.

  • Frank Flambeau says:

    Milwaukee has greatly benefited from its close proximity to Chicago. Lots of Illinois license plates in Milwaukee when the MSO performs because for many, it is closer, much cheaper and perhaps just as good as the fabulous CSO, and there is a plethora of excellent players and music training institutes (like Northwestern U., Roosevelt U., the University of Wisconsin, Madison and Milwaukee) in the area, meaning lots of top talent is available.

    One reason for the MSO’s success has been Frank Almond, a Juilliard grad, who will still be around although he has indeed retired as concertmaster (in fact, he’s playing Bruch with the MSO even as this is being typed) and he has an internationally-followed blog there. He is intelligent, an excellent player, and has good ties with the community. He will wisely continue on as an artistic adviser to the MSO; he is a close associate of Maestro Ken-David Masur who has achieved wonders in Milwaukee in just a few years.

    • Kyle A Wiedmeyer says:

      Right you are, I just attended their performance of the Bruch concerto with Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, and the performance of the latter may have been one of their best performances of any piece since I started seeing them regularly, about ten years ago.