Pittsburgh finally finds a concertmaster in Vienna

Pittsburgh finally finds a concertmaster in Vienna


norman lebrecht

June 23, 2022

After seven years of auditioning some of the world’s finest leaders, the Pittsburgh Symphony last night hired a new leader.

He is David McCarroll, violinist of the Vienna Piano Trio.

California born, McCarroll studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School in England, then in Boston and Berlin.

He made his concerto debut with the London Mozart Players in 2002 and has since appeared as soloist with many orchestras.

The press release adds:

In addition to music, David maintains an active interest in social concerns including the needs of those impacted by the AIDS pandemic and is currently working on projects of the Starcross Community to help AIDS orphans in Africa. He has played in programs encouraging world peace promoted by the Fellowship of Reconciliation and has given benefit concerts for Doctors Without Borders. With other members of his family, David has worked to get strings to young music students in Cuba where such items are very difficult to obtain. David plays a 1761 violin made by A&J Gagliano.

“It was clear to me from the first opportunity I had to work with David that he possessed all the characteristics we have been looking for in a great concertmaster for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Over our search, which was led by Mary Persin, our Vice President of Artistic Planning, we saw many outstanding candidates, but David made an immediate and profound impression. Together with our Concertmaster Committee, we voted unanimously to offer him the job,“ said Manfred Honeck, Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. “David is an exceptional leader, a brilliant technician, an accomplished chamber musician who plays with great musicality and a generous and character-filled tone. He is respected throughout our industry as a world-class violinist who makes a deep impact wherever he plays. He will bring great leadership through his collegial spirit and superb musicianship. I am excited for our Pittsburgh audience to get to know him both musically and personally and I know that he will enrich the musical life of our city through our work together with the orchestra. I am thrilled that David is joining us and look forward to making music together for many years to come.” 


  • Axl says:

    Never heard this guy but he must be definetly more than extra level excellent violinist (because Noah B-B’s old chair). So congrats to him and wishing many succesful years or decades in Pittsburgh!

  • V.Lind says:

    Pittsburgh is shaping up to be a first-tier orchestra. It’s good already, and it seems to be propelling onward and upward.

    It’s a community I hear good things about, too. This guy sounds like a peach — I suspect he will do very well there.

    • perturbo says:

      Pittsburgh has been a first-tier orchestra for a long time.

    • Guest says:

      Pittsburgh has been a first tier orchestra since the 1940’s. Ever heard of Reiner or Steinberg?

      • MWnyc says:

        Or Previn or Maazel?

      • David K. Nelson says:

        And before the 1940s: Otto Klemperer.

        Moreover, Pittsburgh had great concertmasters since the 78 rpm era as well. Hugo Kolberg’s Heldenleben is always worth rehearing. Samuel Thaviu was a major violinist in his time.

        • Amos says:

          If I recall correctly Mr. Thaviu was TCO concertmaster who resigned midway through his first season when he learned that GS had already hired Mr. Gingold to replace him.

    • Hri says:

      Pittsburgh has been a first tier orchestra for decades….

    • Harold Sacks says:

      Maestro Manfred Honeck has burnished a fine instrumental band into a force that is internationally recognized and respected. He has had many offers, but it seems he prefers to stay in Pittsburgh.

  • A says:

    Beautiful player and a very special person. They are very lucky to have him.

  • JB says:

    Why did this take 7 years ? McCarroll was not available or interested before ?

  • chris says:

    Great news ! For the past seven years it was like seeing the quarterback of a rival team come in each week and sub for the hometown quarterback …. It will be nice now to have a permanent face now in its place !

  • alma regina says:

    How comfortable to be offered a job like that just on recommendation, without having to go through the challenging, nerv-wracking and work-intense process called job-audition… practical to be friends with conductor of an orchestra with concertmaster-vacancy.

    • Drink Water says:

      It doesn’t appear that McCarroll has ever played in a top professional orchestra, nor has he appeared as a soloist with a comparable orchestra to Pittsburgh, or served as concertmaster anywhere before being hired by the PSO. I listened to him play. It’s very average pedestrian playing – not bad but nothing exceptional. He has a smallish sound and average facility. It’s hard for me to believe Pittsburgh waited 7 years for this to be the end of their search with all of the talent out there. I know the PSO initially really wanted to hire Alexi Kenney who plays slightly better than this guy but Kenney turned the offer down.

    • Relax says:

      I’m as much frustrated by the private audition and invited-trialists culture in the big orchestras as anyone, but for concertmaster of a big group it makes a significant amount of sense.

      The best of the best aren’t going to fly to Pittsburgh at their own expense and spend 3 days playing an audition starting from the prelims.

      It’s pretty simple. The people who want that job badly enough to spend months preparing and show up to an audition where the odds of success are slim and the chances of a no-hire are high, are not the people whose talents are in high demand elsewhere.

      The Patriots didn’t hold open tryouts to replace Tom Brady and ask other NFL and D1 stars to come to a pre-draft workout. A Fortune 500 company doesn’t accept resumes on Indeed for a CEO position. Orchestras don’t hold open auditions for their music directors. Casting directors don’t hold open auditions for most major film roles.

      When you’re already at the top of any field, you’ve proven yourself worthy of an invitation to be considered for further opportunity. Call it unfair, but it’s not unique to the orchestra world.

      • Anon says:

        You would be surprised how many times an auditionee who failed to pass the screen round for a high profile principal position is later invited privately and offered the position.

        • Relax says:

          While I suppose this wouldn’t entirely surprise me, I’ve never verifiably heard of such a thing happening. And I’d be interested to know exactly to whom you’re referring and how it is you can be 100% sure it’s true.

          I’ve certainly heard those sorts of accusations made before, but I’ve never seen them proven.

          In nearly every audition circumstance among the big ensembles, screened or not, someone cries foul and rumors spread. In most cases they are verifiably false, but that doesn’t stop the keyboard warriors in this comment section from claiming them to be true, without evidence.

        • Larry W says:

          Name one.

    • PghViolin says:

      David played trial weeks and the same “final round“ audition (solo & orchestral excerpts) every other candidate played, and received a unanimous vote from the audition committee, including Manfred Honeck (who has veto power in hiring).

      I understand the cynicism and frustration, but as a 20 year member of the orchestra and a member of the audition committee, I can say with confidence that this audition was on the up and up. Noah and Andres had set the bar very high, and we are delighted to welcome him to Pittsburgh!


  • Stan says:

    Tall white guy who plays well gets an opportunity to learn on the job. (Repeat). What if elite orchestras actually ever hired women in leadership roles?

  • Stan says:

    Pittsburgh has hired only one woman to a leadership role in 15 years. Cleveland has only a female harp principal. These institutions are entirely run by white men for white men.

  • Craig in LA says:

    It baffles me how long it can take major orchestras to fill principal positions nowadays, with important jobs sometimes going unfilled for a decade or more. Surely orchestra personnel departments know where the significant talent is, so should be able to recruit and hire more quickly. Major sports teams hire new coaches in days, or maybe a few weeks, but it took Pittsburgh seven years to find a concertmaster? Can anyone offer an explanation for this?

    • Erin says:

      Huge committee that can’t agree on anything, plus an indecisive/insecure MD who apparently has no contacts in the business, despite having a violinist brother.

  • MarkCal says:

    Worthwhile to note that Cleveland recently announced its concertmaster pick and Boston’s slot is still open. That’s some hefty competition for Pittsburgh to fill its slot, although 7 years is a long time even with the COVID interruptions. I don’t know if Cleveland did a concert audition for David Radzynski. I read that he played in Pittsburgh and auditioned for Boston. Yet apparently he was thought to be a better fit for Cleveland. These orchestras all sound terrific so let’s hope their new concertmasters help to take them even further.