Thursday, September 07, 2017

San Francisco Symphony Personnel Changes

Received from SFS this morning:
1st Violin:     Mark Volkert will retire after the opening week concerts.

Bass:    Daniel Gregory Smith will begin his Audition Year as Associate Principal Bass.

Oboe:    James Button will begin his Audition Year as Associate Principal Oboe.

Horn:    Daniel Hawkins will begin his Audition Year as Utility Horn.

Trumpet:        Raymond Riccomini will fill the position of Acting Associate Principal Trumpet as a one-year sub.

Trombone:        Nick Platoff will begin his Probationary Year as Associate Principal Trombone.

Library:         We are concluding our Assistant Librarian audition in October of 2017, and will have more information about how the position of Assistant Librarian will be filled at the conclusion of that audition process.

So, that first item. It should have read as follows:
Assistant Concertmaster Mark Volkert, the longest-serving member of the orchestra, will retire after the opening week concerts.
This is a big deal! He has been in the orchestra for more than 40 years; I believe he joined right out of college or conservatory. And he holds an important position, as one of the four members of the orchestra authorized and qualified to sit in the concertmaster's seat. (The others are Concertmaster Alexander Barantschik, Associate Concertmaster Nadya Tichman, and Assistant Concertmaster Jeremy Constant, who shares a stand with Volkert.)

(And I will note that I spotted this some time back, because I read the auditions pages for SFS and SFO assiduously. It's a publicly-available source of interesting information that you don't always hear about for a while.)

The other really interesting bit is James Button's audition year as Associate Principal Oboe. The oboe section has not been fully staffed with permanent personnel since the 2011-12 season, the last with the late William Bennett as principal oboe and Jonathan Fischer as associate principal. Fischer was on a trial year as Houston's principal oboe in 2012-13, and it was in February, 2013 that Bennett tragically died.

Christopher Gaudi has spent a good bit of the last several seasons as acting associate principal or acting principal oboe, doing a fine job under sometimes-difficult circumstances. Hearty thanks from here and hoping he has work elsewhere.

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