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DSO Names Concertmaster, Co-Concertmaster

by Stephen Becker 1 Feb 2011 4:51 PM

The DSO goes young in picking a pair of new violinists.


The Dallas Symphony Orchestra has named Indiana University violin professor Alexander Kerr as its new concertmaster. The 40-year-old Kerr, who is currently the principal guest concertmaster for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, takes over for Emanuel Borok, who retired last year.

Sitting next to Kerr will be 24-year-old Nathan Olson, who the DSO named co-concertmaster. Olson, who is currently the  Canton Symphony concertmaster, will take over for Kerr when Kerr is not playing with the orchestra.

Keep reading for the news release:

DALLAS, TX (February 1, 2011)—The Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO) announced today the appointment of Alexander Kerr as concertmaster and Nathan Olson as co-concertmaster of the orchestra, effective September 1, 2011. This is the first time in DSO history that the orchestra has had both a concertmaster and co-concertmaster. The Michael L. Rosenberg concertmaster chair has been vacant since former DSO Concertmaster Emanuel Borok retired in August 2010

Kerr (pronounced “Car”), 40, is currently Professor of Music (Violin) at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington and Principal Guest Concertmaster with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. From 1996 until 2006, he was concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, coincidentally following DSO Music Director Jaap van Zweden in that post. Kerr has also served as concertmaster of the Aspen Music Festival Orchestra and Chamber Symphony, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.

“Alexander Kerr is a master of the violin, with great experience as concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,” confirmed van Zweden. “He is one of the most sought after concertmasters in the world, so we’re extremely happy that he decided to join us.”

In the 2011-12 concert season, Kerr will perform 12 weeks with the DSO, coinciding with the weeks van Zweden is on the podium, in addition to performances at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, the orchestra’s summer residency. During the following years, he will perform a minimum of 16 weeks with the Dallas Symphony.

“We had outstanding prospects for our Concertmaster position, and Alex stood out,” said Paul Stewart, interim President of the DSO. “His experience and leadership will also be very helpful as we add new musicians and pursue the other initiatives of our Great Orchestra Project. Adding a co-concertmaster will give great strength and flexibility to an already outstanding violin section.

Olson, 24, is currently concertmaster of the Canton Symphony and a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Cleveland Orchestra Concertmaster William Preucil. Olson served as the DSO’s guest concertmaster this past October, working with Mr. Van Zweden in acclaimed performances of Shostakovich’s Eighth Symphony. He has also served as guest concertmaster with the Toronto, Omaha and Tucson Symphonies and is a substitute violinist with the Cleveland Orchestra.

“Nathan Olson is a young and very gifted violinist, who will develop enormously together with our orchestra, and who will give a youthful dynamic to our music making,” said van Zweden.

As co-concertmaster, Olson will sit second chair, first stand (next to the concertmaster) when Kerr is performing with the Dallas Symphony. When Kerr is not performing, Olson will occupy the concertmaster’s chair. Kerr will next perform as guest concertmaster with DSO, February 10-13, 2011, on a program that includes Wagner’s Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde; Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet; Shostakovich’s Romance from The Gadfly; and Richard Strauss’ Suite from Der Rosenkavalier. Kerr and Olson will perform together for the first time on Mahler’s Symphony No. 6, March 24-26, 2011.

Tickets to these performances are $23-$118 and are available on-line at, or by phone at 214-692-0203.