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Classical 101

Podcast: In the Key of D?anzmayr Concertmaster Part 1

You’re attending a concert,the orchestra is in place, except for one empty chair. Then you hear footsteps, out strides a lone violinist who bows, turns to the audience, and give the oboist the cue to play an ‘A.’ Soon, the entire orchestra is awash in last-minute tuning before the performance begins. This identical scene plays out day after day with orchestras the world over. The concertmaster is the last musician onstage before the conductor - and any soloist in, say, a concerto. What does the Concertmaster do? Is that it? No. There is much more you never see. Conductor Leonard Slatkin had this to say about the Concertmaster: "The concertmaster has to establish with the music director a consistent method of bowing, phrasing and overall sound, which in turn is conveyed to the string section, who make up the majority of the players in an orchestra.â€? I asked ProMusica Music Director David Danzmayr about the role of the Concertmaster. Over the next few podcasts, he looks at this very important position.