Sunday, January 10, 2010

For He's a Jolly Good Fellow!

At this weeks Masterworks performances, the KSO will be honoring concertmaster Mark Zelmanovich, who will be retiring at the end of this season.

This is a difficult post for me to write because I owe a lot to Mark. There is no way that I can repay him for all he has taught me in a single blog post. Nor do I want this to sound like a eulogy. Mark has spent the last 24 years serving as concertmaster of the KSO. The organization owes him a debt that is immeasurable.

Watching Mark for the past 10 years has taught me how to be a good principal. I was 22 years old and fresh out of college when I joined the KSO as principal violist. It was (is) my first major job. Before I came here I had played principal in a few smaller orchestras, but it was nothing like this. Sitting near him, I've also picked up a eensy bit of Russian and learned some great jokes. (None of which I shall repeat here.) Mark has traveled around the world making music. He has played with great artists and conductors as a soloist as well as an orchestral player. His wealth of knowledge of violin repertoire and technique is vast. I always have to laugh, because invariably when we stop playing during rehearsal he will find some way to turn whatever we've been playing into some violin concerto or piece. Mark is an amazing musician and I'm sad to see him retire.

Although the KSO is celebrating Mark this week, he is not retiring until the end of the season. In fact, in May he will be the featured soloist for Ben-Haim's Concerto Grosso on the final Chamber Classics concert of the season.

For now, though, I lift my bottle to you, Mark. (Forget the glass!) I wish you great happiness in retirement.

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