The Berlin Philharmonic announced today that their new 1st Concertmaster will be Noah Bendix-Balgley, who is (gasp!) an American. Yes, I know that Americans have held jobs — even principal positions — with the Philharmoniker before (Carrie Dennis, the current Principal Viola of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, held the same position with the Berlin Phil before joining the local band).
Still, this is major news and there’s little doubt that the young violinist is, as a certain fictitious San Diego anchorman might say, “kind of a big deal.” In case you need any more evidence: note that as of 2:45pm PST, his webpage appears to have crashed, likely do to the number of people across the globe trying to learn more about him.
Mr. Bendix-Balgley was born in 1984 in North Carolina. He is a graduate of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University and a prize winner at important violin competitions in Brussels and Paris. In 2011, he became Concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony, taking over for the retired Andrés Cárdenes.
He will fill the chair vacated by Guy Braunstein, a 13-year veteran of the BPO who had never worked in a professional orchestra until being named to the hot seat in Berlin. Mr. Braunstein left the Berlin Phil last year to pursue a solo career.
No word yet on when Mr. Bendix-Balgley will officially begin his tenure in Germany. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review quotes the PSO press release as saying that he will play in Pittsburgh “into next season,” whatever that means exactly. At a minimum, he’ll still be playing the solo violin parts in the PSO’s performances of the Khachaturian Violin Concerto (Krzysztof Urbanski conducting) and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola (with the PSO’s Principal Viola, Randolph Kelly, conducted by PSO Music Director, Manfred Honeck).
Congrats to Mr. Bendix-Balgley on the new opportunity and best of luck in Berlin!
- The announcement by the Berlin Philharmonic is HERE.
- The story in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is HERE
Photo credit: Rob Davidson