Press Room

Houston Symphony Announces Appointment of New Concertmaster: Yoonshin Song

HOUSTON (April 23, 2019) – Following an extensive search spanning more than three years, the Houston Symphony and Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada announce the appointment of Yoonshin Song as its concertmaster and holder of the Max Levine Chair beginning in the 2019−2020 Season. She succeeds Frank Huang in this position, who left the Houston Symphony at the end of the 2015−2016 Season to take an equivalent position with the New York Philharmonic.

Song performs as concertmaster for all three of the Houston Symphony classical subscription concerts in May 2019. She returns for opening night of the 2019−2020 season, September 14, 2019, with Detroit Symphony Music Director Leonard Slatkin leading an all-Russian program including Glinka’s Kamarinskaya, Tchaikovsky’s Cappriccio Italien, and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.3 with Yefim Bronfman.

“The appointment of the right concertmaster is crucial to the advancement of the artistic goals of any orchestra,” said Houston Symphony Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada. “Yoonshin’s exceptional musicality, artistry, experience, and personality made her our unanimous choice. I am thrilled that she will be joining us and look forward to working with her, knowing that she will enrich the musical life of our city through our work together with the orchestra.”

Song won the concertmaster position from a field of 39 candidates, 17 of whom performed with the Houston Symphony as guest concertmaster. She most recently appeared with the Houston Symphony in November 2018 as guest concertmaster for a program that featured such disparate and challenging repertoire as Scriabin’s The Poem of Ecstasy, Strauss’ “Dance of the Seven Veils” from Salome, and Kurt Weill’s “sung ballet” The Seven Deadly Sins.

“Yoonshin made a profound impression in November when she stepped in at the last minute in a very difficult program,” explained Houston Symphony Executive Director, CEO, and holder of the Margaret Alkek Williams Chair John Mangum, “which included two rarely performed works by Scriabin and Weill. All of us were delighted when she decided to audition for the position, and our musicians and Andrés voted unanimously to offer her the job. I think she’ll be a great leader for the orchestra, and that she will make a significant contribution to the artistry and impact of the Houston Symphony. I’m thrilled she’ll be joining us.”

“You would expect it to be a difficult week but it wasn’t,” added Song. “Perhaps because there was no time to think; there was a phone call and then a couple hours later I was on a plane to Houston. But most importantly because the Houston Symphony musicians were so warm and welcoming and willing to work together. The rest was just the pleasure of making music.”

Since 2012, Song has been the Concertmaster of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and has enjoyed close collaborations with inspiring guest artists such as Gil Shaham, Joshua Bell, and Jamie Laredo.

She spends three weeks in fall 2019 performing as concertmaster of the Budapest Festival Orchestra on tour in Vienna, London, Baden-Baden, and Hamburg.

She has earned many prestigious prizes throughout her career, with highlights including top prize awards in the Lipizer International Violin Competition (Italy), Lipinski & Wieniawski International Violin Competition (Poland), Henry Marteau International Violin Competition (Germany), and first prize at the Stradivarius International Competition in the United States. In her native South Korea, Song has won virtually all the major national competitions.

As a soloist, she has performed with many orchestras around the world—including the Detroit Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the Utah Symphony, New Mexico Philharmonic Orchestra, Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, the Paul Constantinescu Philharmonic Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, and KBS Philharmonic Orchestra.

She has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician in numerous music festivals, including Marlboro Music Festival, Deer Valley Music Festival, the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival in the US, Miyazaki Chamber Music Festival in Japan and Verbier Festival, Lucerne Festival, and Bayreuth Music Festival in Europe.

Acclaimed as “a wonderfully talented violinist… whose sound and technique go well beyond her years,” violinist Song was born in South Korea, where she began her musical studies at age 5. Making her solo debut with the Seoul Philharmonic at age 11, she has since built a successful performing career throughout Korea, the United States, and Europe.

About the Houston Symphony
During the 2018−19 season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its fifth season with Music Director Andrés Orozco- Estrada and continues its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. The Houston Symphony, one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas, held its inaugural performance at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $33.9 million, the full-time ensemble of 88 professional musicians presents nearly 170 concerts annually, making it the largest performing arts organization in Houston. Additionally, musicians of the orchestra and the Symphony’s four Community-Embedded Musicians offer over 900 community-based performances each year, reaching hundreds of thousands of people in Greater Houston.

The Grammy Award-winning Houston Symphony has recorded under various prestigious labels, including Naxos, Koch International Classics, Telarc, RCA Red Seal, Virgin Classics, and, most recently, Dutch recording label PENTATONE. In 2017, the Houston Symphony was awarded an ECHO Klassik award for the live recording of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck under the direction of former Music Director Hans Graf. The orchestra earned its first Grammy nomination and Grammy Award at the 60th annual ceremony for the same recording in the Best Opera Recording category.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Eric Skelly: 713.337.8560,
[email protected]

Mireya Reyna: 713.337.8557,
[email protected]

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