This season will be the last for longtime Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Frank Almond, the organization announced today.
Almond will step down at the end of the 2019-20 season, after serving as MSO’s concertmaster for 25 seasons.
Concertmaster, the leader of the string section and first violin, is considered the most prestigious and visible role within the orchestra, and serves as the liaison between the orchestra and music director.
“It has been an immeasurable honor to serve under the direction of such transformative and insightful music directors, and to perform with superb musicians who are treasured by this wonderful community,” Almond said. “When I first started with the MSO, I never could have imagined the journey I’ve uniquely experienced. And while my passion for performing has never waned, now is the right time for me and my family to begin a new chapter. I’m excited by what’s in store for this season and look forward to continuing to contribute to the artistic vibrancy of both the MSO and Milwaukee in the years ahead.”
Almond served under the direction of former music directors Andreas Delfs and Edo de Waart, and current music director Ken-David Masur.
After the 2019-20 season, Almond will remain with the orchestra as an artistic advisor.
“Frank Almond’s dedication, passion and mastery of his craft has endeared him to his colleagues, our patrons, students, partners and so many others,” Masur, said. “His musical talents are world class, yet he remains uniquely approachable to all those he meets. Over the years, Frank has given so much of himself to the MSO, to Milwaukee and to his craft, and has earned every accolade bestowed upon him. I’m honored to have the opportunity to partner with Frank during his last season performing with the orchestra and am grateful he will remain part of the MSO family into the future.”
The MSO will close its current season with Everyone Sang by contemporary composer Helen Grime, with Almond performing Bruch’s Violin Concerto.
The orchestra will soon begin an international search for a new concertmaster.
“Frank and I have worked together for many years,” said Mark Niehaus, president and executive director of MSO. “We were students together at Juilliard, served as colleagues in the orchestra, and collaborated to expand the reach and impact of the MSO. In those ways and so many others, Frank is indelibly united with our MSO family. I’m looking forward to joining our orchestra, patrons and community in celebrating Frank and his many accomplishments throughout this season.”
This is also the MSO’s final season performing in the Uihlein Hall at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Milwaukee. Work is on schedule for the orchestra to move into its new home, the former Warner Grand Theatre at 212 W. Wisconsin Ave. by September 2020.