The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra’s Concertmaster, Gabriel Lefkowitz, will conclude his tenure as Concertmaster of the KSO in Spring 2017, making the upcoming 2016-2017 season his final season with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Lefkowitz has accepted the Concertmaster position at the Louisville Orchestra in Louisville, KY.
“We have been thrilled to feature Gabriel Lefkowitz as Concertmaster for the past five years, beginning with the 2011-2012 season,” said Executive Director Rachel Ford. “His virtuosic talent as Concertmaster and his skill as a communicator, in tandem with his leadership skills, have truly elevated the KSO’s artistic product. At the same time, Gabriel has won fans throughout East Tennessee as he generously shared his talents with our community. The Board, musicians and staff of the KSO will continue to follow him and support his success for years to come.”
“It is with an overwhelming sense of gratitude and love for the Knoxville community that I make the 2016-2017 season my last as Concertmaster of the KSO,” said Gabriel Lefkowitz. “This incredible organization, its staff, musicians, and supporters have been my family since 2011 and I feel a deep sense of pride in the music we’ve made together for the past 5 years. I look to the future of the KSO with the utmost optimism and excitement, especially with Aram at the helm. This upcoming season will be one of the most exciting ever for the KSO and I am excited for its many highlights, including the KSO Concertmaster Series, Gabriel Lefkowitz and Friends — which I hope will enjoy its best year ever!”
Mr. Lefkowitz won the position of KSO Concertmaster in 2011, succeeding the KSO’s previous Concertmaster, Mark Zelmanovich, who retired in 2010 after holding the position for 24 years. During the 2012-13 season, the KSO established a new and intimate concert series programmed by Gabriel entitled “Merchant & Gould Concertmaster Series: Gabriel Lefkowitz & Friends”. The series highlighted not only the talent of Mr. Lefkowitz, but provided a close-up concert experience with small KSO ensembles led by Gabriel. Upon its launch, the Concertmaster Series was a huge success – so much so that the KSO added a second date to each of the three original performance nights due to popular demand. For its first two seasons, the Concertmaster Series took place at the former Remedy Coffee House in the Old City before relocating to a larger space at the Knoxville Museum of Art in 2014. For the past two seasons, the Concertmaster Series has sustained steady growth with three pair of concerts attended by approximately 200 patrons per night.
As Gabriel Lefkowitz enters his sixth and final season as KSO Concertmaster, he will perform as featured soloist in March 2017 on the Moxley Carmichael Masterworks Series held at the Tennessee Theatre: Brahms’ Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major, Op. 77. He will also perform three pair of concerts on the Merchant & Gould Concertmaster Series: Gabriel Lefkowitz & Friends held at the Knoxville Museum of Art.
In addition to his work as a violinist, Gabriel also conducts and composes scores for films and video games. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Columbia University where he graduated magna cum laude and a Master’s degree in Violin Performance from The Juilliard School where he studied with Joel Smirnoff and Masao Kawasaki.
The Concertmaster position, or principal violin chair, is responsible for leading the string sections of an orchestra with physical cues and bow gestures to indicate tempo or further emphasize markings in a piece of music and taking cues from a conductor. As the concertmaster follows cues from the conductor, it is his job to convey those messages to the rest of the performers. In addition to the conductor, the concertmaster also acts as a musical leader in understanding the needs of an orchestra, from tuning the orchestra on stage to being an active representative of the orchestra in the community.
The process to hold auditions for the KSO’s next concertmaster will begin in the fall of 2016 with finalists invited to perform with the KSO during Masterworks weeks in the spring of 2017. Finalists will each perform a public solo recital during their audition week. The KSO plans to announce the orchestra’s next Concertmaster in Summer 2017.
About the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra
Established in 1935, and now under the leadership of Music Director Aram Demirjian, the KSO has contributed to the cultural life in East Tennessee continuously for 80 years, providing excellence in musical and educational programs. The Orchestra consists of 80 professional musicians and performs 250 programs throughout the region each season, reaching audiences of more than 200,000 people. The KSO performs in traditional venues such as the Tennessee Theatre, Bijou Theatre and the Civic Auditorium as well as non-traditional places like hospitals, schools, city parks and churches. For more information regarding the KSO, please call 865-291-3310.