Seattle Symphony’s Concertmaster, Alexander Velinzon, has announced that he will leave his position with the orchestra at the end of this season to return to the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO). Velinzon, who joined the Seattle Symphony in the 2012–2013 season, is now in his third season with the orchestra.
Velinzon said, "I want to express my gratitude to Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony for a wonderful three seasons. I'm proud to have been part of this organization at such an exciting time, however, I feel that professionally and personally the BSO is the right place for me at this time. I'm looking forward to returning to Boston."
“Alex is a wonderful artist. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to share his talents with our orchestra and community. I’m grateful for the many hours of music we made together, and sincerely wish him all the best for his future in Boston,” Seattle Symphony Music Director Ludovic Morlot said.
The Seattle Symphony will hold auditions next season to fill the Concertmaster position.
A violinist with an international reputation, Velinzon has performed with such distinguished conductors as James Levine, Kurt Masur, Sir Colin Davis and Christoph von Dohnanyi. As a guest concertmaster he has appeared with the Pittsburgh Symphony, London Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Seoul Philharmonic, Germany’s WDR Symphony Orchestra and NDR Radio Philharmonic.
In the sphere of chamber music, violinists Gil Shaham and Hilary Hahn, as well as cellist Wendy Warner, have numbered among Velinzon’s partners. Since arriving in Seattle, he has performed with the Seattle Chamber Music Society.
In Boston he is a long-standing member of the Walden Chamber Players, a co-founder of the LiveArts string quartet and has appeared with the Boston Symphony Chamber Players. In New York, he performs frequently with the Jupiter Chamber Players. In 2010 Velinzon made his critically acclaimed debut at London’s Wigmore Hall with the Soloists of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Velinzon's recent solo highlights include critically acclaimed performances of the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Seattle Symphony under the baton of Ludovic Morlot, and the Schnittke Violin Concerto with the Seattle Symphony as well as appearances with University of Washington Symphony Orchestra and Cascade Symphony Orchestra.
Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Alexander Velinzon graduated from the Leningrad School for Gifted Children. After moving to the United States, he studied with renowned pedagogue Dorothy DeLay at The Juilliard School, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. His success at the Heida Hermanns Competition, Tibor Varga Competition and at the Artist International Young Artists Auditions, led to his New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. On that occasion The Strad praised him as “very musical and intensely serious.”
Velinzon’s New York concerto debut came in 1999, when he performed Paganini’s Concerto No. 1 with the Jupiter Symphony. He played at New York City Center as both soloist and concertmaster for the Paul Taylor Dance Company, and has performed concertos with the Absolute Ensemble and Metamorphoses Orchestra in New York, the Rondo Chamber Orchestra touring the United States and Venezuela, and appeared with the National Symphony of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
He joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2000 and became Assistant Concertmaster in 2005, before being appointed Seattle Symphony’s David & Amy Fulton Concertmaster in 2012.
Founded in 1903, the Seattle Symphony is one of America’s leading symphony orchestras and is internationally acclaimed for its innovative programming and extensive recording history. Under the leadership of Music Director Ludovic Morlot since September 2011, the Symphony is heard live from September through July by more than 300,000 people. It performs in one of the finest modern concert halls in the world — the acoustically superb Benaroya Hall — in downtown Seattle. Its extensive education and community-engagement programs reach over 100,000 children and adults each year. The Seattle Symphony has a deep commitment to new music, commissioning many works by living composers each season, including John Luther Adams’ recent Become Ocean, which won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Music and a 2015 Grammy for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. The orchestra has made more than 140 recordings and has received 18 Grammy nominations, two Emmy Awards and numerous other accolades. In 2014 the Symphony launched its in-house recording label, Seattle Symphony Media.