Violinist Frank Almond holds the Charles and Marie Caestecker Concertmaster Chair at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He returned to the MSO after holding positions as concertmaster of the Rotterdam Philharmonic with Valery Gergiev, and guest concertmaster of the London Philharmonic with Kurt Masur. Other guest concertmaster appearances have included the Seattle, Montreal, and Dallas symphonies and the Grand Tetons Music Festival. He continues an active schedule of solo and chamber music performances in the United States and abroad, including appearances with the Ojai Festival,Frankly Music, An die Musik, the Nara Academy in Nara, Japan, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Music in the Vineyards, and various solo appearances with orchestras. He has been a member of the chamber group An die Musik in New York City since 1997, and also founded and directs the much-loved Frankly Music Chamber Series based in Milwaukee. At 17, he was one of the youngest prizewinners in the history of the Nicolo Paganini Competition in Genoa, Italy, and five years later was one of two American prizewinners at the Eighth International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, which was documented in an award-winning PBS film. Since then, he has kept up an eclectic mix of activities in addition to his concertmaster duties, appearing both as a soloist and chamber musician.
In addition to his work with An die Musik, Mr. Almond’s work as a chamber musician has generated collaborations over the years with many of today’s well-known institutions, including the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Hal Leonard Corporation, Ravinia Festival, La Jolla Summerfest, Music in the Vineyards, and numerous other summer festivals.
He has recorded for Summit, Albany, Boolean (his own label), Innova, Newport Classic, Wergo, and New Albion and has appeared numerous times on NPR’s Performance Today. In both 2002 and 2004, An die Musik received Grammy nominations for its “Timeless Tales” series. The re-release of Mr. Almond’s recording of the complete Brahms Sonatas, performed in collaboration with pianist William Wolfram, brought extraordinary critical acclaim and was also listed in the American Record Guide top recordings of 2001.
With pianist William Wolfram, a CD of sonatas by Respighi, Janacek, and Strauss was released on the AVIE label, and was named a “Best of 2007″ by the American Record Guide. His latest CD of American violin and piano music was released on Innova Recordings with pianist Brian Zeger and has also garnered much press enthusiasm. A CD of selected works of Samuel Barber was released in 2010, in cooperation with the Hal Leonard Corporation. In April 2013, AVIE released “A Violin’s Life,” featuring works and composers directly associated with the “Lipinski” Stradivarius, charting in the Billboard Top 10 in its first week of release. It has received notable press in major news outlets and was recently featured in a full program of interviews and excerpts on SiriusXM Radio’s Symphony Hall channel.
Mr. Almond holds two degrees from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Dorothy DeLay. Other important teachers included Michael Tseitlin, Felix Galimir, and Joseph Silverstein. He has held academic positions at San Diego State University and Texas Christian University, and he is currently on the faculty at Northwestern University.
When he’s not traveling around playing the violin, he lives in Milwaukee with his wife and two young daughters. He plays on a violin by Antonio Stradivari from 1715, the “ex-Lipinski.” In December 2011, he appeared in concerts and masterclasses in Poland to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Karol Lipinski performing on his former violin. In July 2012, he was featured in an episode of NatGeo’s America’s Lost Treasures. In 2008, he started writing an online column called nondivisi.
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