Concertmaster, Charles and Marie Caestecker Concertmaster Chair
Violinist Frank Almond holds the Charles and Marie Caestecker Concertmaster Chair at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He has also held positions as Concertmaster of the Rotterdam Philharmonic with Valery Gergiev, and Guest Concertmaster of the London Philharmonic with Kurt Masur.
Frank regularly performs as a soloist with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and as soloist and chamber musician throughout the US and Europe. He is the founder of his own chamber music series in Milwaukee, Frankly Music, now in its 16th season and consistently recognized for innovative programming and its ability to attract leading performers from around the world.
At 17, he was one of the youngest prizewinners in the history of the Nicólo 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. His extensive recording discography includes a wide range of repertoire on various labels that have garnered multiple Grammy nominations.
His most recent series of recordings, A Violin’s Life, chronicles the extraordinary history and lineage of his current violin, the 1715 Lipiński Stradivarius. This instrument has direct ties to Giuseppe Tartini, Edvard Grieg, Johannes Brahms, and Robert and Clara Schumann.
On January 27, 2014, the Lipiński Stradivarius was stolen from Mr. Almond in an armed robbery after a concert. The violin was recovered nine days later, and the story continues to make headlines around the world, most notably in an extensive Vanity Fair feature. The robbery and recovery are the subject of a new documentary film, “Plucked,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2019. He was also recently included in a program from Lincoln Center on “The Moth Radio Hour,” the critically acclaimed storytelling program and podcast heard by millions on Public Radio International stations nationwide.
Community outreach and giving back to the Milwaukee community are also at the heart of Frank Almond’s artistic priorities. He mentors young musicians of all performing levels and backgrounds, and performs in nontraditional venues where classical music has a rare and unusual presence.
Frank holds two degrees from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Dorothy DeLay. Other important mentors and teachers were Michael Tseitlin, Felix Galimir, and Joseph Silverstein. He currently serves on the Faculty at Roosevelt University in Chicago and is the Artist-in-Residence at the Milwaukee Youth Symphony, one of the largest youth arts programs in the United States. Previous teaching positions include positions at Northwestern University and Texas Christian University.
Frank Almond writes an online column, as he admits, “instead of practicing.” Nondivisi offers his thoughts, hopes and expectations for the present and future of classical music.
More information about Frankly Music, A Violin’s Life and the Lipiński Stradivarius is available at frankalmond.com.
Photo by Jennifer Brindley.