She won the position in a competitive audition process that attracted candidates from around the world.
Matsuo joined the CSO in 2015 as a member of the second violin section, then won the audition for Associate Concertmaster in 2018. That same year, Timothy Lees, who had served as CSO Concertmaster since 1999, stepped down due to injury. Lees officially retired earlier this year.
In Lee's absence during the 2018-19 season, the CSO featured a number of guest concertmasters, with Matsuo also performing in the vacant concertmaster chair while the search for a new concertmaster began.
The process of finding a new concertmaster involved a screened audition as well as a trial period. Matsuo won that audition in March, then performed Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4 as the featured soloist during the CSO’s season finale program in May, during her concertmaster trial week.
"Stefani has consistently demonstrated remarkable artistry and leadership," said CSO Music Director Louis Langrée. "Throughout the audition process, her playing set Stefani apart from the competition. I am confident in her extraordinary abilities and am thrilled she is serving in this vital role of Concertmaster moving forward."
Originally from North Carolina, Matsuo earned her bachelor’s degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with Paul Kantor; and she earned her master’s degree at The Juilliard School, where she studied with Sylvia Rosenberg. She made her solo recital debut at the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C. and won top prizes in several competitions, including the 2012 Washington International Competition, the 2012 Juilliard Concerto Competition and the 2011 Michael Hill International Competition. She is married to Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra cellist Hiro Matsuo, with whom she founded the 2M Duo.
"I have worked toward this my entire career and am truly honored to be appointed Concertmaster of the CSO," Matsuo said. "This is an orchestra respected around the world and steeped in great artistry. I embrace the enormous responsibilities that come with this pivotal role and look forward to making music with my colleagues and serving this great community for years to come."
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