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My Experience with the Concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

November 3, 2010 at 6:02 PM

I’ve been following the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra since February 2010 when I had the opportunity to watch them perform live at Carnegie Hall. That same day I met the concertmaster of the Concergebouw, Liviu Prunaru, who was introduced to me and to 5 other violinist friends by a very good colleague. We all are violinists of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas and we were having a concert at Carnagie Hall a few days after the Concergebouw, but we got there early in the week to rehearse. After we met he took us for dinner and told us 400 glorious stories(this includes how he won the paganini competition) besides he told us how difficult and hard was the audition process for musicians to get in to the Concergebouw Orchestra, especially for a concertmaster position. He told us that the orchestra invites12 candidates who are already concertmasters in major orchestras around the world and a few big names that they all agree on- he was part those big names- they make each violinist spend a week trying to convince the orchestra that he/she should have the position. He told us that after his final day of audition, the members of the orchestra start clapping and were very happy with his performance as a leader. He said; it was very flattering, I’ve heard they are very picky when they choose the leader of a section especially such a high position like the concertmaster. Liviu is a great instrumentalist and soloist, he serve 50% of the time as the concertmaster of the orchestra- and the other 50% he use it for personal recitals and concerts. He told me that he didn’t want to be an orchestra musician, but the Concergebouw was his favorite orchestra, and as soon as he got the invitation he said YES- Im going to try it because even if I win the audition I still have some free time to perform as a soloist. And of course, He Got the Job!  What is funny is that, my friend, the one who introduced me to Liviu told me that in 1 of the 2 concerts they had at Carnagie, he and Liviu sat together to watch the orchestra perform and Liviu told him in the middle of the concert; Oh my God, this orchestra sounds great I can’t believe I am part of them. Such a comment makes me understand how much passion he has for music and how much he appreciate being part of the orchestra. I want to be like that. He is such a great inspiration for me. Since that week, my life as a musician changed. The way they sounded and my experience with the concertmaster were unbelieveable. He gave me some advice on how to improve my technique, how to make it in music, what to do,etc. I will never forget those words. And of course I feel a little envy for my friend because he is a very close friend with Liviu (by the way they met on youtube, somehow).

From Christina C.
Posted on November 4, 2010 at 4:54 PM

Nice to hear about someone who's so passionate about what they do & that it inspires others to do the same. That's what it's all about as far as I'm concerned. Thanks for sharing.


Speaking of Youtube, the Concertgebouw has posted some full-length performances of a couple of pieces there:


From James Patterson
Posted on November 5, 2010 at 5:08 AM

That's an excellent story!

In Dallas we are fortunate to have one of Liviu Prunaru's predecessors (Jaap van Zweden) as Music Director of the Dallas Symphony. That Concertgebouw job is a great one, as the Concertgebouw's reputation makes it a destination as guest conductor for almost all the good conductors around; van Zweden says his encouragement to become a conductor came from Leonard Bernstein who was there conducting Mahler. He asked van Zweden (then the concertmaster) to conduct part of one movement in rehearsal so Bernstein could go into the hall to listen. Later that day he offered real encouragement for van Zweden's potential to be a good conductor......nice story..... and today he IS an excellent conductor... amazing to watch and listen to.

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