First Associate Concertmaster
Lillian Nippert and Edgar F. Zelle Chair
Sarah Kwak has been appointed concertmaster of the Oregon Symphony and is on leave from the Minnesota Orchestra during the 2012-13 season.
First Associate Concertmaster Sarah Kwak, a Minnesota Orchestra member since 1988, served as the Orchestra’s acting concertmaster from January 2010 to September 2011. She has performed as soloist with the Orchestra in many works, including Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending, Wieniawski’s Second Violin Concerto, Bach’s Double Violin Concerto and the Brahms Double Concerto. In May 2012 she was again featured as soloist, performing the Glazunov Violin Concerto. She has also been featured in many chamber works during Sommerfest, most recently Brahms’ B-major Piano Trio at Sommerfest 2011. In 2006 she was a soloist in two world premieres: Kevin Puts’ Sinfonia concertante and Steve Heitzeg’s Peace Cranes.
Kwak, a 2008 McKnight Artist Fellowship winner, has been soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Houston Symphony and Curtis Chamber Orchestra, and she has toured internationally with the Casa Verde Trio, including a three-and-a-half-week tour of China. She was a founding member of the Rosalyra String Quartet, which made its New York debut in 1996 and was awarded a McKnight Artist Fellowship in 2000. With Rosalyra, Kwak recorded a CD of Bartók and Beethoven quartets for Boston Records, as well as Shostakovich and Brahms CDs for the Artegra label; in 2008 the ensemble released an album of Fauré piano quartets. She has participated in the Marlboro Music Festival, Pensacola Festival, Pittsburgh Summerfest, Bargemusic of New York and Festival Mozart in France.
Born in Boston and raised in Lawrence, Kansas, Kwak entered Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute at 12, studied briefly at the Vienna Hochschule für Musik and graduated from Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music in 1983. Among her teachers were Joseph Sivo, Ivan Galamian and Szymon Goldberg. The first artist ever to capture all three memorial awards at the Washington International Competition, Kwak also won the 1989 WAMSO Young Artist Competition. Before coming to the Twin Cities, she served on the faculty of Princeton University.