Elbert L. Carpenter Chair
American violinist Erin Keefe, who became concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra in September 2011, has established a reputation as an artist who combines exhilarating temperament and fierce integrity. At Sommerfest 2012 she made her concerto solo debut with the Orchestra, performing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, and in May 2014 her solo subscription debut, playing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. She was featured as soloist in April 2015 in Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending, in May 2016 in performances of Brahms’ Violin Concerto, and most recently in March 2018 in Kurt Weill's Concerto for Violin and Wind Orchestra.
Keefe has been awarded many major distinctions, including the Avery Fisher Career Grant. She has also won the Pro Musicis International Award and the Grand Prize in the Valsesia Musica International Violin Competition (Italy), Torun International Violin Competition (Poland), Schadt Competition and Corpus Christi International String Competition. She was the Silver Medalist in the Carl Nielsen, Sendai (Japan) and Gyeongnam (Korea) International Violin Competitions, resulting in performances and re-engagements in the U.S., Europe and Asia.
Keefe has served as guest concertmaster for the Sao Paulo Symphony and the New York Philharmonic. In addition, she has appeared as soloist in recent seasons with orchestras such as the New York City Ballet, New Mexico Symphony, the Korean Symphony Orchestra, the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, the Sendai Philharmonic and the Göttingen Symphony Orchestra, among others. She has performed two recitals in Weill Hall, most recently in 2012, and has given recitals throughout the United States, Austria, Germany, Korea, Poland, Japan and Denmark.
Among the leading chamber musicians of her generation, Keefe has been an Artist member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 2010; previously, from 2006 to 2009, she had been a member of the Chamber Music Society Two program. She has been featured on Live from Lincoln Center three times with the Society, performing works by Brahms, Schoenberg, Bach and Corelli. She has also performed regularly with both the Brooklyn Chamber Music Society and Boston Chamber Music Society. In recent seasons she has been a member of Accordo, a chamber music ensemble composed of principal string players from the Minnesota Orchestra and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Keefe has collaborated with many of today’s leading artists, including the Emerson String Quartet, Roberto and Andrés Díaz, Edgar Meyer, Gary Graffman, Richard Goode, David Shifrin, David Soyer, Colin Carr, Leon Fleisher and William Preucil. She performed with Michael Tilson Thomas on a program premiering his own chamber music at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall.
Keefe’s most recent recording, an album of Mendelssohn and Schumann piano quartets made with Chamber Music Society colleagues on the CMS Studio Recordings label, was featured in the April 2014 BBC Music Magazine. Her discography also includes Schoenberg’s Second String Quartet with Ida Kavafian, Paul Neubauer, Fred Sherry and Jennifer Welch-Babidge for Robert Craft and the Naxos label; recordings of Dvořák’s Terzetto and Piano Quartet in E-flat with David Finckel and Wu Han for CMS; and live performances of the Bartók Contrasts, Dvořák Piano Quintet, Mozart E-flat Piano Quartet, Respighi’s Il Tramonto and Haydn’s Arianna a Naxos recorded for Deutsche Grammophon with Menahem Pressler, Gary Hoffman, Ani Kavafian and Ewa Podlés. Keefe’s first solo CD, released in January 2010, includes works by Mendelssohn, Schumann, Ravel, Sibelius, Lutoslawski and Hindemith, and was recorded with pianist Anna Polonsky.
Keefe’s festival appearances have included Marlboro Music, Music@Menlo, Music from Angel Fire, Ravinia, Bravo! Vail Valley, and the Seattle, Colorado College, Mainly Mozart, Salt Bay, Skaneateles, OK Mozart, Mimir, Music in the Vineyards and Bridgehampton chamber music festivals.
A native of Northampton, Massachusetts, Keefe earned a master of music degree from the Juilliard School and a bachelor of music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music. Her teachers included Ronald Copes, Ida Kavafian, Arnold Steinhardt, Philip Setzer, Philipp Naegele, Brian Lewis and Teri Einfeldt.