Portland, Ore. … Jun Iwasaki, concertmaster of the Canton Symphony Orchestra for the last two years and recent graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music’s prestigious Concertmaster Academy, is the new concertmaster of the Oregon Symphony, Music Director Carlos Kalmar announced today. Iwasaki’s appointment concludes a season-long search; he will join the orchestra in time to open the 2007-2008 season in August. “At last!” said Kalmar. “We have our new concertmaster. I am extremely proud of the dedication and hard work of our search committee and could not be more pleased with the outcome.”
“Beyond being a fine violinist, Jun possesses the leadership skills necessary for this very important position,” said Kalmar. “I was impressed by the immediate connection that was created between Jun, me and the members of the orchestra.” Iwasaki was the only candidate who earned a place by winning a national audition; the other five candidates were invited based on their reputations in the industry. He appeared with the orchestra for classical series concerts on May 5 and 6, including Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 8, under the direction of Kalmar.
“Jun has everything that we were looking for in a concertmaster,” said Search Committee Chair and Associate Concertmaster Peter Frajola. “He’s a fabulous violinist and quickly developed very good chemistry with Carlos and members of the orchestra during his performances with us this spring. I feel like I’m one of the lucky ones in the orchestra because I will get to sit next to him on a regular basis.”
Iwasaki will make his concertmaster debut with the Symphony on August 30 as part of Oregon Symphony in the Neighborhoods annual concert at Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
“I am excited about joining the Oregon Symphony family and the greater community of Portland,” said Iwasaki. “The level of music making in the Oregon Symphony is extremely high and I’m anxious to build a wonderful partnership with Carlos and the musicians of the orchestra,” he added. “I only spent a week in Portland during the audition process, but I already know that I will enjoy living in the Pacific Northwest.”
Prior to being named concertmaster of the Oregon Symphony, violinist Jun Iwasaki has served in the same position with the Canton Symphony Orchestra for the past two years. He has appeared as a soloist with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, Richardson Symphony and the Plano Symphony Orchestra. This year he was selected as the sole participant for the Concertmaster Academy at the Cleveland Institute of Music by Cleveland Orchestra Concertmaster William Preucil.
Born in Tokyo, Jun began violin study at the age of five and by twelve made his solo debut with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra. He went on to win numerous concerto competitions and awards. In 2005 he won first prize in string division at the Coleman Chamber Music Competition and was awarded grand prize at the same competition in 2002. In addition, Jun has served as concertmaster of Asian Artists and Concerts Orchestra (AAC) and guest concertmaster of the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa in 2006. Recent chamber music engagements include a performance in the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and a solo recital in Tokyo and Sapporo, Japan. Jun also participated in a chamber music recital tour throughout Japan in 2004.
His Bachelor and Master of Music degrees are from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with Preucil. Former teachers include Philip Lewis, founder and artistic director of Chamber Music International and Betsy Jones, violinist with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra.