Guy Braunstein: Study in Change!!

The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO) was founded in 1882, and for many years, in my view, it has been one of the top 5 orchestras of the world. Since its founding it has been led by world-class conductors: As an example, Herbert von Karajan, led the orchestra from 1955 until his resignation in April 1989, only months before his death. Under Karajan, the orchestra dealt with a well-known scandal when an expert clarinet player,  Sabine Meyer, was not accepted as a member of the orchestra because she was a woman. Read more about this here:

At the present time, the orchestra’s conductor is a terrific orchestra leader from Britain: Sir Simon Rattle.

Why am I telling you this? The BPO has apparently made other great strides in personnel management since the days when admitting a woman was an issue. Their current concertmaster, the leader of the entire orchestra, is an Israel-born violinist by the name of Guy Braunstein.

Braunstein was born in Tel-Aviv, Israel, and studied the violin under Chaim Taub and later in New-York with Glenn Dictrow and Pinchas Zuckerman. He has played with orchestras such as-The Israel Philharmonic, the Tonhalle orchestra-Zurich, the Bamberg Symphony, Copenhagen Radio orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic and many others. He has collaborated with musicians such as Issac Stern, Andras Schiff, Zubin Mehta, Maurizio Pollini, Vladimir Fedosejew, Yefim Bronfman, and Daniel Barenboim. Braunstein’s first contact with the Berliner Philharmoniker was in 1992 – as one of the soloists in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto.

Think about it: A 128 – year old German orchestra, based in Berlin now has an Israeli-trained concertmaster. And why not? Change takes place every day. Auditions for orchestra players these days are frequently conducted where the player is performing behind a screen. The issue is not whether s/he is Black/White or Asian. The issue is does s/he have the ability to lead and perform with a world-class orchestra. Progress, Huh?

Mr. Braunstein plays beautifully; with wonderful phrasing, excellent technique, and a strong feeling for the music. Concertmasters do get an opportunity to play solo violin parts in various symphonies by Brahms, Mahler, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky and others. In some orchestras the concertmaster may also have an opportunity to perform an entire concerto once or twice during the orchestra’s season.

For an interview with Guy Braunstein, click here.

Here is Braunstein as soloist, playing the Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1. Enjoy!!

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