Seven retiring musicians and stage crew, with a combined tenure of over 200 years, honored at online ceremony
Derek Barnes, David Bilger, Darrin Britting, Elizabeth Starr Masoudnia, David Nicastro, Yayoi Numazawa, and Harold Robinson recognized for 25 years of service
(Philadelphia, August 27, 2020)––The Philadelphia Orchestra Association today recognized 14 Orchestra members and one staff member for their exemplary contributions during a celebratory online event. First Associate Concertmaster Juliette Kang was awarded the 2020 C. Hartman Kuhn Award, and retiring members James Barnes(stage personnel), Eric Carlson (trombone), Robert W. Earley (trumpet), Robert M. Grossman (principal librarian), John Hood (bass), Robert Kesselman (bass), and Booker Rowe (violin) were honored for their combined 200+ years of dedicated service. Derek Barnes (cello), David Bilger (principal trumpet), Darrin Britting (director of publications and content development), Elizabeth Starr Masoudnia (English horn), David Nicastro (viola), Yayoi Numazawa (violin),and Harold Robinson (principal bass)were each celebrated and acknowledged for their 25 years of service.
Established in 1941 and named for a charter member of the Board of Directors who served from 1901 to 1933, the C. Hartman Kuhn Award is given annually to “the member of The Philadelphia Orchestra who has shown ability and enterprise of such character as to enhance the standards and the reputation of the ensemble.” Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin selected First Associate Concertmaster Juliette Kang, noting her outstanding artistry and her commitment to the Orchestra, particularly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, during which she played a major leadership role with digital education initiatives and created at-home performance videos for audiences around the world. A member of the Orchestra for 15 years, Kang serves as the chair of the Orchestra’s education committee and maintains a busy schedule of performing, teaching, and serving the community.
While retirees are traditionally recognized in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in the winter and at the close of the season at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in New York, this year’s honorees were celebrated during an online ceremony attended by Board members, musicians, and staff of the Orchestra, as well as friends and family.
"The significance of these retirements is immense," said Orchestra President and CEO Matías Tarnopolsky. “Each retiree is a beloved member of our Orchestra family and represents a significant part of the Orchestra’s history and sound. We will miss them all greatly. As we look to the future, we will explore ways of ensuring that new, diverse talent can be found to fill the vacancies."
In addition, Nancy Galloway, president of the Volunteer Committees for The Philadelphia Orchestra, recognized Derek Barnes, David Bilger, Darrin Britting, Elizabeth Starr Masoudnia, David Nicastro, Yayoi Numazawa, and Harold Robinson for 25 years of service with the Orchestra. Each recipient was offered a gifted watch, made possible by Christian Michael Jewelers. Funded by the Volunteer Committees, these awards have been given annually since 1928.
About the Kuhn Award recipient:
Appointed first associate concertmaster of The Philadelphia Orchestra in 2005, Canadian violinist Juliette Kang enjoys an active and varied career. Previously assistant concertmaster of the Boston Symphony and a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Kang’s solo engagements have included the San Francisco Symphony, l’Orchestre National de France, the Baltimore Symphony, the Boston Pops, the Omaha Symphony, the Syracuse Symphony, and every major orchestra in Canada. Internationally she has performed with the Czech Philharmonic, the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Singapore Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and the KBS Symphony in Seoul. Kang has been involved with chamber music since studying at the Curtis Institute of Music. After receiving a Bachelor of Music degree at age 15 from Curtis, she earned a Master of Music degree at the Juilliard School. Kang was a winner of the 1989 Young Concert Artists Auditions, and she subsequently received first prize at the Menuhin Violin Competition of Paris in 1992. She lives in Queen Village with her husband and two daughters. Kang holds the Joseph and Marie Field Chair.
About the retirees:
James “Jimmy” Barnes was born in Philadelphia and raised in New Jersey. His grandfather started working backstage in vaudeville in Philadelphia and his family followed in his footsteps: his sons, grandsons, granddaughter, great grandsons, and great granddaughters all became members of IATSE Local 8. Jimmy Barnes started at the Academy of Music in 1983 and he joined the Orchestra in 1994.
Eric Carlson joined the Orchestra in 1986 as second trombone. Prior to that he held similar positions with the Baltimore Symphony for six years and with the North Carolina Symphony for three years. His primary teachers were Edward Kleinhammer and Arnold Jacobs, both former members of the Chicago Symphony. Carlson has taught at the Peabody Conservatory of Music and at Temple University.
Originally from Madison, New Jersey, Robert “Bob” W. Earley received a bachelor’s degree in education from the Conservatory of Music at Baldwin-Wallace College and went on to earn a master’s degree with honors in performance from the New England Conservatory. Prior to joining The Philadelphia Orchestra as second trumpet in 1992, he was associate principal trumpet of the Montreal Symphony, principal trumpet of the Opera Company of Boston, and also played with the Boston Pops Orchestra and the Boston Symphony. As a teacher, Earley has been affiliated with Rutgers University, Temple University (where he remains on the faculty today), McGill University, Rowan University, the University of Michigan, and the Eastman School of Music.
Robert M. Grossman, a Philadelphia native, studied bassoon and trumpet at the Settlement Music School. He graduated cum laude from West Virginia University in 1977, and in 1980 he earned a Master of Library Science from Drexel University. Grossman began work in The Philadelphia Orchestra Library as assistant librarian in the fall of 1979 and became principal in 2003. He is a founding member of the renaissance consort Spectra Musica and performs on a variety of dulcians collected during The Philadelphia Orchestra’s European tours.
A native of Amarillo, Texas, John Hood comes from a musical family; his mother was a piano teacher and his two brothers are professional musicians. He attended the Interlochen Arts Academy, the University of Michigan, and the Tanglewood Music Festival. He then became a member of the North Carolina Symphony, the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, and the National Symphony Orchestra before joining The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1982. He is currently on the faculty of Temple University and also teaches privately. He has previously taught at the Peabody Conservatory, Trenton State College (now the College of New Jersey), and the Indiana University Summer Music Festival.
Robert Kesselman, a native Philadelphian, attended Temple University and the Curtis Institute of Music. In 1980 he won a section bass position with the Pittsburgh Symphony, where he remained until 1987. He had always dreamed of playing in The Philadelphia Orchestra, and in 1987 he was accepted into the bass section. When he is not playing in the Orchestra, he enjoys teaching, solo playing, and performing chamber music. He was formerly on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and currently teaches at Temple University.
Booker Rowe, who holds the Joseph Brodo Chair given by Peter A. Benoliel, first played with the Orchestra as a substitute for the 1968–69 season. He played with Washington’s National Symphony from 1969 to 1970 and returned to The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1970 before joining as a full-time member in 1971. Rowe is one of the few current members of the Orchestra who took part in the historic 1973 tour to China. He has also played with the Nashville and New Haven symphonies. Born in Kentucky and raised in Philadelphia, he received his bachelor’s degree from Temple University and his master’s from Yale University. He currently teaches violin privately and has taught at Tennessee State University, Wesleyan University, Temple University, Settlement Music School, Community College of Philadelphia, and Lincoln University.
About the 25th anniversary celebrants:
Derek Barnes joined The Philadelphia Orchestra in February 1995. A native of Philadelphia, he previously held the post of co-principal cello of the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia (now the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia) and has been a member of the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra and the New York String Orchestra. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in 1991, his teachers have included Orlando Cole, David Soyer, and former Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Cello William Stokking. He has performed chamber music with Christoph Eschenbach, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Isaac Stern, and Sarah Chang. Barnes has appeared on television in “Yo-Yo Ma at Tanglewood.” He performs regularly with his wife, Meichen Barnes, associate concertmaster of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.
David Bilger, who holds the Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest Chair, became principal trumpet of The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1995. Prior to that, he held the same position with the Dallas Symphony. He is currently on the faculties of the Curtis Institute of Music, Northwestern University, and Temple University, and he is a visiting guest artist at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. He has performed master classes at dozens of institutions, including the Juilliard School of Music, Indiana University, the University of Michigan, and the Manhattan School of Music. He has also taught at the Pacific Music Festival, the National Orchestral Institute, the Aspen Music Festival and School, and most recently at the Hamamatsu International Festival and Academy. He holds a Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Illinois.
Darrin Britting, director of publications and content development, grew up in Milford, Connecticut. As a child he began ballet lessons with his mother, who was in the first graduating class of the dance department at the Juilliard School, before studying at the Connecticut Ballet on full scholarship. He began piano lessons at an early age, and also played the harpsichord and organ. Active in theater, he performed in community musicals and in four productions at the Yale School of Drama, including Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale and Joyce’s Exiles. He sang in his church choir for many years and later started studying voice, receiving a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from the New England Conservatory. Before joining The Philadelphia Orchestra in October 1994, he worked for the New York Philharmonic for a number of years.
Elizabeth Starr Masoudnia, English hornist of The Philadelphia Orchestra since 1995 and who holds the Joanne T. Greenspun Chair, has toured the globe with the Orchestra to wide critical acclaim with many of the world's finest conductors. Prior to joining the Orchestra she was the English hornist of the Minnesota Orchestra for seven years. She has premiered several solo English horn pieces written expressly for her. A native of Philadelphia, she graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied oboe with John de Lancie. Prior to that, she studied oboe for six years with Louis Rosenblatt, her predecessor in The Philadelphia Orchestra. Masoudnia is on the faculty of Temple University and the Philadelphia International Music Festival, where she teaches oboe and English horn and coaches chamber music.
A member of The Philadelphia Orchestra since 1995, David Nicastro is also an active recitalist and a member of numerous chamber music ensembles. Prior to 1995 he served as associate principal viola of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. Born in New York, he grew up in the Hague, Netherlands, where he began violin studies at the age of six. Returning to the United States, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature and a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from Boston University while studying with Yuri Mazurkevich. Continuing his musical studies, he received a University Fellowship and an Artist Diploma from Indiana University, where he studied viola with Abraham Skernick, Atar Arad, and former Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Viola Joseph dePasquale.
Yayoi Numazawa became a member of The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1995. Born in Tokyo, Japan, she began studying violin at age five. She won her first competition at the age of nine and at age 12 was invited to study with Ivan Galamian at Meadowmount in New York. The following year she enrolled full time at the Curtis Institute of Music. During this time she began playing as a substitute with The Philadelphia Orchestra. She made her solo debut with the Philadelphians as a winner of its annual competition for young artists, now known as the Albert M. Greenfield Student Competition; she won the Greenfield Competition twice. Numazawa enjoys an active schedule that has included solo performances in Japan and the United States, as well as many chamber concerts with members of the Orchestra. She has been teaching privately for the past 20 years.
Harold Robinson, who holds the Carole and Emilio Gravagno Chair, joined The Philadelphia Orchestra as principal bass in September 1995. He previously served as principal bass with the National Symphony (1985–95), assistant principal bass of the Houston Symphony Orchestra (1977–85), and principal bass of the New Mexico Symphony (1975–77, then known as the Albuquerque Symphony). A prizewinner at the 1982 Isle of Man Solo Competition, he has performed concertos with the Houston Symphony and Houston Pops, the New York Philharmonic, the American Chamber Orchestra, and the Greenville (SC) Orchestra. A native of Houston, Texas, Robinson studied at Northwestern University and the Peabody Conservatory. He is currently the bass instructor at the Curtis Institute of Music and has given recitals and master classes throughout the United States, Korea, Japan, and Europe.
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