Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra names new concertmaster

PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) and Music Director Manfred Honeck today announced the appointment of Noah Bendix-Balgley as concertmaster. He replaces Andrés Cárdenes, who retired in 2010 after serving 21 years as PSO’s concertmaster.

“It is fantastic news that Noah is joining the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra,” Music Director Manfred Honeck said. “He is an extremely talented musician and internationally renowned competition winner, and he will be a perfect fit for us. With every week he played with us, we learned more about his natural musical authority, the ease with which he communicates, and his warm and genuine human nature. We look forward to making great music with him for many years.”

“Noah is a confident, natural leader and an excellent fit for this orchestra. He joins the tradition of exemplary concertmasters of the PSO and is a truly exciting choice,” said Larry Tamburri, PSO President and CEO.

The orchestra’s Audition Committee said in a statement, “After an extensive two-year search, the committee is extremely pleased that Noah has accepted the position of Concertmaster. His playing is exceptional and charismatic; he demonstrated every quality we want in a Concertmaster. We look forward to his leadership.”

Bendix-Balgley, 27, who played with the PSO as guest concertmaster on three weekends during the current season, will officially begin as PSO’s new concertmaster at the “Musique du Monde” gala on Sept. 17 at Heinz Hall.

His great-grandfather, Samuel J. Leventhal, was a violinist in the Pittsburgh Symphony from 1900 – 1904, under Music Director Victor Herbert.

A native of Asheville, N.C., Bendix-Balgley was Laureate of the 2009 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels and also won third prize and a special prize for creativity at the 2008 Long-Thibaud International Competition in Paris. He was awarded First Prize and a special prize for best Bach interpretation at the 14th International Violin Competition “Andrea Postacchini” in Fermo, Italy. In May 2011, he won first prize at the Vibrarte International Music Competition in Paris.

Bendix-Balgley has appeared as a soloist with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France (Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris), Orchestre National de Belgique (Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels), Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie (Belgium), Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana (Italy), and Asheville Symphony (USA). He performed the premiere of a rediscovered Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra by Carl Stamitz at the German Viola Congress in Muenster, Germany. In March 2011, he performed recitals at the Jewish Music Festival in the San Francisco Bay Area featuring little known works by Achron and other members of the St. Petersburg School. Bendix-Balgley has performed in Austria, Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Iceland, China, Switzerland, Great Britain, Canada, and the United States.

Bendix-Balgley is a passionate and experienced chamber musician. In 2011, he performed on North American tour with the Miro String Quartet.  He was invited in 2008 to participate in Chamber Music Connects the World in Kronberg, Germany. There he worked and performed with Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, Gary Hoffman and Lynn Harrell. He has collaborated with artists such as Ana Chumachenco, Wen-Sinn Yang, Hariolf Schlichtig, and percussionist Colin Currie.

Bendix-Balgley received a Bachelor of Music degree with highest distinction in 2006 from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he was a student of Mauricio Fuks and also a Wells Scholar. He earned his postgraduate Meisterklasse diploma for violin in 2008 from Hochschule für Musik und Theater Munich, where he studied with Christoph Poppen.

Born 1984, Bendix-Balgley began playing violin at age 4. At 9, he played for Lord Yehudi Menuhin in Switzerland. From 1995 to 1997, he studied violin with Anne Crowden while attending The Crowden School in Berkeley, Calif., and performed the premiere of Recitative and Freilekhs, a piece for violin and chamber orchestra written for him by Arkadi Serper. In his spare time, Noah enjoys playing klezmer music. He has played with world-renowned klezmer groups such as Brave Old World, and has taught klezmer violin at workshops in Europe and the United States.


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