Meet the Musician: Adrienne Rönmark


Although Adrienne Rönmark, 27, is one of the DSO ‘s newest violinists, in a way she has been with the orchestra all her life. The daughter of two retired DSO players – principal tuba Wesley Jacobs and cellist Debra Fayroian, with 38 and 30 years respectively spent with the DSO – Rönmark has been around the orchestra since birth and often finds herself sitting next to a player who changed her diaper when she was a baby.

Growing up with music and musicians all around her, Rönmark aspired to become a musician early in her life. “It’s always been my dream to be in a great orchestra, and specifically to be in the DSO,” said  Rönmark. “It’s a good life, and I know it’s good because I grew up with it.”

Rönmark’s achievement of that good life came at a particularly poignant time. She auditioned just three months after giving birth to her first child, Annika, and she learned that the job was hers the same week that her father was playing his final concerts with the DSO.

“I was actually working with the DSO as a substitute violinist that week and played in my father’s very last concert with the orchestra. All these memories kept going through my head of growing up with other orchestra babies. And then I thought, ‘Now I’m the mom with the baby, and I’m the one with the full time orchestra job.’ It was a very emotional week to say the least.”

Rönmark received her first violin at age 5 for Christmas and started taking lessons when she was in third grade. In middle school, she began studying with DSO violinist Robert Murphy and made her debut as a soloist with the Warren Symphony Orchestra at age 13, performing the first movement of Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3.

“I was terrified,” she recalled. “The concertmaster left me a note on my music stand saying ‘Smile: at least it’s not Brahms!”

By the time she got to high school, she was serious about pursuing a music career. She began taking lessons with Stephen Shipps at the University of Michigan, and for seven summers she attended the prestigious Meadowmount School of Music in Westport, New York. She also joined the DSO’s Civic Orchestra and was named concertmaster.

Rönmark’s hard work and focus soon paid off. She began winning local and statewide competitions and secured a scholarship to University of Michigan where she received her degree in 2002. It was there that she met her future husband, Erik Rönmark, a saxophonist from Sweden who also works as an Artistic Manager at the DSO.

During her college years, Rönmark was named concertmaster of the U o f M Symphony and began working professionally. She was Associate Concertmaster of both the Ann Arbor Symphony and the Michigan Pops Orchestra and formed the Gamar Duo with her mother. Gamar is an Armenian word meaning “arc” which they feel describes the unique connection between them.

While continuing her professional work, Rönmark pursued her Masters of Music degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music where she was once again concertmaster of the orchestra. She graduated in 2005 and, that same year, she and Erik got married. She was soon working steadily as a substitute violinist with a number of orchestras, including  the DSO, while continuing as Associate Concertmaster at the Ann Arbor Symphony and teaching private lessons.

During this time, Rönmark, with her husband and several DSO musicians, founded New Music Detroit. A contemporary music collective, the ensemble is dedicated to performing challenging and dynamic works from the late 20th century to the present day. A unique, cutting edge group made up of highly skilled musicians, it seems more like a group you’d expect to emerge from New York or Los Angeles.

While her professional life has reached new peaks, it is clear that being a new mother is every bit as thrilling for Rönmark. She laughed when asked how she is balancing her two roles.

“Am I balancing them?” she asked. “Well, it’s not easy and it takes a lot of planning, but I have a lot of help from my husband and my family.”

And, of course, there is Rönmark’s extended DSO family, some of whom will no doubt find themselves changing her baby’s diapers from time to time.

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One Response to “Meet the Musician: Adrienne Rönmark”

  1. avatar Mark & Diane Voight on February 3rd, 2010 at 9:52 am

    We were delighted to see the spotlight on Adrienne. Although we never changed her diapers, we watched her grow up in the house behind ours and our daughters babysat with her. Adrienne and her family are wonderful people as well as very talented. This apple did not fall far from the tree! The DSO made a great decision when they added her (and Eric) to their family.

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