Critically Acclaimed, Veteran Violinist Joins DSO for Term as Guest Concertmaster

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DETROIT, (September 29, 2011) –World renowned violinist and Detroit native Jorja Fleezanis has accepted music director Leonard Slatkin’s invitation to join the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) for three weeks as guest concertmaster during the 2011-12 classical season. She will lead the DSO for the following three performances: Tchaikovsky’s “Pathetique” (Oct. 20-21), Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony (Nov. 25-27) and Dvořák’s “New World” Symphony (April 20-21).

Fleezanis is the first of two guest concertmasters with more than 20 years’ experience leading a major American orchestra who will join the DSO this season. Following Emmanuelle Boisvert’s 23-year tenure as DSO concertmaster, Slatkin is taking this opportunity to introduce the orchestra to different leadership styles, in order to supplement the leadership of acting concertmaster Kimberly Kaloyanides Kennedy.

“As we begin our search for a permanent concertmaster we are fortunate to work with some of the most experienced musicians in the field. This allows us to explore a range of leadership qualities that will best suit the DSO,” said Slatkin.

These concerts will mark Fleezanis’ return to her native Detroit, where she began her violin studies.

“It is a great fortune to have grown up in Detroit during a golden age of string teachers, music in the schools, community orchestras everywhere, and an active group of training orchestras and trainers of those orchestras,” she said.

About Jorja Fleezanis

She has also performed as guest concertmaster for the San Francisco Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. Prior to Minnesota, she was associate concertmaster with the San Francisco Symphony for eight years.

Fleezanis has had a number of works commissioned for her, including by the Minnesota Orchestra with the John Adams Violin Concerto and Ikon of Eros by John Tavener, the latter recorded on Reference Records. Her recording of the complete violin sonatas of Beethoven with the French fortepianist Cyril Huvé was released in 2003 on the Cyprés label. Other recordings include Aaron Jay Kernis’ Brilliant Sky, Infinite Sky on CRI, commissioned for Fleezanis by the Schubert Club, and, with Garrick Ohlsson, Stefan Wolpe’s Violin Sonata for Koch International.

In collaboration with the French pianist, Cyril Huvé, she has performed numerous chamber music concerts in France as a mentor/artist with young artists and gifted students of the Paris Conservatoire. Together, Huvé and Fleezanis have also toured France and the United States presenting the Ten Sonatas of Beethoven with fortepiano and violin. Since 1984 she has been a member of the FOG Trio based in San Francisco with Garrick Ohlsson (piano) and Michael Grebanier (cello). She was one of the founding members of Chamber Music Sundaes, a series begun by members of the San Francisco Symphony in 1981, and also a founding member and concertmaster of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra in 1974.

A devoted teacher, Fleezanis became an adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota’s School of Music in 1990. She has also enjoyed teaching roles with other organizations: as teacher and artist at the Round Top International Festival Institute in Texas (1990-2007); artist-in-residence at the University of California, Davis; guest artist and teacher at the San Francisco Conservatory, where she served on the faculty from 1981 to 1989; artist and mentor at the Music@Menlo Festival (2002 to present); teacher and coach at the New World Symphony (1988-2008), and a visiting teacher to the Boston Conservatory, The Juilliard School, Madeline Island Chamber Music Camp, and Interlochen Academy and Center for the Arts

This season Fleezanis will give master classes and perform chamber music in Amsterdam, Iceland and France; present the complete Beethoven Sonatas for Fortepiano and Violin with Cyril Huvé at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University; lead residencies at the Boston Conservatory, the New World Symphony and Concordia College in Fargo; celebrate the 50th anniversary of Interlochen Arts Academy as soloist for their Midwest tour in March and lead performances in Chicago of the St. Johns Passion church.

Fleezanis studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music.

About the DSO

The internationally acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the fourth-oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, is known for trailblazing performances, visionary maestros and collaborations with the world’s foremost musical artists.  Esteemed conductor Leonard Slatkin, called “America’s Music Director” by the Los Angeles Times, became the 12th Music Director of the DSO during the 2008-09 season.  The DSO offers a performance schedule that includes Classical, Pops, Jazz, Young people’s concerts and festivals.  The DSO makes its home in historic Orchestra Hall, one of America’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, and actively pursues a mission to impact and serve the community through music.  For more information visit www.dso.org

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