New Concertmaster Robyn Bollinger Among DSO Appointments

    Robyn Bollinger
    Robyn Bollinger

    DETROIT — Music Director Jader Bignamini and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) announced the appointment of violinist Robyn Bollinger as Concertmaster, holding the Katherine Tuck Chair, after a successful audition this past February and two trial weeks with the DSO and Bignamini in May.

    Bollinger, a former member of Boston-based chamber orchestra A Far Cry and a regular guest artist with numerous prestigious orchestras, will join the DSO this fall for the start of the 2022-23 season. 

    “Robyn’s great skill and technique were very apparent at her audition,” said Bignamini. “I was impressed with her precise intonation, and I remember thinking that we found our DSO sound. Working with Robyn and the DSO musicians in May confirmed that she also is an exceptional leader with the right qualities to be our concertmaster. Over those two weeks in Orchestra Hall, she earned our respect, leading with professionalism, seriousness, accuracy, the right amount of flexibility, and a good attitude. Robyn is an excellent musician, and I’m so excited to introduce her and all the DSO’s remarkable new musicians to our audiences this fall.”

    Bignamini and the DSO also announced the appointment of Conrad Cornelison as Principal Bassoon, holding the Byron and Dorothy Gerson Chair, established earlier this year in recognition of support from the William Davidson Foundation honoring Mr. Davidson’s late brother-in-law and sister. Cornelison comes to the DSO most recently from the Jacksonville Symphony, where he held the same position. The DSO has also appointed Adam Rainey as bass trombone; he comes to the orchestra from the Kansas City Symphony. In addition, flutist Shantanique Moore has been named one of the DSO’s two African American Orchestra Fellows following a successful audition in May. Cornelison, Rainey, and Moore will also join the DSO for the start of the new season, as will violinists Elizabeth Furuta and Daniel Kim, who won their auditions in fall 2021 and whose appointments were previously announced.

    “Congratulations to Robyn, Conrad, Adam, Shantanique, Elizabeth, and Daniel on earning their positions in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra,” said DSO General Manager Kathryn Ginsburg. “Every audition for the past year, including the one that cellist Cole Randolph won last fall, has been successful. This is a truly unprecedented accomplishment, and I want to thank Jader and every musician who served on the audition committees for their leadership.”

    About Bollinger
    Daring, versatile, and charismatic, American violinist Robyn Bollinger is the newly appointed Concertmaster of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Equally at home as soloist, chamber musician, orchestral leader, and pedagogue, Bollinger is an artist at the forefront of classical music.

    Having made her Philadelphia Orchestra debut at age 12, she regularly performs with orchestras across the United States. Past highlights include engagements with the Boston Pops and the symphony orchestras of Brevard, California, Charleston, Grand Tetons Music Festival, Helena, Illinois, Indian Hill, Knoxville, and Symphony in C. In 2019, Bollinger gave the world premiere of Artifacts, a four-movement violin concerto commissioned by the California Symphony by composer Katherine Balch written specifically for Bollinger. 

    A sought-after collaborator and recitalist, Bollinger is a popular figure on chamber music stages around the world. She is a returning participant at the acclaimed Marlboro Music Festival and has been featured in numerous national tours with Musicians from Marlboro. She has toured in Midori’s Music Sharing International Community Engagement Program “ICEP” in Japan, performing in recital in Osaka’s Phoenix Hall, Tokyo’s Oji Hall, and Tokyo National Arts Center. A prizewinner at the 2007 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, Bollinger has appeared at the chamber music festivals of Halcyon, Highlands-Cashiers, Lake Champlain, Monadnock, and Orcas Island. She has presented recitals at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, National Sawdust, Emory University, Kalliroscope Gallery, Live from Indian Hill, the California Symphony, and more. She appears regularly with the Chameleon Arts Ensemble in Boston, the Boston Chamber Music Society, Mistral Music, Spruce Peak Chamber Music Society, and Glissando Music, among others. 

    Bollinger has been recognized for both her innovation and entrepreneurship. She received a prestigious Fellowship from the Lenore Annenberg Arts Fellowship Fund for her multimedia performance project, “CIACCONA: The Bass of Time,” later releasing a commercial CD and DVD of the project and presenting a national tour of the program. An examination of the history and legacy of the Bach’s famed chaconne for solo violin, the program received critical acclaim from The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among others. Bollinger has also been recognized with an Entrepreneurial Musicianship Grant from New England Conservatory for her ground-breaking “Project Paganini,” a performance project featuring the twenty-four Caprices of Paganini. She was recently awarded a historic Early-Career Musician Fellowship from Dumbarton Oaks Museum in Washington, D.C., to research and prepare her next multimedia project, “Encore! Just One More,” to be debuted in future seasons. 

    A noted leader and ensemble player, Bollinger has been a frequent Guest Concertmaster with the Pittsburgh Symphony and has made Guest Concertmaster appearances with the Indianapolis Symphony and St. Bart’s Music Festival Orchestra. She is a former member of A Far Cry, the Boston-based, democratically run chamber orchestra, and she has appeared on commercial recordings with both the Pittsburgh Symphony and A Far Cry, all of which were nominated for Grammy Awards.

    Bollinger is a devoted educator, having presented masterclasses at the Cincinnati Conservatory, the Longy School of music, University of California Bakersfield, Temple University Preparatory School, and a unique masterclass examining classical music in the context of Aristotle at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. She is a former faculty member at New England Conservatory Preparatory School in Boston and Brandeis University. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees with academic honors from the New England Conservatory of Music. Her major teachers included Soovin Kim, Miriam Fried, Paul Biss, Paul Kantor, and Lyle Davidson. Bollinger currently plays on a 1697 G. B. Rogeri violin on generous loan from a private collector and a 2013 Benoit Rolland bow commissioned specially for her.

    About Cornelison
    Conrad Cornelison joins the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as Principal Bassoon in 2022 at the appointment of Music Director Jader Bignamini. Since 2017, Cornelison has served with the Jacksonville Symphony in the same position. While living in Florida, Cornelison also served as Adjunct Professor of Bassoon at the University of North Florida from 2017-2022. Prior to his work in Jacksonville, Cornelison held positions with the Houston Grand Opera, the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, and the Symphony of Southeast Texas. He has also appeared as a guest musician with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, San Antonio Symphony, and others.

    During his summers, Cornelison regularly performs at Festival Moziac, a chamber music and orchestra festival in San Luis Obispo, California, under the direction of Scott Yoo. He has also performed with the Bellingham Festival of Music and the Saint Augustine Music Festival and has served on the bassoon faculty of Interlochen Bassoon Institute. He has performed as a soloist and chamber musician on numerous occasions with the San Marco Chamber Music Society and has appeared as a performer on the PBS series “Now Hear This” by Great Performances. Many of his performances with the Jacksonville Symphony and Festival Mozaic have been broadcast on NPR’s Performance Today.

    Cornelison holds degrees from The Juilliard School (Bachelor of Music) and Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music (Master of Music), where he studied with Patricia Rogers and Benjamin Kamins, respectively. He is an alumnus of the Interlochen Arts Academy, where he studied with Eric Stomberg, and his early bassoon studies were with Matthew Schuler and Dan Duncan. He is a proud father and looks forward to relocating to Michigan with his wife, Xiaodi, his daughter, Theia, and their dog, Toby.

    About Rainey
    Adam Rainey, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, joins the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in the 2022-23 season as Bass Trombone. He was previously Bass Trombone with the Kansas City Symphony from 2014-2022. In 2012, Rainey made his debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra playing Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream under the baton of Bernard Haitink. Later that year, he recorded John Williams’s “Fanfare for Fenway” with the Boston Pops under the baton of the composer himself in celebration of Fenway Park’s centennial. He has also performed with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and Grant Park Festival Orchestra.

    Rainey has attended the Pacific Music Festival (Japan) and spent two summers as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center. He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music under the instruction of Douglas Yeo and James Markey. Additionally, he has studied with Norman Bolter, Mark Gaal, Steve Lange, Peter Norton, and Toby Oft. Rainey received second prize at the 2011 Zellmer-Minnesota Orchestra Trombone Competition and was a finalist at the International Trombone Association’s Edward Kleinhammer Competition. During the summer, he performs with the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder, Colorado. Rainey is an Edwards Instruments Artist.

    About Moore
    Detroit native Shantanique Moore is an accomplished flutist and flute instructor. She has performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Toledo Symphony, and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, among others. Most recently, Moore was the recipient of a fellowship from the Pittsburgh Symphony’s Orchestra Training Program for African American Musicians, and performed with the orchestra extensively for the past two years. She is a previous winner of First Prize in the Ervin Monroe Young Artist Competition (2016), the Southern Great Lakes Concerto Competition (2013), and the Wayne State Concerto Competition (2012). Moore is a graduate of Wayne State University (bachelor and master’s degrees in Flute Performance) where she studied with DSO Assistant Principal Flute Sharon Sparrow.