Nashville Symphony violinist Mary Kathryn VanOsdale, who has held the coveted chair of Concertmaster for more than two decades, will retire from that position at the end of the 2009/10 season and assume the title of Concertmaster Emerita. While giving up the demanding leadership role, Mary Kathryn will continue as a member of the orchestra’s first violin section. “I have enjoyed 21 years as Concertmaster, and I am very proud of all that our orchestra has accomplished during this time,” VanOsdale said. “By coming to this decision, I hope to gain more quality time to focus on my family and other projects. I also wish to extend my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Martha Ingram and the many generous patrons who have made possible the opportunity for our orchestra to perform in Laura Turner Concert Hall at the world-class Schermerhorn Symphony Center.”
Giancarlo Guerrero, Music Director of the Nashville Symphony, praised VanOsdale for her many seasons of exceptional service. “As leader of the orchestra since the 1980s, Mary Kathryn has had a measurable influence on the orchestra’s sound,” Guerrero said. “It’s difficult to imagine our current success – from our GRAMMY wins and nominations to the consistently high level of performance that is apparent to everyone who attends our concerts – without Mary Kathryn’s many years in the first chair.
Alan D. Valentine, President and CEO of the Symphony, said VanOsdale’s orchestra leadership benefitted the organization during its fluctuating financial fortunes early in her tenure and, more recently, through the sudden loss of beloved longtime Music Director Kenneth Schermerhorn in 2005. “Since arriving in Nashville 11 years ago, I have worked closely with Mary Kathryn and respect her both as a musician and as a colleague,” Valentine said. “She has played a vital and highly visible role in the long history of this organization and, over the years, has helped us steer a consistent course through times both good and challenging. While the Symphony and our patrons will miss Mary Kathryn as Concertmaster, we thank her for her many years of service and are pleased that she will continue with the orchestra in the first violin section.”
The search for a new Concertmaster will begin immediately, Valentine said. As soon as this spring, candidates are expected to be joining the orchestra in select classical concerts. A Nashville native, VanOsdale began playing as a contracted member of the orchestra at age 15. She attended the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and the Banff School of Fine Arts, where she received a Certificate for Advanced Studies. She received her Master of Music degree from Northern Illinois University and, upon graduation, was named Outstanding Woman Leader of the Year. In 1986, she joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, where she is currently Adjunct Artist Teacher of Violin. An active studio musician, VanOsdale has played on multiple GRAMMY-winning albums as well as on movie soundtracks and commercial jingles. She has discography credits with artists ranging from Amy Grant and Garth Brooks to Elton John and Bruce Springsteen.