After 25 years as the concertmaster at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Frank Almond is ready for his next adventure.
He stepped away last year.
But what was his journey to Milwaukee like?
WTMJ’s Libby Collins sat down with Almond to discuss that and more on this week’s episode of WTMJ Conversations. You can listen in the player above.
A portion of the conversation was transcribed below, courtesy of eCourt Reporters, Inc.
LIBBY COLLINS: How did you end up in Milwaukee?
FRANK ALMOND: I took the audition for concert master, and that’s generally how they fill positions. You have an opening in an orchestra, the opening is advertised, it’s pretty regimented. Everything is — you know, people are screened and come in and play, and usually there’s two or three rounds, sometimes more, but everything is done behind a screen so that you can’t be identified by gender or anything else. The screens – actually, I misspoke, the screens usually come down for the finals. So, it’s mostly playing. For concert master position especially, there’s a lot of solo work, there’s a lot of orchestral solo work. Then you’re playing, you know, auditioning with section parts, and sometimes there’s a chamber music element where you play with other members of the orchestra, just so people can get a feel for you as a musician and as a personality.
So, I came here to take this audition, really. And I was pretty young, I mean, I was 29 or something at the time, I think. And I was also — I had been trying to get an audition with the music director of the Milwaukee Symphony at the time, it was then Macal, he was just leaving the orchestra, it was, like, his last season, but I had been trying to get to his manager just to play and audition for him by myself for more as a soloist. So, I thought, well, you know, even if I don’t get the job, at least I can get out in front of the music director and get that out of the way, but he hired me.
In Part One of our chat, we got to know Frank Almond, the former concertmaster at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. In Part Two, he shares the story of how his Stradivarius violin, valued at more than $5-million was stolen. Listen below.