The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra has named its new concertmaster.
Nicholas Wright, a violinist with the orchestra for the past six years, takes his new position immediately. The search committee, orchestra members, and VSO music director Bramwell Tovey endorsed Wright as their leader unanimously.
He fills the vacancy left by Dale Barltrop, who concluded his tenure as concertmaster in June 2016 to return to his native Australia. Since that time the VSO has led an extensive search, including an open-call audition and hosting more than half a dozen candidates who each spent a week leading the orchestra as guest concertmaster.
“I'm delighted to congratulate Nicholas Wright on his appointment as Concertmaster of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra," Tovey said in a press statement. "He was part of a field of outstanding Canadian and international candidates, including members of several internationally renowned ensembles. Nick performed the virtuoso solo violin part of Strauss's Ein Heldenleben to great acclaim in January and has performed as soloist with the VSO in concertos by Kelly-Marie Murphy and Jean Sibelius. His leadership as a musician and teacher in our community has been enjoyed by our city for several years. He will take a pivotal role at the VSO School of Music in the years to come. On a personal note, he is a wonderful colleague and I look forward to sharing musical experiences with him as my own role changes from Music Director to Music Director Emeritus.”
The British-born Wright trained at the esteemed Royal College of Music in Londond and has played with ensembles around the world, including the BBC Concert Orchestra, the English Chamber and London Philharmonic Orchestras, Ulster Orchestras, and the Royal Oman Symphony. His repertoire spans the work of George Frederick Handel to premieres by contemporary composers such as Kelly-Marie Murphy and Jocelyn Morlock, whose works he recently recorded for the Naxos label. He made his solo debut with the York Guildhall Orchestra playing the Dvořák Romance, which was recorded for BBC Radio 3. You've seen him locally playing with everything from the Koerner Quartet to Music on Main.
Wright also released a statement: “I am thrilled to accept the appointment of concertmaster of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. This is an exciting time for us, and I am looking forward to the upcoming seasons during which we will be celebrating Maestro Tovey’s incredible legacy here in Vancouver as well as the orchestra’s centenary year. Since joining the VSO, I have found a constant source of inspiration in my colleagues and am fortunate to count among them some of my closest friends. Being part of this orchestra is also so special because of the enthusiastic support of our audience. Every orchestra needs the support of a great community on which to thrive, and I am proud to call this beautiful city my home.”
Wright's first big role will be performing in the VSO’s Spring Festival – A British Fantasy, which continues to May 1. Wright will join Tovey, who will play the piano, and his fellow VSO principals violinist Jason Ho, violist Andrew Brown, and cellist Ariel Barnes in a chamber performance of Sir Edward Elgar’s Piano Quintet in A minor, on Sunday (April 30). That performance will be followed by an orchestral performance of the same composer’s Enigma Variations.