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Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra announces Nikki Chooi as new concertmaster


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Mon, Jun 3rd 2019 01:30 pm

Canadian-born violinist to make official debut Oct. 18

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra announced Canadian-born violinist Nikki Chooi as its newest concertmaster. Chooi will begin his tenure in the 2019-20 season.

“Nikki Chooi is an absolutely spectacular violinist and a consummate leader. The musicians and I are thrilled that he will be bringing his world-class talents to the philharmonic,” Music Director JoAnn Falletta said.

Chooi, described as “vigorous, colorful” (New York Times) and a “violinist who flourishes at the tender end of the emotion scale”(Philadelphia Inquirer), has received critical acclaim in engagements at New York’s Merkin Hall, Chicago’s Harris Theatre, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, and Vancouver’s Recital Series. He has appeared as soloist with orchestras including Montreal Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra, National Orchestra of Belgium, Auckland Philharmonia, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

Chooi served as concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra during the 2016-17 season and has recently appeared as guest concertmaster with the Houston Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, and Sydney Symphony. He has performed in international festivals including Marlboro Festival, Ravinia Festival, Toronto Summer Music, Moritzburg Festival, International Chamber Music Festival Utrecht, Olympus Festival in Russia, and Fundación Beethoven in Chile. He has also embarked on nation-wide performance tours with Musicians from Marlboro in the U.S., Chamber Music New Zealand, and Selby and Friends in Australia.

“The strong sense of musicianship and camaraderie is what moved me most during my week as guest concertmaster," Chooi said. "I am thrilled to be sharing the stage with Maestro Falletta and the musicians of the Buffalo Philharmonic.”

Born and raised in Victoria, British Columbia, Chooi was under the mentorship of Joseph Silverstein, Ida Kavafian and Donald Weilerstein at Curtis Institute of Music and The Juilliard School. A Laureate of Queen Elisabeth Competition, he was the first-prize winner of Michael Hill International Violin Competition, Montreal Symphony's Standard Life Competition, and Klein International Strings Competition. He released his debut album of works by Prokofiev, Ravel, and Gershwin, through Atoll Records.

The concertmaster position had been vacant at the BPO since the end of the 2017-18 season, when Dennis Kim stepped down to become the concertmaster of the Pacific Symphony. Throughout the 2018-19, the BPO conducted an international search to fill this leadership role, with finalists serving as guest concertmaster on different performances throughout the season.

Chooi’s first performance as concertmaster of the BPO will take place Oct. 18.

For more information, visit bpo.org

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