Violinist Frank Almond holds the Charles and Marie Caestecker Concertmaster Chair at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He returned to the MSO after holding positions as Concertmaster of the Rotterdam Philharmonic with Valery Gergiev and Guest Concertmaster of the London Philharmonic with Kurt Masur. He continues an active schedule of solo and chamber music performances in the US and abroad, has been a member of the chamber group An die Musik in New York City since 1997, and also directs the somewhat notorious Frankly Music Chamber Series based in Milwaukee.
At 17, he was one of the youngest prizewinners in the history of the Nicolo Paganini Competition in Genoa, Italy, and five years later was one of two American prizewinners at the Eighth International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow,which was documented in an award-winning PBS film. Since then he has kept up an eclectic mix of activities in addition to his Concertmaster duties, appearing both as a soloist and chamber musician.
In addition to his work with An die Musik, Mr. Almond’s talent as a chamber musician has generated collaborations with many of today’s well-known institutions, including the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Ravinia Festival, La Jolla Summerfest, Music in the Vineyards, and numerous other festivals.
He has recorded for AVIE, Summit, Albany, Innova, Boolean (his own label), Newport Classic, Wergo and New Albion and has appeared numerous times on NPR’s Performance Today. In both 2002 and 2004 An die Musik received Grammy nominations for its “Timeless Tales” series. The re-release of Mr. Almond’s recording of the complete Brahms Sonatas, performed in collaboration with pianist William Wolfram, brought an extraordinary critical response, followed by a CD with William Wolfram released in November 2006 on the AVIE label. In 2010 his CD of American music for violin and piano was released to much acclaim on Innova, featuring the pianist Brian Zeger. Also in 2010 he continued his collaborations with the Hal Leonard Corporation, releasing a CD of violin and piano works of Samuel Barber, including several first editions and the first recording of a previously “lost” sonata for violin and piano. His most recent recording for AVIE is A Violin’s Life, partially chronicling the history and pedigree of the violin he currently plays, the 1715 Lipinski Stradivari. Funded by a hugely successful Kickstarter project, the CD debuted in the Billboard Top Ten Classical in its first week of release, and continues to receive enormous critical acclaim.
Mr. Almond holds two degrees from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Dorothy Delay. Other important teachers included Michael Tseitlin, Felix Galimir, and Joseph Silverstein. He has held academic positions at San Diego State University, Texas Christian University, and Northwestern University. In August 2014 he began an Artist/Teacher appointment at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, as well as a newly created Artist-in-Residance position at the Milwaukee Youth Symphony.
On January 27, 2014, the “ex-Lipinski” Stradivari was stolen from Mr. Almond in an armed robbery after a concert. The violin was recovered nine days later, and the story continues to make headlines around the world. Mr. Almond is extremely grateful to the Milwaukee Police Department, the FBI, and the thousands of individuals who sent messages of concern and support.