Performs at September 26 PSA Luncheon
When David McCarroll performs at PSA’s Sept.26 luncheon it will be, for most of our members, the first opportunity to connect with PSO’s new concertmaster. He is young, personable and, of course, an exceptional musician.
What led him to apply for the position in Pittsburgh. “It was the orchestra’s incredible musical quality and dedication which attracted me from my several times coming to play as a Guest Concertmaster,“ he said. “We (he is married to cellist Angela Park) have a two-year-old son, and we are also happy to have settled in a city and community which is such a wonderful place to raise a family.”
This orchestra has the luxury of waiting to fill an open position until they find the musician they want, while many orchestras must fill a position within a limited time. PSO’s concertmaster position was open for a long time before David was offered the position.
Pittsburgh Soloist Debut October 6 and Oct. 8
Pittsburgh will see him in concert Oct. 6 and Oct. 8, making his debut as a PSO solo artist as he performs Schumann’s violin concerto. The concerto is having its Pittsburgh premiere. “We looked back through the orchestra’s records and found it has never been performed before in Pittsburgh,” he said.
The concertmaster sits the outside chair of the first row of first violins. So, what does a concertmaster do? “Well,” he said with a laugh, “I stand to tune the orchestra with the oboe before every performance but, more importantly, I lead and cue from the first chair during the rehearsal process and concerts.”
You may have noticed that the bowing movements for each string section are uniform, every musician’s bow at the same location on the strings: it’s the concertmaster’s job to make that happen. “I begin early (long before the orchestra begins rehearsing a new piece) marking the bowings for the first violin section. The other string principals then bow their section’s parts in coordination with these bowings.”
“And I try to take on board the interpretation of the conductor and soloist. This often involves changing phrasings and articulations during rehearsal.”
That traditional handshake you see between the concertmaster and the conductor, the guest artist? It represents a thank-you to the entire orchestra.
David Plays a 1761 violin made by A & J Gagliano in Naples, Italy
Settling in Berlin after completing his artist diploma studies there, David developed a career as soloist and chamber musician, and toured widely in Europe. From 2015 to 2022 he was violinist of the renowned Vienna Piano Trio. The trio won the 2017 Echo Klassik Prize for its recording of the complete Brahms piano trios, and in 2020, the Opus Klassik award for its Beethoven recording.
Outside Europe, performances have taken him as well to New Zealand, South Korea, Canada, Mexico, Hong Kong, several South America countries, and, of course, the US. He has particularly fond memories of a 10-concert tour over 2.5 weeks in New Zealand. “We rented a car and criss-crossed both the North and South Islands. It was so beautiful.”
David was born in Santa Rosa, CA and grew up in rural Sonoma County. “Looking back, I feel I was so fortunate to grow up in that mostly rural area.”
Though he could not have known it when he began taking violin lessons at age four in Santa Rosa with Helen Payne Sloat, he was taking the first steps of a journey that would take him far from Santa Rosa at an early age. He entered the Crowden School in Berkeley at age nine, and the invitation to be one of 60 international students at the Yehudi Menuhin School near London came when he was 13. He lived and studied there for five years.
“Some of the instruments we played were from his (Menuhin’s) collection.”
Then back to the US, where he received his master’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and then to Berlin for the Konzertexamen (artist diploma) program at the Hanns Eisler Academy in Berlin, where he settled.
He is active in social concerns, including the projects of the Starcross Community to help AIDS orphans in Africa.
“It was the family I grew up in. They adopted and cared for many children with AIDS.”
He has performed in programs encouraging world peace promoted by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, given benefit concerts for Doctors Without Borders, and worked to get strings for their instruments to young music students in Cuba, where strings are very difficult to get.
Asking a musician his favorite composer is probably akin to asking a parent to name a favorite child. “I have many favorite composers and pieces to play. Besides the music of more obvious composers such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms, I also love to play the music of Bela Bartok, whether his sonatas, quartets, or orchestral music.”