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Alain Barker
Jacobs School of Music

Linda Cajigas
Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Friday, April 26, 2013

IU Jacobs School faculty violinist Alexander Kerr receives Distinguished Hoosier Award

April 26, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie bestowed the Distinguished Hoosier Award on violinist Alexander Kerr during an April 24 ceremony at Bryan House on the Bloomington campus.

Alexander Kerr, right, receives the Distinguished Hoosier Award from IU President Michael A. McRobbie.

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Kerr is professor of music and Linda and Jack Gill Chair in Music at the IU Jacobs School of Music.

McRobbie conferred the honor on behalf of former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who signed the award before the end of his term in January.

"I extend heartfelt congratulations to Professor Kerr on receiving this much-deserved Indiana honor," McRobbie said. "Even before joining the faculty of IU's renowned Jacobs School of Music, Professor Kerr had delivered a number of widely praised performances on the Bloomington campus. Since joining the faculty, he has continued to distinguish himself as an outstanding performer, as a first-rate orchestral leader with the Indianapolis Symphony and other major orchestras, and as an excellent teacher who is having a profound impact on generations of future musicians."

"I am deeply honored to be given this prestigious award by Governor Daniels and the state of Indiana," Kerr said. "To have it presented to me by President and Mrs. McRobbie, with family, friends and dear colleagues by my side, made it an even more special and heart-warming surprise."

In 1996, at the age of 26, Kerr was appointed concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. After nine years at that post, he left in June 2006 to assume his position on the faculty of the Jacobs School.

"Since joining the faculty, Alex Kerr has helped energize a new era in string performance at the Jacobs School of Music," Jacobs School Dean Gwyn Richards said. "And his impact on Indiana's musical life has been further felt through his musical leadership of the Indianapolis Symphony and numerous performances around the state. We congratulate him on this distinct honor."

In addition to his teaching responsibilities in Bloomington, Kerr maintains a busy concert schedule, appearing with orchestras and in recital and chamber music performances throughout the United States, Asia and Europe.

In 2008, he began his tenure as principal guest concertmaster of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and, in September 2011, assumed his role as concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Kerr has appeared as soloist with major orchestras throughout the United States and Europe. Highlights this year include a series of piano quartet concerts with pianist Menahem Pressler -- a fellow Jacobs School faculty member -- and several colleagues, including Lawrence Dutton, Kim Kashkashian, Lawrence Power and Paul Watkins.

Performances of the Barber Concerto with the Hartford and Dallas Symphonies are also on the schedule as well as a performance of Beethoven's Triple Concerto with pianist Orion Weiss and cellist Eric Kim -- also a Jacobs faculty member -- and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra.

Kerr recently launched a collaboration with Kim and the Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation showcasing the wealth of talent at the Jacobs School. The Starling Chamber Players, a mixture of faculty and students, tour chamber music venues throughout the nation.

Kerr's CD releases include the Dvorak Piano Quintet with Sarah Chang and Leif Ove Andsnes on the EMI label, music by Dutch composer Julius Röntgen on the NM Classics label and the Shostakovich "Romance" on a series of discs including "Violin Adagios" and "Evening Adagios" released by Decca. A live DVD and CD recording of Strauss' "Ein Heldenleben" with Kerr, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Maestro Mariss Jansons was released in 2005 on the orchestra's own label, RCOLive!

Raised in Alexandria, Va., Kerr began his studies at age seven with members of the National Symphony Orchestra.

He went on to study with Sally Thomas at the Juilliard School and with Aaron Rosand at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he received his Bachelor of Music degree in 1992.