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Jacobs School of Music

Alain Barker
Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Thursday, June 2, 2011

IU Jacobs Professor Jorja Fleezanis receives honorary doctorate from New England Conservatory

June 2, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Jorja Fleezanis, professor of violin and Henry A. Upper Chair in Orchestral Studies at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, received an honorary doctorate from New England Conservatory May 22 during its commencement ceremonies.

Jorja Fleezanis and other honorees

Jorja Fleezanis (second from right) joins Steve Reich, Speight Jenkins and Leo Treitler (left to right) at New England Conservatory.

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In addition, Fleezanis, who served as the Minnesota Orchestra's longest tenured concertmaster before joining the Jacobs School faculty in fall 2009, delivered the commencement address.

Fleezanis was touched to share the moment with Donald Weilerstein, one of her important violin teachers while she was at the Cleveland Institute of Music, who sat on stage with her as a faculty member of New England Conservatory. His son, Josh Weilerstein, gave the student address right before her Fleezanis' address. "That gave this occasion such a high level of celebration and a warm feeling of how the passage of time brings accomplishment and the beginnings of the next models of the future," she said.

Also receiving honorary doctorates during the exercises were composer Steve Reich, musicologist Leo Treitler and Speight Jenkins, general director of Seattle Opera.

The degrees pay tribute to musicians who have made outstanding contributions as performers and teachers, administrators, composers and musicologists.

"It was an occasion of honor and acknowledgement for the four people receiving doctorates and, of course, profiled our life's work as models to the hundreds of graduates witnessing the bestowing of our diplomas before receiving theirs," Fleezanis said.

About Jorja Fleezanis

Jorja Fleezanis

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Jorja Fleezanis was concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra from 1989 to 2009 -- the longest tenured concertmaster in the orchestra's history and only the second woman in the U.S. to hold the title of concertmaster in a major orchestra when appointed. Prior to Minnesota, she was associate concertmaster with the San Francisco Symphony for eight years.

A devoted teacher, Fleezanis became an adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota's School of Music in 1990. She has also enjoyed teaching roles with other organizations: as teacher and artist at the Round Top International Festival Institute in Texas (1990-2007); artist-in-residence at the University of California, Davis; guest artist and teacher at the San Francisco Conservatory, where she served on the faculty from 1981 to 1989; artist and mentor at the Music@Menlo Festival (2003-2008); teacher and coach at the New World Symphony (1988-2008) and a visiting teacher to the Boston Conservatory, The Juilliard School and Interlochen Academy and Summer Camp.

Fleezanis has had a number of works commissioned for her, including by the Minnesota Orchestra with the John Adams Violin Concerto and Ikon of Eros by John Tavener, the latter recorded on Reference Records. Her recording of the complete violin sonatas of Beethoven with the French fortepianist Cyril Huvé was released in 2003 on the Cyprés label. Other recordings include Aaron Jay Kernis' Brilliant Sky, Infinite Sky on CRI, commissioned for Fleezanis by the Schubert Club, and, with Garrick Ohlsson, Stefan Wolpe's Violin Sonata for Koch International.

Fleezanis studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music.