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Last modified: Friday, November 11, 2005

Virtuoso violinist Alexander Kerr to join IU School of Music

Nov. 11, 2005

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Adding to a burgeoning list of recent noteworthy faculty appointments, the Indiana University School of Music announced today (Nov. 11) that virtuoso violinist Alexander Kerr will join its faculty ranks, pending approval of the IU Board of Trustees. Kerr comes to IU from the famed Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, where he is concertmaster. He joins violinists Mark Kaplan and Jaime Laredo, cellist Sharon Robinson and violist Yuval Gotlibovich as recent appointments to IU's renowned String Department.

Alexander Kerr

Print-Quality Photo

Kerr, 35, who will become the department's youngest violin professor, has been named to the Linda and Jack Gill Chair in Music. Laredo, who previously held that endowed position, will assume a newly established chair in music, the name of which will be announced soon by the School of Music.

Fittingly, both Kerr and Laredo have cited the great performer-teacher Josef Gingold as a major influence on their careers. Kerr hopes to further a tradition of excellence that Gingold inspired in many who teach at the school.

"Because the Indiana University School of Music enjoys the reputation as one of the world's most prestigious music schools, I am truly honored to join its faculty," Kerr said. "I am inspired by the example of one of my heroes, the late great Josef Gingold, who joined the School of Music following years of leading a great symphony orchestra."

IU School of Music Dean Gwyn Richards said, "In his early career, Alex Kerr has distinguished himself in his playing, his orchestral leadership and in his teaching. He brings a zeal and a passion to all that he does, which is infectious and exciting to the young musician."

In celebrating Kerr's appointment, Lawrence Hurst, chair of the String Department, said, "Alex Kerr's appointment to the string faculty is of enormous significance to the IU School of Music. His background as concertmaster of one of the world's great orchestras and his extraordinary gifts and accomplishments as a violinist will bring a wonderful musical perspective, not only to the violin students of the School of Music, but to the orchestral and chamber music programs as well."

Raised in Alexandria, Va., Kerr balances an orchestral career with solo and chamber engagements throughout Europe, North America and the Far East. In 1996, at the age of 26, he was appointed concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He said he leaves the orchestra "with a heart full of cherished memories," including concerts under renowned conductors such as Mariss Jansons, Bernard Haitink and Riccardo Chailly.

Kerr has appeared as a soloist with major orchestras throughout the United States and Europe and as a chamber musician at some of the world's premier music festivals. As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with a number of the world's top musicians, including Grammy Award-winning IU music alums Joshua Bell and Edgar Meyer. He recently toured Europe with acclaimed violinist Sara Chang and members of the Berlin Philharmonic. He also has launched a new piano trio with pianist Anton Nel and cellist Paul Watkins.

Local audiences might remember Kerr's striking appearances in Bloomington during IU's 2004 Summer Music Festival. Kerr delivered a widely praised solo performance at Auer Hall one July evening, and then showcased his directing skills the next night while leading the Festival Orchestra in works by Bach, Bartok and Dvorak.

Kerr has numerous CD releases to his credit, including the Dvorak Piano Quintet with Sara Chang and renowned Norwegian classical pianist Leif Ove Andsnes; music by Dutch composer Julius Röntgen; and Shostakovich's Romance on a series of discs including "Violin Adagios" and "Evening Adagios." He also has contributed to a live DVD and CD recording of Strauss' Ein Heldenleben with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Maestro Mariss Jansons.

A member of the faculties of the Amsterdam Conservatory and the Aspen Music Festival and School in Colorado, Kerr regularly presents masterclasses at several of the nation's leading music schools and conservatories.

For a complete list of faculty in the String Department, go to