Concertmaster, Naoum Blinder Chair
Alexander Barantschik, occupant of the Naoum Blinder Chair, began his tenure as San Francisco Symphony Concertmaster in September 2001. Former concertmaster of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra (Germany), London Symphony Orchestra (1989 to 2001) and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic (1982 to 2001), he has also been an active soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe. He has collaborated in chamber music with André Previn, Antonio Pappano and, on several occasions, Mstislav Rostropovich. As leader of the LSO, Mr. Barantschik toured Europe, Japan, and the US, performed as soloist, and served as concertmaster for acclaimed cycles of Mahler, Stravinsky, and Debussy with Michael Tilson Thomas, as well as major symphonic cycles with Rostropovich and Bernard Haitink. He was also concertmaster for Pierre Boulez’s year-long, three-continent 75th Birthday Celebration.
Born in Russia, Mr. Barantschik attended the Saint Petersburg Conservatory and went on to perform with the major Russian orchestras, including the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic. His awards include first prize in the International Violin Competition in Sion, Switzerland, and in the Russian National Violin Competition. Since joining the SFS, Mr. Barantschik has led the Orchestra in several programs and appeared as soloist in concertos and other works by J.S. Bach, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Beethoven, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Walton, Piazzolla, and Schnittke, among others. In May 2019, he appears as soloist with the SFS in J.S. Bach’s Violin Concerto No. 2, with conductor Juraj Valčuha. Mr. Barantschik is a member of the faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he teaches graduate students from around the world in a special concertmaster program.
Through an arrangement with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Mr. Barantschik has the exclusive use of the 1742 Guarnerius del Gesù violin once owned by the virtuoso Ferdinand David, who is believed to have played it in the world premiere of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in 1845. It was also the favorite instrument of the legendary Jascha Heifetz, who acquired it in 1922 and who bequeathed it to the Fine Arts Museums, with the stipulation that it be played only by artists worthy of the instrument and its legacy. For more on Alexander Barantschik, visit sfsymphony.org/alexanderbarantschik.