DSO Welcomes Two New Musicians

DSO Welcomes Two New Musicians

Following its Season Finale on Saturday, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) invited two new musicians to fill principal positions within the orchestra, ending a successful hiring season with a total of eight new additions to the DSO roster.

Ralph Skiano, 34, currently Principal Clarinet of the Richmond Symphony, has been offered the Principal Clarinet position, succeeding Theodore Oien who held the position for 26 years and will also retire on July 31. Minnesota native Kevin Brown, 27, who graduated from Rice University in 2013 and is a regular guest musician with major orchestras nationwide, has been offered the position of Principal Bass, vacated by Alexander Hanna, now Principal Bass of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, in 2012.

"It's a true honor to be invited to join Maestro Slatkin and the legendary Detroit Symphony Orchestra," said Skiano. "To play with these amazing musicians in this beautiful hall is absolutely thrilling and a dream come true."

"I'm absolutely thrilled to be joining the DSO," said Brown. "I've always felt connected to the Midwest, and I have had nothing but wonderful experiences meeting and making music with all of my new colleagues here in Detroit. I feel very fortunate to have landed in a place where I feel at home musically, geographically and personally."

The finalists, who both performed their trial week on last week's program featuring Mahler's Third Symphony, were selected from a pool of some 190 candidates who came to Detroit from around the world to take these two auditions.

Pending individual contract negotiations, the two musicians will officially join the orchestra for the 2014-2015 season.

"We are thrilled that these outstanding musicians have been added to the DSO roster," said DSO Music Director Leonard Slatkin. "Each brings a combination of outstanding solo playing, leadership abilities and rapport with their new colleagues. This brings the number of new hires this past season to eight. I look forward to many years of great music making with all of them."

Jeremy Epp, who accepted the position of Principal Timpani earlier in 2014 and begins officially in the fall, also performed with the orchestra this weekend. Scott Strong accepted the position of Third Horn earlier this season also performed with the DSO this weekend and will officially begin his position in the fall. A Principal Cello finalist, who is currently a member of the New York Philharmonic, will perform a trial week in the fall.

With these hires, the DSO has brought on 22 new musicians since the orchestra's return to the stage in 2011. The other new arrivals include nine violins, Assistant Principal Cello, two section cellos, Third and Fourth Horn, Principal Trumpet, English Horn, Principal Flute, Principal Percussion, Principal Timpani and Yoonshin Song, concertmaster.

The DSO will host Assistant Principal Percussion finals later this month, and plans to hold eight auditions during the 2014-15 season.