Cleveland Orchestra's Associate Concertmaster Resigns "On Principle"

Classic Arts News   Cleveland Orchestra's Associate Concertmaster Resigns "On Principle"
Ellen dePasquale, the associate concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra, has resigned from her post in the wake of the creation of a new chair in the first violin section that would supersede her position.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the 33-year-old dePasquale would state no reason for her decision, saying only that "It's not something that's practical or logical. It's purely based on principle."

That principle evidently has to do with the orchestra's decision to create a new position, first associate concertmaster. The chair would be the number-two spot in the first violin section (and the orchestra membership), behind concertmaster William Preucil — effectively demoting dePasquale to third place. Orchestra management notified her and other musicians of the new post in October, according to The Plain Dealer.

Cleveland Orchestra executive director Gary Hanson told the paper that the new is being created "to strengthen the leadership at the front of the [first-violin] section." He did not elaborate.

DePasquale, who was appointed associate concertmaster in 1999 by then-music director Christoph von Dohnšnyi, has a serious orchestral pedigree: six of her relatives have been string players with the Philadelphia Orchestra, including her father, Robert, who was for many years associate principal second violin there.

She told The Plain Dealer that she would depart from the orchestra at the end of this summer's season at the Blossom Music Center outside Cleveland. After that, she said, "I'd like to play in a great orchestra, like to teach, like to play chamber music. At this point, I'd like to take my chances and see what comes up for me."

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