Sarah Kwak, violin

Oregon Symphony Concertmaster Sarah Kwak joined the orchestra in August 2012 after serving as First Associate Concertmaster in the Minnesota Orchestra from 1988 to 2012 and as that orchestra’s Acting Concertmaster from January 2010 to September 2011. With the Minnesota Orchestra, Sarah performed as soloist in many works, including Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending, Wieniawski’s Second Violin Concerto, Bach’s Double Violin Concerto, the Brahms Double Concerto and the Glazunov Violin Concerto. She was also featured in many chamber works during Sommerfest, most recently Brahms’ B-major Piano Trio at Sommerfest 2011. In 2006 she was a soloist in two world premieres: Kevin Puts’ Sinfonia concertante and Steve Heitzeg’s Peace Cranes.

Kwak, a 2008 McKnight Artist Fellowship winner, has been soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Houston Symphony and Curtis Chamber Orchestra, and she has toured internationally with the Casa Verde Trio, including a three-and-a-half-week tour of China. She was a founding member of the Rosalyra String Quartet, which made its New York debut in 1996 and was awarded a McKnight Artist Fellowship in 2000. With Rosalyra, Kwak recorded a CD of Bartók and Beethoven quartets for Boston Records, as well as Shostakovich and Brahms CDs for the Artegra label; in 2008 the ensemble released an album of Fauré piano quartets. She has participated in the Marlboro Music Festival, Pensacola Festival, Pittsburgh Summerfest, Bargemusic of New York and Festival Mozart in France.

Born in Boston and raised in Lawrence, Kansas, Kwak entered Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute at 12, studied briefly at the Vienna Hochschule fí¼r Musik and graduated from Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music in 1983. Among her teachers were Joseph Sivo, Ivan Galamian and Szymon Goldberg. The first artist ever to capture all three memorial awards at the Washington International Competition, Kwak also won the 1989 WAMSO Young Artist Competition. Before coming to the Twin Cities, she served on the faculty of Princeton University.