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News & Articles | May 02, 2024

Dubuque Symphony Orchestra Announces Appointment of Dr. Nash Ryder as New Concertmaster

The Dubuque Symphony Orchestra (DSO) is pleased to announce the selection of its new Concertmaster, violinist Dr. Nash Ryder. He will join the DSO in its 2024-2025 Season, yet his first appearance as Concertmaster will be at our June 30, 2024 Summer Melodies concert at the Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. 

DSO Music Director and Conductor William Intriligator states, “We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Nash Ryder as our new Concertmaster of the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra. His playing is superb and his leadership is clear, yet he is friendly, unassuming, and easy-going. He will be a perfect fit for this orchestra as well as this community.” Intriligator continued, “We were blessed with five outstanding finalists for Concertmaster all season long. In my opinion, any of them would do an excellent job, so this decision was difficult because they all were so good. Yet Nash rose to the top and quickly won over the orchestra and the judging panel.”

The Concertmaster is the most important position among the players in an orchestra. If the conductor of the orchestra is like a “coach,” then the Concertmaster is the “team captain,” “quarterback,” and “MVP” all mixed into one. The Concertmaster is always the lead first violin and that person makes numerous, crucial artistic decisions for every concert by determining the specific bowings and nuances for the violins and the strings as a whole. The Concertmaster is also frequently called upon to perform solos, both within symphonic music as well as in concerto genres. In addition to their playing, the leadership qualities of the Concertmaster are extremely important. The Concertmaster oversees the string section of the orchestra, sometimes coaches them, and makes suggestions for changes during rehearsals. The Concertmaster serves as an ambassador for the orchestra in the community and is a figurehead of the orchestra who, at times, represents the entire personnel of the orchestra.

Dr. Ryder was selected from a highly qualified pool of five Concertmaster finalists, each of whom performed as Concertmaster with the DSO earlier this season. Dr. Ryder performed as Concertmaster on the most recent April Classics 5 concerts, and was featured in solos in Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5.

The decision was made by a panel of judges including Intriligator (Music Director and Conductor), Katie Klocke (Principal 2nd Violin), Christina Mixemong (Principal Viola), Philip Bergman (Principal Violoncello), Stephen Reichelt (Principal Bass), and Timothy Hagen (Principal Flute).

“I am thrilled and honored to be joining the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra as concertmaster next season,” shares Dr. Ryder. “Maestro Intriligator and the musicians of the DSO are tremendously inspiring performers, and I am eager to help continue a legacy of artistic excellence in the Dubuque community.”

Dr. Ryder first came to the attention of the DSO when he auditioned for Concertmaster and Assistant Concertmaster in the Fall of 2023. At that time, he was selected as the winner of the Assistant Concertmaster (3rd chair) position and was also selected as a finalist for Concertmaster. Now that he has accepted the Concertmaster position, the DSO will fill the Assistant Concertmaster chair by appointment or audition in the future.

Dr. Ryder is a professor of Violin at the University of Northern Iowa, and started that position in the Fall of 2023. He has studied with world-renowned artists and pedagogues Donald Weilerstein, Ronald Copes, Frank Huang, and Robin Scott. He earned his B.M. and M.M. in violin performance from the Juilliard School and was the first student in the institution’s history to receive both undergraduate honors and an accelerated graduate degree. He later received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music.

Featured on the highly acclaimed NPR radio show ‘From the Top’ in his youth, Dr. Ryder has since performed in a wide variety of venues internationally and nationally. He has been a featured soloist with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, Ars Flores Symphony Orchestra, the New England String Ensemble, White Mountain Bach Festival Orchestra, the Frost Symphony Orchestra, and the Colorado College SMF Orchestra.

Dr. Ryder has shared the stage with artists such as Josh Groban, Linda Eder, Joshua Bell, Itzhak Perlman, and Yo-Yo Ma, among others. His audiences have included former President George H.W. Bush, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, and Senator Susan Collins.

Former rotating concertmaster and teaching artist of the New World Symphony, Dr. Ryder has also performed with the Florida Orchestra, the Portland Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestra Iowa. In addition to his position at UNI, Dr. Ryder is also a faculty member of NEMC at the Snow Pond Center for the Arts and SummerKeys, both in Maine. Dr. Ryder will release an album of French works for unaccompanied violin through the Sheva Collection in 2024.

“We are thrilled to welcome Nash to our DSO family! His musicianship, leadership, and personality will help lead the DSO into an exciting future, and we hope he will remain Concertmaster for many years,” shares Mark Wahlert, DSO Executive Director.