Nashville Symphony Announces Peter Otto as New Concertmaster
Cleveland Orchestra First Associate Concertmaster to Join the Orchestra in January 2024
NASHVILLE, TN – July 31, 2023 – The Nashville Symphony has announced the appointment of Peter Otto as the Orchestra’s new Walter Buchanan Sharp Concertmaster beginning in January 2024. Peter Otto comes to the Nashville Symphony from The Cleveland Orchestra where he was appointed First Associate Concertmaster in September 2007 and served as Acting Concertmaster from 2018 until 2022. Otto was one of three finalists selected to audition for the role. In addition to performing as Concertmaster for two subscription weeks, the candidates also performed a solo recital in front of a search committee of peers from the Orchestra and Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero.
“I am thrilled that Peter Otto will be joining the Nashville Symphony as Concertmaster. He is someone with vast and wonderful experience who I had the pleasure to work with during my time with the Cleveland Orchestra,” said Guerrero. “When Peter joined us in Nashville for some concerts this spring, there was an immense and immediate chemistry with the orchestra. Attracting someone like Peter speaks to the level of the Orchestra and our beautiful hall and shows that the Nashville Symphony can attract the highest caliber of artist.”
“The first time I sat in as Concertmaster of the Nashville Symphony in 2010, the program was Mahler’s Fifth Symphony and Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto with Giancarlo Guerrero conducting. The Orchestra was so warm and welcoming, and there was an immediate connection and spark,” said Otto. “Thirteen years later, I remain flabbergasted at their level of eagerness, responsiveness, and the ease and flexibility they demonstrate across a wide range of music. I’m honored to have been offered this post by Giancarlo, and I look forward to making my home in Music City.”
During his time with the Nashville Symphony, Guerrero has also been responsible for hiring 27 of the Nashville Symphony’s musicians, nearly a third of the ensemble, including Principal Second Violin, Principal Cello, Principal Oboe, Principal Clarinet, Principal Bassoon, Principal Trumpet, Principal Trombone, Principal Timpani, Principal Keyboard, and Principal Librarian.
About Peter Otto
German-born violinist Peter Otto enjoys a multi-faceted career as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral musician, and teacher. He was appointed First Associate Concertmaster of The Cleveland Orchestra by Franz Welser-Möst in 2007 and has regularly appeared as concerto soloist with the orchestra, including performances of Leonard Bernstein’s Serenade, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Mozart’s “Haffner” Serenade, and most recently William Walton’s Violin Concerto under the baton of Franz Welser-Möst. Mr. Otto has also performed as a soloist with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Heidelberg Chamber Orchestra, Camarata Rostockiensis, National Youth Orchestra of Germany, and the Cleveland Philharmonic. He has appeared as guest Concertmaster with the Nashville Symphony and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Otto served as Acting Concertmaster of The Cleveland Orchestra from 2018 until 2022, including numerous national and international tours. Previous to his engagement in Cleveland, he served as Assistant Concertmaster of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra.
Recital and chamber music performances have included engagements with the Heidelberger Frühling Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, Kultur unter alten Dächern in northeast Germany, MOCA Miami as part of Art Basel Miami, the Pulitzer Festival in Saint Louis, and the Cactus Pear Music Festival in San Antonio. Chamber music partners have included Orli Shaham, Yehonatan Berick, Jennifer Montone, Andre Emilianoff, Judith Gordon, Peter Henderson, and GRAMMY® Award-winning pianist Angelin Chang.
Peter Otto is a graduate of The Juilliard School and the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Rostock, Germany. His honors include top prizes in the Max Rostal Competition in Berlin and the Kingsville Young Performers Competition in Texas. Teachers have included Christiane Hutcap, Vera Kramarova, and Lewis Kaplan. Other significant musical influences were Roman Nodel, Igor Ozim, and Felix Galimir.
Otto has served as a faculty member of the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival and the Kent/Blossom Festival. He is a frequent guest teacher at the New World Symphony, leading masterclasses and coaching sessions for aspiring orchestral musicians. Peter Otto currently teaches violin at Cleveland State University.
About the Nashville Symphony
The Nashville Symphony has served as the primary ambassador for classical music in Music City since 1946. Led by Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero, the ensemble is internationally acclaimed for its focus on contemporary American orchestral music through collaborations with composers including Jennifer Higdon, Terry Riley, Joan Tower and Aaron Jay Kernis; commissioning and recording projects with Nashville-based artists including Edgar Meyer, Bela Fleck, Ben Folds and Victor Wooten; and for its 14 GRAMMY® Awards. In addition to the classical season, the orchestra performs concerts in a wide range of genres, from pops to live-to-film movie scores, family-focused presentations, holiday events, jazz and cabaret evenings, and more.
An established leader in the Nashville and regional arts and cultural communities, the Symphony spearheads groundbreaking community partnerships and initiatives, notably, Violins of Hope Nashville, which engaged tens of thousands of Middle Tennesseans through concerts, exhibits, lectures by spotlighting a historic collection of instruments played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust. Similarly, this spring, the Nashville Symphony presented the world premiere of an epic opera commissioned from Hannibal Lokumbe, The Jonah Project: A Legacy of Struggle and Triumph. Retracing his family’s ancestry and journey from slavery to the present day, Hannibal’s story celebrates the spirit of those who endured and thrived to become Black visionaries and world changers. More at nashvillesymphony.org
In addition to support from Metro Arts and Tennessee Arts Commission, Nashville Symphony is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number SLFRP5534 awarded to the State of Tennessee by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Nashville Symphony is also supported in part by an American Rescue Plan Act grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support general operating expenses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.