The Northern Neck Orchestra has named Johnathan Spence as its new concertmaster, announced Michelle Lybarger, orchestra president.
Spence has played with several orchestras and chamber music ensembles, including the Virginia Symphony, the Rochester Symphony, the Arcanum String Quartet and the Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra. He continues to perform in chamber music festivals across the country.
“We are delighted that Johnathan has joined the Northern Neck Orchestra as concertmaster,” Lybarger said. “He is an exceptional musician, violinist, leader and educator who brings an infectious exuberance to the vital role of concertmaster.”
While new to the Northern Neck Orchestra, Spence quickly found it to be a special group. “I love it here and so do our musicians,” he observed. “That shared enthusiasm makes it easier to play great music and create something special for our audience.”
Spence explained that there is more to the responsibilities of concertmaster than just making sure the orchestra is in tune before the concert begins and the conductor walks on stage. “Concertmasters must know the music thoroughly, lead the violin section though their phrasing, bowing and body language and help all strings perform as a cohesive unit fulfilling the conductor’s vision of the work,” he said.
Focusing on his twin passions of teaching and performing, Spence recently returned to his hometown of Virginia Beach and opened the Spence Academy for Strings.
Spence is actively engaged in a variety of outreach programs for students in both public and private schools in the Hampton Roads area, performing and teaching chamber music.
Spence received his doctoral degree of music in violin and viola from Stony Brook University. He also is a graduate of East Carolina University.
He will be performing a recital at Chandler Hall on the campus of Old Dominion University in Norfolk on January 19, playing Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 10 and Grieg’s Violin Sonata No. 3 for violin and piano.
The next concert of the Northern Neck Orchestra will be “An Evening with Mozart,” performed on March 23 at the St. Clare Walker Middle School Theatre in Locust Hill, and on March 24 at the Northumberland High School Theatre in Heathsville.