“Tremendous feeling and beauty of tone” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2003) aptly describes the playing of Saint Louis Symphony concertmaster David Halen, who has been enthusiastically received in the United States, Europe and the Far East. In March 2004, his performance of Karl Amadeus Hartmann’s Concerto Funebre was described by music critic Sarah Bryan Miller as one of the most outstanding moments of the Saint Louis Symphony season. Paul Griffiths of the New York Times praised his solo work in Mahler Symphony #3 as “particularly beautiful“. He has also appeared as concertmaster and as soloist and with the San Francisco and Houston Symphony. Other solo appearances with Saint Louis have included works by Bach, Bernstein, Benjamin, Bruch, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Saint-Saens, Schubert, Sibelius, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky. During the orchestra’s 1994 European tour, reviewers in Frankfurt, Vienna, and London acknowledged his brilliant solo work in Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben. Subsequently, he was permanently named concertmaster in September 1995 by the orchestra, with the support of Music Directors Leonard Slatkin and Hans Vonk. Many of his performances have been featured on National Public Radio’s SLSO radio broadcasts, as well as on Performance Today.
His solo playing can also be heard on BMG Saint Louis Symphony recordings with Leonard Slatkin between 1992-96, as well as AAM Recordings. An advocate for orchestras, he has been a featured speaker at the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington DC.
Born in Bellevue, Ohio in 1959, Mr. Halen was raised in Springfield and Warrensburg, Missouri. A member of a musical family, his older brother is the associate concertmaster of the Houston Symphony, his mother, a former member of the Kansas City Symphony, and his father, violin professor emeritus at Central Missouri State University. David began playing the violin at the age of six, studying with both parents. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the age of nineteen and was granted a Fulbright scholarship for study with Wolfgang Marschner at the Freiburg Hochschule für Musik in Germany, the youngest recipient ever to have been honored with this prestigious award. In addition, Mr. Halen holds a master’s degree in violin from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, studying with Sergiu Luca. Prior to his appointment in St. Louis, Mr. Halen was a member of the Houston Symphony Orchestra, where he played from 1983 to 1991, serving as assistant concertmaster and performing chamber music with Christoph Eschenbach. During the past three summers he has served as concertmaster at the Aspen Music Festival under David Zinman. He has also been a featured artist at the Orford Arts Centre in Quebec, and the Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific in British Columbia. He is also Artistic Director of the Innsbrook Institute. Mr. Halen plays on a 1753 Giovanni Battista Guadagnini violin, made in Milan, Italy. He resides in St. Louis with his Korean-born wife, soprano Miran Halen and their son, Christopher.
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