CSO’s Musical Chairs-Two New Violists in, Principal Bassoon out

There has been a bit of  musical chairs taking place at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra recently. Wei-Ting Kuo and Danny Lai have become the two newest members of the viola section, while principal bassoon David McGill has resigned the position that he has held for 17 years.

Kuo and Lai will officially become members of the CSO on May 19. Kuo has spent the past two years as Assistant Principal Viola in the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. The Taiwan native’s resume includes a string of impressive competition wins . He was the first violist to win the first prizes in the Hsing-Tien-Gong String Competition, the Young Artist Showcase String Competition, and the National Taiwan Normal University String Competition. He was also a finalist in the 2008 Primrose International Viola Competition and a prizewinner at the 2009 Tokyo International Viola Competition.

Lai joins the CSO fresh off of a two-year stint in the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. He was also a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago from 2010-2012, where he served for a season each as Assistant Principal and Principal Viola. Lai is the 17th current member of the CSO to have been a member of the Civic Orchestra.

As the two new violists join the orchestra, principal bassoon David McGill will prepare to make his exit in August of 2014. One of the world’s most renowned bassoonists, McGill has been a member of the CSO since 1997. He has soloed with the CSO over 25 times, including appearances at Carnegie Hall in 2005 and with John Williams in his bassoon concerto, The Five Sacred Trees. McGill is resigning  in order to accept a full-time teaching position at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music.

In regards to McGill’s departure, CSO Music Director Riccardo Muti remarked, “After many wonderful years as Principal Bassoon of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, David McGill has decided now to dedicate his talents to teaching and soloist activities. In him, the Orchestra loses an exceptional artist and I will personally miss not only a musician but also a friend.  David’s deep musical experiences will enable him to make an important contribution to the teaching of young musicians, continuing the great tradition that he himself received.  I send my best wishes for his continued success in all his musical activities.”

Photos courtesy of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

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