"As the SPCO has moved to becoming a primarily unconducted ensemble, the need for even more leadership from our musicians has led us to make the decision to add another principal violin," says Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Artistic Director and Principal Violin Kyu-Young Kim.
Enter Francisco Fullana. On Thursday, Sept. 22, the SPCO announced that Fullana has been named the orchestra's newest principal violin. Unique to the SPCO, the principal violin position will have leadership, solo and chamber music opportunities, splitting the more traditional principal second violin responsibilities with Kyu-Young Kim, the other principal violin.
"We feel very fortunate to have been able to recruit and appoint someone of Francisco's incredible artistic caliber," Kim says. "He passed through the audition process with flying colors and joined the orchestra for a trial period last season, culminating in an impressive solo turn in a fiendishly difficult string ensemble piece [Ginastera's Concerto for Strings] in our season finale last June."
Fullana, a native of Spain, is enjoying a diverse international career of concerto and recital appearances, as well as a wide array of collaborations as a chamber musician. He is currently in his second season as artist in residence for the Balearic Islands Symphony Orchestra, and since 2013, he is the concertmaster of the Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio, Texas, where he is also the artistic director of COSA's Chamber Music Institute.
The first time Fullana came to St. Paul to perform with the SPCO was in April of 2015. "I was so inspired by the incredible level of commitment of every member of the SPCO," Fullana says. "It left a deep impression and when given the chance to become one of the orchestra's leaders, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.
"One of my long-term goals has always been to play chamber music at the highest level with people that inspire me," Fullana continues. "There is nothing better than playing with this group of amazing musicians."
Fans of the SPCO won't have to wait long to see and hear Fullana performing with the ensemble. Fullana's playing will feature heavily in the Sept. 23 to 25 program of Baroque masterpieces as he plays first violin on Buxtehude's Sonata in C for Two Violins, Viola da Gamba and Continuo with Concertmaster Steven Copes, Principal Bass Zach Cohen (playing viola da gamba) and Artistic Partner Jonathan Cohen (playing harpsichord).
Fullana will be featured in a number of upcoming chamber music pieces and will be seen in rotating positions in the first and second violins throughout the coming season. "I am excited for the bright future that lies ahead," he says.