Meet Orchestra Iowa's New Concert Master Dawn Gingrich

Jul 9, 2015

Orchestra Iowa has a new concert master, Dawn Gingrich. She says she fell in love with the violin when she was three.

“I was constantly exposed to lots of great concerts,” she says. “When I was three years old, there was a women playing the violin at a concert I attended with my parents, and she had a terrific dress on. That’s really what stuck with me. I was reportedly insistent about violin lessons after that.”

When I was three years old, there was a women playing the violin at a concert I attended with my parents, and she had a terrific dress on. That's really what stuck with me. - Dawn Gingrich

A concert master is the principle violinist with an orchestra, second in line only to the conductor. 

During this Talk of Iowa segment, Gingrich talks with host Charity Nebbe. We also hear from Iowa Public Radio Classical host Barney Sherman. He says classical music has long had a lack of gender parity, but that is changing, in part because orchestras started hosting blind auditions where those auditions are behind a screen.

“Iowa has several orchestras with female concert masters. Ten years ago, that was not the case. This really is becoming a golden age for female composers too,” he explains. “Women were very much discouraged from composing 50 years ago, but now the Pulitzer prizes are increasingly going to women.”