Part One: Introducing the Violin

Violin RBP website

The first chords of the 66th season of the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra will resound in NAU’s Ardrey Auditorium on Friday, Sept. 25. When the star of the evening, acclaimed violin soloist Rachel Barton Pine, takes the stage to perform the Brahms Violin Concerto, she will have in hand a long-time partner – a 273-year-old violin with a remarkable history.

Her instrument, known today as the “ex-Bazzini ex-Soldat.”  was made in 1742 by Joseph Guarneri “del Gesù” (1698-1744), who is considered to be one of the two greatest violin makers of all time. Guarneri was called del Gesù (literally, “of Jesus”) because his labels after 1731 were imprinted with the sacred letters I.H.S., and a Roman cross. Today fewer than 200 of Guarneri’s violins survive. The quality and scarcity of his instruments have resulted in modern sale prices of almost $20 million. “Del Gesù” violins have been the preferred instruments of many famous violinists including Paganini, Kreisler, Heifetz, Stern, and Zukerman.

German composer Johannes Brahms was at the height of his career in 1879 when he was introduced to 15-year-old Marie Soldat, a gifted violinist. Taken by her virtuosity, Brahms welcomed her into his inner circle and she became a lifelong friend. In 1897, as he was writing his Violin Concerto, Brahms selected a particular Guarneri violin for Soldat to perform his new work. The violin, which had a full and rich tone, had belonged to Antonio Bazzini, an Italian violinist who had recently died. Brahms then persuaded a wealthy Viennese businessman to purchase the instrument and loan it to Soldat for her lifetime. The Brahms concerto became her signature piece.

After Soldat’s death, her violin was bought by a collector and disappeared for many years. In 2002, Rachel Barton Pine became the fortunate recipient of a lifetime loan of the instrument from an anonymous patron. The Guarneri has a one-piece back and is in remarkably good condition with much of its original varnish and no major repairs. Barton Pine says, “The ex-Bazzini, ex-Soldat is truly my voice. Since I started playing it, I’m not even curious to try other violins anymore!” She believes Brahms may have chosen this violin, in part, because its voice represents most closely what he envisioned for his concerto.

“With the ex-Bazzini, ex-Soldat in my hands,” she says, “I can never accept that sounding good is good enough. I’m always seeking more nuances and subtleties, because whatever I envision can be found in this instrument and I often stumble across colors I hadn’t even thought of yet. It’s truly a collaborative relationship.

“I love the fact that Brahms heard “my” violin in the hands of his protégée, Marie Soldat. It’s amazing to know something of an instrument’s history and realize that you’re the next chapter in its life. Hopefully, it will have lots more adventures long after I’m gone.”

Rachel Barton Pine performs the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra on September 25th at the NAU Ardrey Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased by telephone at (928) 523-5661 or online at the NAU Central Ticketing Office.

Can’t wait for the September 25th concert? Take a peek at this video of Rachel Barton Pine as she gives a short introduction to this famous Violin on YouTube.

Part Two comes next week!

*Image Copyright © 2015 courtesy of Rachel Barton Pine.

Search Opens for FSO Music Director

The Flagstaff Symphony Association welcomes nominations and applications for the position of Music Director, available beginning in the 2017–2018 season.

The Position

The Music Director reports directly to the board and is responsible for the fulfillment of the orchestra’s artistic potential and its image in the community. In collaboration with the board and staff, s/he is responsible for the repertoire, programming, and artistic production, and has primary authority for the selection, development, and replacement of musicians, in accordance with the orchestra policy. As the orchestra’s artistic leader, s/he must build and sustain the orchestra’s visibility and involvement in the community. The Music Director is expected to work closely with the Executive Director, board president, board committees, and staff in carrying out these responsibilities and to participate actively in the orchestra’s fundraising activities.

Candidate Profile

Candidates must possess exceptional musicianship and conducting skills; significant professional conducting experience, including work with professional musicians and knowledge of a broad range of repertoire. Ideal candidates will also demonstrate strong interpersonal, leadership, and communication skills; enthusiasm for and experience with music education and community engagement; vision, passion, and ability to make symphonic music relevant and exciting for existing and new audiences. Candidates should be prepared to commit to engaging with the Flagstaff community. Previous or current music directorship or comparable experience preferred.

The Orchestra

The mission of the Flagstaff Symphony Association is to enrich, engage, and inspire our community through the performance of orchestral music.

The Flagstaff Symphony resides within Coconino County and serves as the professional orchestra for northern Arizona. Now celebrating its 66th season, the Flagstaff Symphony is the largest and most active nonprofit performing arts organization in the region. What began in 1950 as a small community ensemble has developed into a regional orchestra of 65 musicians that reaches an audience of more than 14,000 each year. The orchestra’s season includes six symphonic subscription concerts, a holiday production of The Nutcracker, an outdoor summer pops concert, and three concerts for elementary school students offered through partnership with the Link Up program of the Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute. Subscription concerts are performed in the 1,330 seat Ardrey Memorial Auditorium on the campus of Northern Arizona University.

The Flagstaff Symphony is governed by a 21-member board of directors and is supported by a professional administrative staff. The Flagstaff Symphony Guild comprises more than 100 volunteer members who support the orchestra through fundraising projects and special events while increasing visibility throughout the community. The Flagstaff Symphony has operated debt-free with a balanced budget for the past two seasons. The current operating budget is $650,000 and the orchestra has an endowment of $360,000. Former music directors include Harold Weller, Randall Craig Fleischer, and Elizabeth Schulze (who concludes her nine-year tenure in the 2016-2017 season).

Flagstaff and northern Arizona offer an inspirational combination of natural wonders, cultural traditions, and rich artistic life. This four-season community of 65,000 residents is located at an elevation of 7,000 feet on the Colorado Plateau, near the base of the majestic San Francisco Peaks and Mt. Elden, and within the largest contiguous Ponderosa pine forest in North America. Flagstaff is the home of Northern Arizona University, the Museum of Northern Arizona, and Lowell Observatory. Nearby attractions include the Grand Canyon, the red rocks of Sedona, the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest, and Arizona Snowbowl. Flagstaff is also the closest major city in Arizona to the Navajo Nation and Hopi Native American Reservation.


Competitive salary commensurate with experience and qualifications

Application Procedure

This position will commence with the 2017-2018 season. As part of the search process, FSO plans to invite candidates as guest conductors for the 2016-2017 season.

Applications should be submitted by email to no later than September 30, 2015.

The subject header of the email should read “Music Director Search” followed by the candidate’s name in parentheses. Example: Music Director Search (Jane Doe)

The application must include a personal letter of interest and statement of artistic vision, a CV (including a current repertoire list and names and contact information for three references), and links to video recordings (which must include at least one rehearsal). Please do not include materials that are not specifically requested.

The Flagstaff Symphony Association is dedicated to recruiting, hiring, developing, compensating, and promoting the best qualified individuals for positions within the organization. The Association provides equal employment opportunity to all employees and applicants.


FSO Musician Auditions: September 1st, 2nd, & 3rd

The Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra announces auditions for the 2015-16 season.


Tuesday, September 1 (winds, percussion, and brass)
Wednesday, September 2 (violin, viola)
Thursday, September 3 (cello, double bass)

Northern Arizona University School of Music

Second Oboe
Section Horn
Section Percussion
Section Strings

Audition Material:
Excerpts are available online.

Call: 928-774-5107 x102

Summer Chamber Music Concerts August 23 & 30

The Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra will present two free small ensemble concerts at distinctive locations in August.

The Ponderosa Players
Sunday, August 23 at 5pm
Lowell Observatory
1400 W Mars Hill Road, Flagstaff

Ponderosa Players

Enjoy an outdoor afternoon concert by the Ponderosa Players on serene Mars Hill in front of the Lowell Observatory Rotunda building.

Elden Brass Quintet
Sunday, August 30 at 5pm
Flagstaff Ranch Clubhouse
3850 Lariat Loop, Flagstaff

Elden Brass Quintet

Visit the beautiful and exclusive Flagstaff Ranch Golf Club for a performance by the Elden Brass Quintet and enjoy light appetizers and a cash bar.

Flagstaff Ranch will serve a limited seating prix fixe dinner after the concert for $32 per person.

View the Flagstaff Ranch dinner menu.

Call 928-226-3101 for information and to make dinner reservations for August 30.

Flagstaff Ranch logo

Summer Concerts Sponsors
Ted Bowell and Anne-Marie Malotki
Otto and Gallina Franz
Nat and Jean White


Guild Presents Annual Home Tour August 8th

The Annual Home Tour is a major fundraising initiative of the Flagstaff Symphony Guild. Tickets are $35 and provide individuals access to five distinctive Flagstaff homes.

Saturday, August 8th, 2015 | 10am – 4pm

The 2015 Home Tour features the historic Colton House, the original home of Museum of Northern Arizona founders Dr. Harold S. Colton and wife Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton. Built in 1929, it is a 6,000 square-foot Spanish colonial revival-style rock lodge constructed by Hopi craftsmen using local materials, malpais rock, Ponderosa pine, and Douglas fir. The Colton House is included in the National Register of Historic Places as an outstanding example of regional architecture featuring clay tiles, incised beams, beehive fireplaces, and wrought iron detailing and, most recently, was named as one of the Flagstaff’s Iconic 50.

Colton House

For information about the Home Tour and to purchase tickets, contact any of the following Flagstaff Symphony Guild members:

Mary Hostetler – 928-522-0549 or 928-699-7478
Gwen Randolph – 928.526-6058
Marilyn Stratton – 928-522-8288

Season 66 Brochure: Subscribe Now!

Download the FSO 2015-16 season brochure and subscribe today for the best seats at the best discount! Subscribers save up 20% off single ticket prices!

Subscribe by phone at 928.523.5661 or by mail via the order form.
Online subscription ordering coming soon!

Flagstaff Symphony season brochure
FSO Season 66 brochure; original artwork by Linda Shearer-Whiting

The Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra enters its 66th season with a renewed mission: to enrich, engage, and inspire our community through the performance of orchestral music. In her eighth season as Artistic Director and Conductor, Elizabeth Schulze leads the Orchestra in unforgettable concerts in 2015-2016.

Like the Mother Road that made Flagstaff famous, Season 66 offers audiences a journey full of adventure and ambition. Through this music we feel the significance of history and drive forward into an exciting future. Experience the thrill of live orchestral music in northern Arizona with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra!

Elizabeth Schulze will pass the baton in 2017 after nine seasons

Maestra Elizabeth Schulze, Artistic Director and Conductor of the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, has announced that she will conclude her tenure with the FSO at the end of her current contract in the 2016-2017 season. At the time she passes the baton to her successor, Maestra Schulze will have been at the helm of the FSO for nine seasons.

“I am so grateful for and proud of the time I have spent with this wonderful orchestra and its supportive community” Schulze said. “Together, we have expanded and diversified our repertoire and created new audiences for the great music that we play. I am looking forward to returning to an active guest conducting schedule along with my ongoing duties as Music Director of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra.”

During her tenure, Schulze has led the orchestra through a period of artistic growth, increased community engagement, and national acclaim. In 2013 she was honored for her work with the FSO with the Medallion in Conducting awarded by the Sorel Charitable Organization, a non-profit that advances the role of women in music. A champion of music in education, Schulze is also responsible for bringing educational concerts back to the annual offering of the FSO through an ongoing partnership with the Carnegie Hall “Link Up” program.

“It has been my honor and pleasure to work with Elizabeth for the past two seasons,” said FSO Executive Director Christopher Barton. “She is a remarkable artist who brings unmatched passion and generosity to her work. Though I will truly miss our partnership, I know I can look forward to celebrating her future accomplishments.”

“Maestra Schulze has a fantastic upcoming season planned for our audience,” said FSO Board President Carl Taylor. “We are grateful for the tremendous growth of our organization under her leadership over the past seven years and for the continuity her presence through the 2016-2017 season provides.” The Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra 2015-2016 season, its 66th, opens on September 25th with guest soloist Rachel Barton Pine performing the Brahms Violin Concerto.

The FSO Board of Directors is moving forward immediately to form a committee to search for Schulze’s successor.

Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra is Full Circle Trade & Thrift May Grantee

Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra is a proud and grateful partner organization of Full Circle Trade & Thrift and will be the beneficiary of a grant award from the store during May.

Throughout May, when you donate gently used items, shop and volunteer at Full Circle Trade & Thrift at 122 Route 66 in Flagstaff, you help support the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra.

Bring clothing, furniture, household items, and that jewelry you no longer wear, and donate to this circle of giving. Full Circle Trade & Thrift is non-profit store that grants its revenues back to other nonprofits in arts, education and social services.

Each Saturday in May, the symphony will arrange for live music to make your Full Circle experience even more rewarding.


The month kicks off with a Red Door Auction at the store at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 2. Come early for a 9 a.m. preview of the high-quality items Full Circle is known to auction. Cars, recreational vehicles, Native American items and more, often make the auction a lively event.

Another great deal is that your valuable items can be consigned in the auction and you can receive 65 percent of the finale sale value. This consignment opportunity is a fantastic way to quickly get a higher sales value and show your support. And if you have large items for donation or auction requiring pick up, contact Full Circle at 928.214.1094 or FSO at 928.774.5107. Thank you!

Full Circlelogo-125px


Flagstaff Symphony performs Carmina Burana April 17

The awe-inspiring music of Carmina Burana comes to life with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, the Master Chorale of Flagstaff, NAU’s Shrine of the Ages Choir, Flagstaff Youth Chorale, and guest singers, 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 17, at NAU Ardrey Memorial Auditorium.

“Carmina Burana is a choral-orchestral masterpiece, one of the most iconic works of the 20th Century, and a powerful sensory experience beyond comparison,” FSO Executive Director Christopher Barton said. “A massive work like this, performed with our partner choruses from the community is an exciting way to conclude this 65th season.”

carmina image

Carmina Burana is the name given to more than 200 poems discovered from medieval times reflecting the human condition with themes of fate, love, lust, and the power of fortune. Composer Carl Orff also is remembered for his influence in the field of music education — a fitting season finale for FSO in a year that included the growing success of its Link Up music education program.

Link Up, in collaboration with the Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute, brings music curriculum and a live concert experience to third through fifth graders in northern Arizona.

The first half of the program is a performance of The Accursed Hunstman by 19th Century composer Cesar Auguste Franck. Audiences will enjoy this adventure about a hunter who dares to go into the woods rather than worship on a Sunday morning. Deep among the trees, the hunter is cursed by a terrible voice condemning him to be pursued by demons for eternity.

In its 65th season, the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra is the largest and most active performing arts organization in northern Arizona. Artistic Director and Conductor Elizabeth Schulze, now in her seventh season, leads performances with superb musical sense and attention to excellence. The orchestra is comprised of musicians from diverse backgrounds who form an ensemble capable of performing a variety of musical styles and repertoire. The FSO mission is to enrich, engage, and inspire our community through the performance of orchestral music.

For tickets, go to, or call 928.523.5661. Tickets range in price and include discounts for students, seniors, educators and the military.



Edith Copley, director

Erica Kragness, director



FSO to Make Music, Magic & Memories at March 28 GALA

Music, Magic and Memories await Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra supporters who will dine and dance at the organization’s March 28 Gala celebrating 65 years of live symphonic music in Flagstaff.

A sapphire anniversary-themed evening begins with a champagne reception followed by a gourmet meal, silent and live auctions, a sapphire jewelry raffle and dancing to the Big Band Connection.

The FSO Gala Committee has been creating a night that sparkles, keeping in tune with FSO Visionary Sounds 2014-15 programming featuring imaginative, powerful, and revolutionary music, performed by the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra and world renowned guest artists.

Visionary local citizens who believed that an orchestra is an essential part of a vibrant community founded FSO in 1950.  Generous donors, supporters and symphony attendees continue to sustain the non-profit organization and enable it to enrich, engage and inspire Arizona communities with great concerts and education programs. Artistic Director and Conductor Elizabeth Schulze, now in her seventh season, leads performances with superb musical sense and attention to excellence. The symphony employs about 60 local musicians from diverse backgrounds.

FSO also is continuing its partnership with Link Up, a music education program of the Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute. The program links local students in grades 3-5 with orchestral music through a hands-on curriculum, culminating in year-end concert performed by the Flagstaff Symphony.

The Sapphire Sponsor for the Gala is Thrivent Financial. Gala sponsors also include Hufford, Horstman Mongini, Parnell & Tucker, PC; Findlay Toyota; National Bank of Arizona; Northern Arizona Healthcare; NAU Office of the President; Pioneer Title Agency and Smart Document Solutions. Tickets are $125 each, $1,000 for a table of eight and $2,500 to sponsor a table. To reserve tickets or sponsor a table, contact the NAU Central Ticket Office at 928.523.5661 or go to



News from the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra