Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra

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The Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Dan Allcott, is comprised of professional musicians from East Tennessee. Founded in 1944, the Symphony performs four concerts each season on the Symphony Series, and also performs at least one free concert in the community each season. The Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra is the oldest continually-performing orchestra in Tennessee, and this is its 75th Anniversary Season.

Karen Kartal, Concertmaster of the Oak Ridge Symphony

Karen Kartal has been Concertmaster of the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra since 2004.  In addition to full-time positions with the Shreveport and Knoxville Symphonies, she has also held the position of Concertmaster of the Baton Rouge Opera and the Lake Charles Symphony, Principal Second with the Baton Rouge Symphony, and Assistant Concertmaster of the Louisiana Symphonietta, Marshall Symphony, Longview Opera, South Arkansas Symphony, and the Classical Symphony in Chicago. 

Kartal began her violin studies at the age of 9.  She attended Illinois State University, Western Illinois University, and Louisiana State University, winning first prize in the concerto competitions at each school. She has since been featured as soloist with several orchestras including the Lake Charles and South Arkansas symphonies.  Kartal is currently on the faculty at Pellissippi State College, and before moving to Tennessee, taught at McNeese State University.  Karen maintains a large private studio, and her students frequently hold principal positions and are featured soloists in the local youth orchestras.  When she’s not playing or teaching, Karen enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends.

 


 

From Our Concertmaster

April 2019

 We have reached the end of another season of beautiful music and I wanted to take this moment to express some of my thoughts about the Oak Ridge Symphony.

It was 15 years ago that I first sat in the concertmaster chair of this orchestra. I was also soloist that concert, performing Bach’s Brandenburg No. 4 under the direction of Serge Fournier.  I had no idea at that time what this orchestra would come to mean in my life.  I have played in many orchestras throughout the United States and in Europe and Asia, but none hold such a special place in my heart as this orchestra.

 

There are a few elements that make this orchestra so special. I am grateful for the high quality of musicians who make up this orchestra. Their talent and devotion to music make it a pleasure to come to every rehearsal, and there is no greater joy than celebrating after a successful concert with my fellow musicians.

 

Without a doubt, having a first-rate music director is crucial to the success of an orchestra.  Maestro Dan Allcott is a musical inspiration in every rehearsal and concert. I am excited to be celebrating his 10th anniversary as music director next season and I hope that we will have 10 more wonderful years with him!

I have been very impressed this year as a member of the board to see how hard they work for the success of this orchestra.  There is so much going on behind the scene, and the symphony board is tireless in its efforts to make sure every aspect of this organization is running smoothly. This organization would not be what it is without their hard work and dedication. I am also thrilled with our new executive director, Lisa Muci Eckhoff, who has brought an exciting vision and new energy to the orchestra.

 

But what makes this orchestra so special, is you, the audience.  The Oak Ridge audience is unique in that you make this orchestra feel truly loved and appreciated. I have enjoyed getting to know many audience members personally over the years and am honored that so many of you have become dear friends!  There is an energy between performers and the audience, and when that energy is so positive and powerful, it inspires the musicians. I know that I speak on behalf of the other musicians when I say that your enthusiasm for this orchestra makes us want to play our hearts out for you, to give you our absolute best!

 

Next season we will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Oak Ridge Symphony and the 10th anniversary of Maestro Allcott!  It is sure to be our best season ever.  I look forward to seeing you all next season. You won’t want to miss any of the excitement!