Eugene Symphony appoints Searmi Park as Concertmaster
Posted on June 27, 2022
Violinist Searmi Park will return to her previous post as Concertmaster after five years with the Oregon Symphony.
EUGENE, OR (June 23, 2022) — Eugene Symphony is excited to welcome back former Eugene Symphony (ESA) Concertmaster Searmi Park, who was previously in the position from 2013 through 2017, serving as second-in-command in artistic leadership.
“I am thrilled to welcome back Searmi to the Eugene Symphony,” says ESA Music Director & Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong. “I had the opportunity to experience her incredible artistry and leadership during my first week with the orchestra back in 2017 and I look forward to our important work together in the coming seasons. I know her presence will elevate the work of all of us on stage and bring even more excitement to our performances.”
Park, who recently served as guest Concertmaster at ESA’s presentation of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, Act I in April 2022, is returning after joining the Oregon Symphony five years ago.
“As I get older, I find myself longing to be where I can serve my greatest good while remaining true to myself,” Park says. “I tend to crave exploration and love trying new things — and sometimes my search ends exactly where I have already been. I am so excited to reconnect with the Eugene community and audiences after five years away, and am extremely grateful to Francesco and the wonderful musicians of the Eugene Symphony for welcoming me back!”
Searmi Park joins Arnaud Ghillebaert, Principal Viola; Adam Fishburn, Viola; Melissa Peña, Principal Oboe; and Keven Kraus, Bass Trombone, as new members starting in the 2022/23 Season.
About Searmi Park
Searmi Park served as concertmaster of the Eugene Symphony 2013-2017 before joining the Oregon Symphony as a member of their violin section in 2017. Previously a member of Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra for ten years, Searmi has played as guest concertmaster of the Santa Barbara Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Bolshoi Ballet, New West Symphony, American Ballet Theatre, and Miami City Ballet.
Searmi recently resigned from her full-time position with the Oregon Symphony to start a nonprofit organization called Autism Mustang Alliance, providing no-cost equine-assisted programs for teens and adults on the autism spectrum. Searmi returns as Concertmaster of the Eugene Symphony in the fall of 2022.
Park spent summers studying chamber music in Taos, New Mexico with the Takács and Chicago string quartets. She also studied with pianist Robert McDonald and at the Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival. She has played and taught at festivals in South Africa and Portugal, and participated in the Oregon Bach Festival and Festival Mozaic in San Luis Obispo.
Park was born and raised in Los Angeles, where she began playing the violin at age six. She continued her studies at the Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences and went on to receive her B.A. and M.M. at UCLA under violinist Mark Kaplan. She currently lives with her family in the beautiful Oregon countryside, playing with their mustangs and raising goats, pigs, ducks, and chickens.
About Francesco Lecce-Chong
Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong is the Music Director of the Eugene Symphony in Oregon, and the Santa Rosa Symphony, performing at the Green Music Center in Northern California. The press has described him as a “fast rising talent in the music world” with “the real gift” and recognized his dynamic performances, fresh programming, deep commitment to commissioning and performing new music as well as to community outreach. Lecce-Chong has appeared with orchestras around the world including the San Francisco Symphony, New York Philharmonic, National Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Toronto Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, and Hong Kong Philharmonic and collaborated with top soloists including Renée Fleming and Itzhak Perlman.
About Eugene Symphony
Now in its 58th season, the Eugene Symphony is a nonprofit and 83-member part-time orchestra based in Eugene, Oregon led by Music Director & Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong with a mission of enriching lives through the power of music. While away from the concert hall since March 1, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Eugene Symphony offered digital content through its virtual hub at eugenesymphony.org, including its Soundwaves virtual concerts, radio broadcasts, music education content, live chats with Maestro Lecce-Chong, and musician performances. In all, these virtual engagement activities reached more than 60,000 people in Oregon, across the country, and around the world. More at eugenesymphony.org