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David Salness

David Salness Profile Photo

Professor, Violin
String Coordinator, Chamber & Small Ensembles

(301) 405-8348

3118 The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
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Research Expertise

Chamber Music
Music Performance

Violinist David Salness has attained international recognition as a performing artist and teacher. He has appeared in more than 25 countries and in 48 out of the 50 United States in such renowned venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Salle Pleyel and London’s Wigmore Hall. His performances are broadcast on National Public Radio, Radio France, Bavarian Radio and the British and Canadian Broadcast Corporations. His recordings are found on the RCA, Telarc and Centaur labels, amongst others.

A dedicated chamber musician, Salness was for twelve years a member of the Audubon Quartet and won the Deuxieme Grand Prix as a member of Nisaika in the 1984 Evian International String Quartet Competition. Formerly a performer with the historic Theater Chamber Players and currently founding artistic co-director of the Left Bank Concert Society, Salness is a member of the critically acclaimed Left Bank Quartet. He appears frequently in the greater Washington, D.C., area performing at the Kennedy Center, the Corcoran, National Gallery, the Phillips Collection, the Smithsonian and Hirschorn Museums, Strathmore Hall, Dumbarton Oaks, The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and the Library of Congress.

Salness has collaborated with members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, Orford, Moscow and Cleveland Quartets amongst others. Pianists with whom he has collaborated include Yefim Bronfman, Lydia Artimyw, Christopher O’Reilley, Jean Yves Thibaudet, Ruth Laredo, Vladimir Sokoloff, Jorge Bolet and Semour Lipkin. Salness is fortunate to have performed most of Brahms chamber music with Leon Fleisher, known as an expert in this repertoire.

An alumnus of the Interlochen Arts Academy, earning the Dendrinos Scholarship Chair and the Curtis Institute (having also attended the Cleveland Institute of Music), Salness studied with David Cerone, Jascha Brodsky, Ivan Galamian, Joseph Gingold and Karen Tuttle. Salness’s understanding of the historical practice of chamber music has been informed by his work with members of the Kolisch, Griller, Hungarian and Budapest Quartets. He has actively pursued his study of the music and performance traditions of Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, Bartók, Kodály, Ravel, Ysaýe and Barber under the direction of Eugene Lehner, Felix Galimir, Lorand Fenyves, Brodsky and Gingold, all of whom worked personally with some of these composers and are considered their chief exponents. At the Banff Center, Salness was privileged to work intensively with Zoltán Székely on Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 2 (composed for and premiered by Székely) and several of the composer’s string quartets. Salness has performed Bartók’s string quartets many times over the past 30 years.

He has enjoyed a long association with New York’s Chautauqua Institute and Festival and was selected to participate in the Aspen Festival’s elite Center for Advanced Quartet Studies as a member of the Cézanne Quartet. Other notable festivals include Ravinia, Newport, Banff, La Jolla and Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival. He has appeared with the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the Brandenburg Ensemble of New York.

At the age of twenty and as the youngest member in the group, Salness was appointed concertmaster of the St. Louis Opera Orchestra. Throughout his orchestral career, he has performed under some of the most respected conductors including Eugene Ormandy, Zubin Mehta, Leonard Bernstein, Rafael Fruhbeck du Burgos, Robert Shaw, Helmuth Rilling, Andre Previn, Robert Spano and Leonard Slatkin. Salness was honored to perform in Carnegie Hall under the direction of Sergiu Celebidache in his long-anticipated U.S. debut and to study with him the application of phenomenology in chamber music performance. Salness is currently concertmaster of Northern Virginia’s Fairfax Symphony Orchestra.

Salness began his teaching career as assistant to David Cerone at the Curtis Institute and also the Meadowmount School of Music in New York, where he returned to serve for five years as a member of the Meadowmount Artist Faculty. Having also been a guest faculty member at John Hopkins’ Peabody Conservatory and Distinguished Teacher of Violin at the Brevard Music Center, he is currently professor of violin at the University of Maryland. Salness has taught or coached students who have garnered top prizes from such major international compositions as Indianapolis, Evian/Bordeaux, Portsmouth, Naumburg, Menuhin, Schneider and Banff.

Salness plays a beautiful example of the work of Pietro Giovanni Mantegazza built c.1785 in Milan. Born into a musical family, Salness began his study of the violin at the age of six, with his father as his first teacher.