First woman to be named concertmaster at the Berlin Philharmonic

18.02.2023, 11:15

For the first time in the 140-year history of the Berliner Philharmonic, a woman will become its concertmaster.

Latvian violinist Vineta Sareika-Völkner won the audition for the position on Friday, the orchestra said.

A concertmaster is the principal first violin player in an orchestra and second to the conductor as leader in an orchestra.

Sareika-Völkner was born in Jūrmala, Latvia and began playing the violin at age five. She later studied at the Paris Conservatory with Gérard Poulet and at the Belgian Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel with Augustin Dumay.

She attended master classes with eminent musicians such as star violinist Ivry Gitlis, violinist Ida Haendel and violin teacher Zakhar Bron.

After her training, Sareika-Völkner began her career as a soloist and as a chamber and orchestral musician. She was concertmaster of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic (2011-2013) and regularly guest concertmaster of the Royal Opera Orchestra and the Brussels Philharmonic in Brussels.

She was first violinist of the Artemis Quartet from 2012 to 2021, and joined the Berlin Philharmonic in May. Since 2017, Sareika-Völkner has also been a professor of chamber music at the Berlin University of the Arts.