Violinist Pamela Frank will teach at Peabody

Prize-winning musician has garnered acclaim worldwide

April 12, 2003|By Tim Smith | Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC

The Peabody Conservatory of Music will gain some extra star power in September when violinist Pamela Frank joins the faculty.

A graduate of the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, Frank emerged in the 1990s as one of the most gifted violinists on the international scene, welcomed for the warmth of her tone, the sureness of her technique and the sensitivity of her interpretations. Recipient of the high-profile Avery Fisher Prize in 1999, Frank has appeared with leading orchestras and given recitals (many of them with her father, esteemed pianist Claude Frank) throughout the United States, Europe and Japan.

She has collaborated frequently with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, including a memorable account of the Brahms Violin Concerto in November 2000, conducted by Yuri Temirkanov. She was to have joined the BSO on its recent tours to Europe and Japan, but a hand injury prevented her participation.

Frank, 34, will succeed Martin Beaver, who left Peabody to become first violinist of the famed Tokyo String Quartet.

"We wanted to find an artist of equal or greater caliber and profile," said Wolfgang Justen, dean of the Peabody Conservatory. "Pamela Frank is a wonderful addition who will bring a lot to our school and help raise us to the next level of excellence and profile in the violin world."

Frank gave a master class last fall at Peabody, impressing students and faculty alike, and was approached about the vacancy. "She wasn't ready to make a long-term commitment then," Justen said.

Discussions continued intermittently over the months. Final details were worked out a few days ago. Frank will be a full-time faculty member, defined as having a minimum of 12 students. She may also be involved in other classes. Justen said he expects her "to be a beneficial influence on our chamber music program." (Among her colleagues will be one of her former teachers, Shirley Givens.)

Whether Frank will give concerts at Peabody, as many of the faculty artists do, will depend on her recovery from the hand injury, which has kept her mostly out of the limelight for about two years now.

"Consideration of her health was left out of the picture," Justen said. "If she's ready to resume a full-time concert schedule, certainly she will play here."

Frank could not be reached for comment.

Also joining the Peabody faculty in the fall will be Israeli cellist Amit Peled, a 1999 graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music who will succeed the late Stephen Kates. Unlike Frank, Peled is only beginning to make a name. "We had hoped to get someone at the peak of a career," Justen said, "but we believe he is on the verge of a major career. He gave a master class here and the students loved him."

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