GREENSBORO — Audiences of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra and Eastern Music Festival remember Stefani Collins Matsuo.
The violinist from Summerfield has performed as a guest soloist with the Greensboro Symphony and won the concerto competition at the Greensboro-based Eastern Music Festival while studying there in 2003.
Now 30, Matsuo has added another achievement to her prizes and credits.
On Friday, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra announced that Matsuo had been named its concertmaster.
Now associate concertmaster, Matsuo will rise to the post of first-chair violinist, starting in the Cincinnati Symphony’s 125th anniversary season in September.
She is the first woman to be appointed to the orchestra’s top chair.
The daughter of Karen Stefanik Collins and Mark Collins, Matsuo got her first violin when she was 15 months old and studied with her mother, a Greensboro Symphony violinist. She played with the Greensboro Symphony Youth Orchestra.
She said that she was honored by the appointment, for which she said she has worked her entire career.
“This is an orchestra respected around the world and steeped in great artistry,” she said in the announcement on the orchestra’s website. “I embrace the enormous responsibilities that come with this pivotal role and look forward to making music with my colleagues and serving this great community for years to come.”
Her appointment followed a competitive audition process that attracted candidates from around the world.
“Stefani has consistently demonstrated remarkable artistry and leadership,” Lous Langrée, the orchestra’s music director, said in the announcement. “Throughout the audition process, her playing set Stefani apart from the competition. I am confident in her extraordinary abilities and am thrilled she is serving in this vital role of concertmaster moving forward.”
Matsuo joined the Cincinnati Symphony in 2015 as a member of the second violin section. She then won the audition for associate concertmaster in 2018, and served in that role throughout the 2018-19 season.
Before embarking on her professional career, she graduated from the UNC School of the Arts, then did her undergraduate work at the Cleveland Institute of Music in Ohio.
She received her master’s degree from The Juilliard School, the prestigious performing arts conservatory in New York.
Along with her husband, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra cellist Hiro Matsuo, she founded the 2M Duo. The duo made its international debut in Taiwan in 2017.
As concertmaster, she succeeds Timothy Lees, who served as concertmaster from 1999 to 2018. An injury prompted him to step down. He retired earlier this year.