David and Valerie McCammon Chair
DSO member since 2014
Will Haapaniemi is a violinist born in Los Angeles with Finnish ancestry. He joined the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 2014 alongside his wife and violinist Heidi Han. Haapaniemi wanted to be a violinist from the time he was two years old, when he saw Itzhak Perlman perform on Sesame Street. Many other interests competed with his practice time—some of his favorites being the martial art Capoeira, dance, and training for his glider pilot license.
Much is owed to Haapaniemi’s master violin teachers, Yoko Takebe and Michael Gilbert of the New York Philharmonic, who he studied with at the Manhattan School of Music. In high school, Haapaniemi was fortunate to study with Mark Kaplan and fondly remembers lessons with Ruggiero Ricci in his home in Palm Springs. Also of great influence was his cousin Paul Roby of the Philadelphia Orchestra and his aunt Linda Grace, whose tireless support encouraged him to be the musician he is today. Without the phenomenal support of Haapaniemi’s parents, none of this would have been possible.
Haapaniemi is active as a soloist and chamber musician, occasionally throwing viola into the mix. An avid outdoorsman, he hikes at every opportunity, and pays homage to his Finnish heritage by skiing during the winter.