DSO welcomes three new full-time musicians

- Cole Randolph, currently an African American Orchestra Fellow with the DSO, wins audition to become full-time member of cello section beginning in December

- Elizabeth Furuta and Daniel Kim to join violin section beginning in fall 2022

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Detroit, (November 18, 2021) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) is pleased to announce it is adding three new full-time musicians to its ranks, following successful auditions for section violin and cello this fall—the first auditions the orchestra has held in nearly two years due to COVID-19 pandemic. The DSO’s audition process is completely blind—meaning candidates perform behind a screen—for all three rounds.

Cellist Cole Randolph, currently one of the DSO’s two African American Orchestra Fellows, won the cello audition, held November 8-9. He was the only finalist out of 103 candidates. Randolph will assume his new full-time position in the DSO’s cello section for concerts with Music Director Jader Bignamini and violinist Hilary Hahn, December 2-4. Originally from Washington, DC, he joined the DSO as a Fellow in fall 2020 after earning bachelor’s degrees in Cello Performance and Mathematics & Economics from the University of Wisconsin. (Learn more about Cole in this recent Q&A with Model D and this DSO video profile.)

Violinists Elizabeth Furuta and Daniel Kim will join the DSO in fall 2022 after both won the violin audition, held October 4-5. They were chosen out of 106 candidates. Furuta currently plays in the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and was previously second associate concertmaster of the Omaha Symphony. Kim is currently a second-year master’s student at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where he serves as associate instructor and studies under Alexander Kerr, concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony.

“Orchestra auditions are highly competitive and to earn a position with an orchestra as great as the DSO shows that you are at the peak of the field and have demonstrated tremendous artistry and dedication to your craft,” said DSO Music Director Jader Bignamini. “All three of our audition winners played with great insight and beauty. I look forward to working with Elizabeth and Daniel and continuing to work with Cole in his new full-time role.”

“I want to congratulate Cole on playing a really wonderful audition,” said DSO Principal Cello Wei Yu, who served on the cello audition committee. “He was our only finalist, and for him to stand out from over one hundred other candidates is truly special. Due to the nature of our audition process, we did not know Cole was the finalist until after he won the audition, and we were all delighted when it was revealed to be him. We are all thrilled to have him join our cello section.”

The DSO’s African American Orchestra Fellowship was launched in 1990, following similar initiatives by the orchestra in the 1980s. The program enhances the career development of African American orchestral musicians and, in the long-term, the diversity of professional orchestras. Past fellows have gone on to earn positions in orchestras across US, including the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Fort Wayne Symphony Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, New Mexico Philharmonic, and Phoenix Symphony. Kenneth Thompkins was a fellow from 1992-1994 before earning positions with the Buffalo Philharmonic, Florida Orchestra, and in 1997 his current position as DSO Principal Trombone.

Today, through the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, two musicians are selected by audition for the two-year fellowship. Fellows perform regularly with the DSO, receive mentorship from tenured musicians, participate in mock auditions to gain experience in the competitive orchestra field, and represent the orchestra in the community. The African American Orchestra Fellowship is also supported by proceeds from the DSO’s annual Classical Roots Celebration, led each year by a dedicated steering committee of community leaders. In addition to Cole Randolph, the fellowship is currently held by bassoonist Jaquain Sloan.

About Cole Randolph

Cole Randolph has performed with the DSO as an African American Orchestra Fellow since fall 2020 and is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in mathematics, music performance, and economics. Born and raised in Washington, DC, he began playing the cello at the age of five. Randolph has performed in many prestigious venues including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The White House. He studied cello under Uri Vardi and has performed in masterclasses for various artists including Alban Gerhardt, Clive Greensmith, and Timothy Eddy. Throughout his collegiate career, Randolph participated in myriad musical and non-musical activities. In the summer of 2016, he had the unique opportunity to participate in the Leadership Alliance program at the University of Chicago, conducting mathematics research under the supervision of Dr. Benson Farb. Randolph presented his findings at two research symposia in Illinois and Connecticut.

About Elizabeth Furuta

Elizabeth Furuta began playing the violin at the age of four, inspired by seeing the Tokyo String Quartet on Sesame Street. She currently plays in the Cincinnati Symphony and was previously second associate concertmaster of the Omaha Symphony. Furuta holds bachelor and master’s degrees in violin performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she received the Dr. Bennett Levine Memorial Award in Chamber Music. Her primary teachers include William Preucil and David Updegraff. An avid chamber musician, Furuta has worked with members of the Brentano, Cavani, Cleveland, Emerson, Juilliard, Shanghai, Takács, and Tokyo quartets, and has participated in the Banff Chamber Music Residency, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Fischoff competition, and the Taos School of Music. Other notable performances include a solo performance for former United States Supreme Court Justice David Souter and an appearance as the musical guest on NPR's nationally broadcast program Says You.

About Daniel Kim

Daniel Kim is a second-year master’s student at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and serves as Alexander Kerr’s associate instructor. Previous teachers include Shmuel Ashkenasi, Desirée Ruhstrat, Yumi Scott, Yayoi Numazawa, Helen Kwalwasser, Choon-Jin Chang, and Julian Meyer. During his undergraduate studies at Northwestern University, Kim won top prizes in the Concerto Competition, Samuel and Elinor Thaviu Scholarship Competition, and the Dover Quartet Competition. He was also a laureate in the Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition and the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Kim has performed in master classes for Ida Kavafian, Kyoko Takezawa, Glenn Dicterow, and Frank Huang. His passion for chamber music has given him the opportunity to work closely with members of the Dover and Takács string quartets, as well as composer Jennifer Higdon. Kim has appeared as a featured performer on NPR’s From the Top and WFMT-Chicago and has made numerous solo appearances in the United States. He was a fellow at the Music Academy of the West and is an alumnus of the Yellow Barn Music Festival's Young Artists Program.

About the DSO

The most accessible orchestra on the planet, the acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra is known for trailblazing performances, collaborations with the world’s foremost musical artists, and a deep connection to its city. As a community-supported orchestra, generous giving by individuals and institutions at all levels drives the continued success and growth of the organization. In January 2020, Italian conductor Jader Bignamini was named the DSO’s next music director to commence with the 2020-2021 season. Celebrated conductor, arranger, and trumpeter Jeff Tyzik is the orchestra’s Principal Pops Conductor, while Oscar-nominated trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard holds the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Jazz Creative Director Chair.

Making its home at historic Orchestra Hall within the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, the DSO offers a performance schedule that features Classical, PNC Pops, Paradise Jazz, and Young People’s Family Concert series. One of the world’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, Orchestra Hall celebrated its centennial in 2019-2020. In addition, the DSO presents the William Davidson Neighborhood Concert Series in eight metro area venues, as well as a robust schedule of eclectic multi-genre performances in its mid-size venue The Cube, constructed and curated with support from Peter D. & Julie F. Cummings.

A dedication to broadcast innovation began in 1922, when the DSO became the first orchestra in the world to present a live radio broadcast of a concert and continues today with the groundbreaking Live from Orchestra Hall series of free webcasts, which also reaches tens of thousands of children with the Classroom Edition expansion. With growing attendance and unwavering philanthropic support from the people of Detroit, the DSO actively pursues a mission to embrace and inspire individuals, families, and communities through unsurpassed musical experiences.

Photo of Elizabeth Furuta courtesy of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra