Joseph Lin will become the first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet in 2011, Juilliard President Joseph W. Polisi announced on October 22. Lin, 32, replaces Nick Eanet, who was the storied quartet’s first violinist for just one year before resigning in June due to health reasons.
A current faculty member at Cornell University’s department of music, Lin will become a member of the Juilliard faculty starting next fall. “Joe brings extraordinary artistry, intellect, and a vision to his new post,” Polisi said. “We all welcome him as a member of the ensemble and of our faculty.”
The rest of the ensemble—Ronald Copes (violin; member since 1997), Samuel Rhodes (viola; 1969), and Joel Krosnick (cello; 1974)—started conducting their search for the position last spring, playing with a number of “brilliant violinists and musicians.”
“We firmly believe that [Lin’s] deep thoughtfulness about music will add a remarkable voice that will embrace and complement the ongoing dialogue that has always been a strong characteristic of the Juilliard Quartet,” the ensemble’s members said in a joint statement.
After being named to the position, Lin said, “My relationship with my new colleagues has already been marked with generosity, both musically and personally.” He added, “I look forward, with my colleagues, to building on the ensemble’s venerable history, weaving our individual experiences together to carry the Juilliard String Quartet into a new and fruitful era.”
Lin is a graduate of Juilliard’s Pre-College Division (’96), where he studied with Shirley Givens, and Harvard College. Last year he led a project with Cornell composers to study Bach’s Violin Sonatas and Partitas and create new music inspired by them. He has also made an extensive study of Chinese music and organized Cornell’s Chinese Musicians Residency, which was inaugurated in 2009.
A founding member of the Formosa Quartet, Lin won the 2006 London International String Quartet Competition and has recorded music by Korngold and Busoni (on Naxos) as well as Bach and Ysaÿe (on N&F). The Formosa Quartet’s debut CD was released by EMI. His performances during the 2010-11 season include appearances with, among others, the Ukraine National Philharmonic, the Yomiuri Symphony in Tokyo, and the Taiwan National Symphony, as well as chamber performances at Weill Recital Hall, the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, the Tucson Winter Festival, and the Marlboro Festival.
Lin is only the 13th member of the Juilliard String Quartet, which was established in 1946, and just the fourth person to serve as first violin despite the quartet’s long history. When founding first violinist Robert Mann retired from the ensemble in 1997, he was replaced by Joel Smirnoff, who left to become president of the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2008. Juilliard alumnus Eanet, who replaced Smirnoff, announced his resignation from the quartet last summer due to a chronic digestive disorder that he said made the group’s extensive touring difficult for him. He will keep performing with the quartet this season, including in two Daniel Saidenberg Faculty Recitals at Juilliard, on December 2 and February 21.