Wichita Symphony Appoints Holly Mulcahy as Concertmaster
Wichita Symphony Orchestra

April 9, 2019
Don Reinhold
CEO, Wichita Symphony
316.267.7658 ext. 106
The Wichita Symphony is pleased to announce the appointment of violinist Holly Mulcahy to be the orchestra’s next Concertmaster. This follows a year in which several Concertmasters, including Ms. Mulcahy, have substituted and fulfilled the role during John Harrison’s leave of absence. In addition to Concertmaster duties, Mulcahy has been appointed to a position of Partner for Audience Engagement for the Symphony. Both positions officially begin with the start of the Symphony’s 2019 – 2020 season in September. Mulcahy will take an early bow this weekend as the Concertmaster for the Symphony’s performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Audiences at symphony concerts are familiar with the concertmaster. Once the orchestra is seated and the audience quiets, the concertmaster is the last musician before the conductor to walk out on stage. The concertmaster tunes the orchestra and cues the orchestra when to stand as the conductor walks to the podium. Seated next to the conductor, the concertmaster is the leader of the violins, the largest instrumental group in the orchestra, and is responsible for coordinating the direction that the bows move in and helps to communicate the conductor’s interpretation and vision to the string section. The concertmaster will also play any solos within the violin part such as those in Scheherazade, which will be heard on next October’s Masterworks concerts.

Generally, concertmasters do not participate in the work of audience engagement to the extent that’s envisioned by the Wichita Symphony for Mulcahy. Recognizing Wichita’s penchant for innovation and the changing environment for orchestras in the United States, Symphony officials are eager to explore the potential for further defining the role of the Symphony in the community. Mulcahy’s noted expertise in social media, publicity, and even fundraising opens a range of possibilities that enhances and expands upon the Symphony’s creative approaches to engaging with the Wichita community. Music Director Daniel Hege said, “Ms. Mulcahy possesses the musical leadership, communication skills, and innovative thinking that will enrich the Orchestra and deepen community connections in a 21st century orchestra model.”

Quick to emphasize that his departure from the Symphony is by no means a retirement, previous concertmaster John Harrison will remain an integral part of the Wichita community as he pursues endeavors, musical and otherwise, including the success of his flourishing technology company, Filimin, that builds Friendship Lamps.

Maestro Hege applauds Harrison’s contributions over a tenure of twenty years and said, “John Harrison has been a superb leader in our string section, and I’ve enjoyed working with him over the years. He’s a terrific musician and polymath who has given a tremendous amount of dedication and expert artistry to the WSO and for that the Orchestra and I are forever grateful.”

Mulcahy has served as Concertmaster for several orchestras, including the Chattanooga Symphony for the past six years. In addition, she has been a member of the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra since 2003. Known for performances of contemporary composers, Mulcahy is slated to bring a new concerto called the Rose of Sonora to the Wichita Symphony in April 2020. The work was written for her by Hollywood film score composer George S. Clinton. As a Concerto in Five Scenes, the concerto’s storyline is based on a composite of rugged, individualistic women of the American Old West at the end of the 19th century. An excerpt of this new work was performed as a “teaser” by Mulcahy and the Wichita Symphony at the January Masterworks concerts.

There are only a few more opportunities to hear the Wichita Symphony before its summer hiatus. The Symphony performs Beethoven’s Ninth with the Wichita Symphony Chorus and a quartet of vocal soloists from the Wichita State University School of Music. Performances are Saturday, April 13, at 7:30 p.m. and again on Sunday afternoon, April 14, at 3 p.m. in the Century II Concert Hall. On May the 4th, the Symphony concludes its Century II season with May the Fourth Be with You – the Music of Star Wars. The Symphony also performs the annual Twilight Pops to kick-off Riverfest on Friday, May 31. Tickets for Concert Hall performances may be purchased online at, or by calling the box office at (316) 267-7658, Mondays through Friday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
More About Holly Mulcahy
After hearing Scheherazade at an early age, Holly Mulcahy fell in love with the violin and knew it would be her future. Since then, she has won multiple positions in symphonic orchestras from Richmond to Phoenix and is currently serving as concertmaster of the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra.
Holly began developing her leadership skills at the renowned Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University with former Baltimore Symphony concertmaster Herbert Greenberg. In recent seasons she has enjoyed serving as traveling concertmaster for Emmy Award winner George Daugherty’s Bugs Bunny at the Symphony, and as guest concertmaster for the Columbus Symphony (OH), Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, and a one-year appointment as interim concertmaster for Orchestra Iowa.

As an in-demand performer, Holly balances her orchestral duties with numerous concerto performances around the country. Passionate about performing living American composers’ works, Holly has been featured as soloist for concertos by Jennifer Higdon, Jim Stephenson, Philip Glass, and now a concerto being written for her by Hollywood film composer, George S. Clinton. This new concerto, The Rose of Sonora: a violin concerto in five scenes, is inspired by true stories about the lives of legendary women in the Old West and will take the listener on an epic western adventure of love and revenge. The world premiere performance will be in April 2019.

Believing in music as a healing and coping source, Holly founded Arts Capacity, a charitable 501(c)3 which focuses on bringing live chamber music, art, artists, and composers to prisons. Arts Capacity addresses many emotional and character-building issues people face as they prepare for release into society.

In addition to an active performing career, Holly is the author of Neo Classical, a monthly column on the future of classical music. On days off, Holly maintains a reputation for planning and hosting exquisite gourmet parties in her Chicago home.

Holly performs on a 1917 Giovanni Cavani violin, previously owned by the late renowned soloist Eugene Fodor, and a bespoke bow made by award winning master bow maker, Douglas Raguse.

(Bio provided by

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