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The Utah Symphony has appointed Madeline Adkins as concertmaster, effective at the beginning of the 2016-17 season in September.
Adkins, 38, is currently associate concertmaster with the Baltimore Symphony. She played with the Utah Symphony on three weekends earlier this season as part of the audition process and will play four more weekends as guest concertmaster in the next few months, including on the Tanner Gift of Music concerts with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and on the orchestra's tour to New York City.
Ralph Matson, the Utah Symphony's concertmaster since 1985, will continue as associate concertmaster when Adkins comes on full time.
The concertmaster is the leader of the first violin section and, by extension, of all the string players in the orchestra. He or she plays any violin solos called for by composers and determines how all the string players will move their bows.
Matson offered "hearty congratulations" to Adkins in a news release, noting that he and his wife, Utah Symphony violinist Barbara Scowcroft, had gone hiking with Adkins during her trial weeks in Salt Lake City.
Adkins, likewise, said in a phone interview Wednesday that the Utah Symphony musicians "went out of their way to make me feel at home."
"[Music director Thierry Fischer] and the orchestra play at such a high level," she added. "I was really thrilled at how the concerts came across all three weeks I was there."
She also was impressed with the orchestra's home, Abravanel Hall. "From the first notes you play, you think, 'Wow, it feels really great to play in such a lovely space,' " she said.
Adkins said she and her husband, John Forrest, a software engineering manager for Lockheed Martin, are outdoor enthusiasts who have been hiking in Utah several times. She also has volunteered with the Utah-based Best Friends Animal Society and has fostered more than 100 kittens.