2007 Fall Arts Preview » Ones to Watch

Alan Molina

Second chair, first rate

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The departure of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra's principal second violin Megan Holland and her husband, principal cello James Holland, left two pairs of big shoes to fill among the CSO's section leaders. Of the two, the only successor we're sure of right now is Alan Molina, who will fill the empty violin seat, making him the CSO's number two fiddler, after Concertmaster Yuriy Bekker.

Molina must've liked Chucktown when he gigged here last year, both as a substitute with the CSO and as principal second violin with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra. Since 2005, he's served as rotating concertmaster of Miami's New World Symphony, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, also director of the San Francisco Symphony. The Florida ensemble — kind of a classy "finishing school" for especially brilliant young orchestral musicians — has provided the CSO with some of its finest players for years now.

Even Molina's earlier credentials are impressive. His undergrad years were spent at Indiana University in Bloomington, one of the nation's finest music schools. His master's degree in chamber music is from San Francisco Conservatory. He's played for many of the world's great conductors, and gotten coaching from or performed with enough big names in the business to fill a separate paragraph. He's played with distinction for orchestras in Monterey, Evansville, and Owensboro.

All this is a rather long-winded way of saying that the CSO has scored big in signing this emerging young violin master. Welcome to Charleston, Alan, we can hardly wait to hear you. — Lindsay Koob

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