Sheryl Staples, concertmaster of the Pacific Symphony since August 1994, has been appointed associate concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra, effective Feb. 5. She will return to the Pacific to be the soloist for the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto May 8 and 9. A search for a new Pacific concertmaster will be launched.
"I'm going with mixed feelings," Staples, 26, said Tuesday. "There are a lot of things about the Pacific Symphony and working with [music director] Carl St.Clair that I'm going to miss. I've gotten so much out of it.
"On the other hand, the Cleveland Orchestra is probably among the top five orchestras in the world. I'm very excited. But it's a little bit scary."
"I knew this was a possibility one of the first times I heard her," St.Clair said Tuesday. "She has such a bright future. Obviously, somebody of so much talent will be missed. But it's a major success story for her, and it speaks well for the Pacific Symphony.
"In the one season we have had her within the organization, she has brought a lot to the string section and to the integrity of the orchestra."
A Los Angeles native, Staples was one of nine finalists St.Clair considered as concertmaster after a yearlong search. She replaced Endre Granat, who resigned from the position in 1993 after 10 seasons with the orchestra.
Staples has studied with Robert Lipsett in Los Angeles and served as concertmaster for the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, the Japan America Symphony, the USC Symphony and the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra before joining the Pacific.
In Cleveland, she will replace Martin Chalifour, who assumed his new post as concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic last week.