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Just in: Chicago snatches a Minnesota star

We reported two weeks back that Gina DiBello, principal second violin of the locked-out Minnesota Orchestra, had won an audition to join the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Well, she’s just been made a better offer. As of today, Gina is a member of the first violins of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Minnesota, eat your hearts out.



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  1. Michael Schaffer says:

    Her father is a veteran bass player in the CSO.

    • Performing Artist52 says:

      Yes, he is! All in the family!

    • Kozmika says:

      I am sure the father connection helped but Ms DiBello’s talent speaks for itself, no?

      • No nepotism in Chicago. PERIOD!

        • Michael Schaffer says:

          Indeed. The “nepotism” implication is entirely Kozmika’s interpretation. I merely mentioned that her father has been a member of the CSO for a long time because I happen to know him. We met when the orchestra came to Berlin in the mid-90s and I took him and some of the other members of the bass section out for a few drinks, showed them a little bit of Berlin nightlife. I am sure though he is happy that his daughter has now joined him in his orchestra.
          I think it actually is often a little more difficult for musicians to get a position in an orchestra if someone from their family is already there, precisely because the orchestra wants to avoid the suspicion of nepotism.

  2. And her husband is ace percussionist Ian Ding, a member for eight years until 2011 and assistant principal of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Also originally from the Chicago area.

  3. And the last two winners are from the Pittsburgh Symphony, another orchestra which has taken deep cuts, particularly for the younger members.

  4. That’s impressive to win two big auditions in such a short space, given the depth of competition and the potential randomness of audition results.

    • Elizabeth Erickson says:

      It is impressive and not to take anything away from Gina, she’s incredible and the fools in the Minnesota Orchestra management should be ashamed of themselves. But do you know how many people in the Minnesota Orchestra are being actively courted by other orchestras? I know someone who has three orchestras after him. Someone else got a call from Boston on the first day of the lock out. This is the level of so many of our musicians. The shortsightedness of the MOA is beyond all comprehension. I wish Gina the best.

      • joshg28 says:

        By ‘courted’, do you mean asked to fill in during the lockout? Many top orchestras are generously helping out the Minnesota musicians by offering work. Official job openings, though, are filled by auditions that operate on their own set schedule and screening process. Just because someone was called the day after the lockout wouldn’t mean that auditions for full time positions are circumvented…

        • Amy Adams says:

          No, but orchestras do network, and when someone takes a job for a couple of weeks or longer, they are in the perfect position to become familiar with a new band. Of course each organization is bound by their own HR policies…but if you know a solid section player or principal has been treated pretty badly, and you have work for them, why shouldn’t one thing lead to another?

  5. Rosalind says:

    Can one hear her playing anywhere?

  6. Clark Chaffee says:

    And her mom is an outstanding violinist in the Lyric Opera / Chicago Philharmonic orchestra.
    Gina is a graduate of Stevenson high school in Lincolnshire IL
    as well as CIM and Julliard.

    Welcome back home Gina!

  7. Niall Hoskin says:

    I hope Ian Ding can sometime meet up with John Chimes, distinguished London percussionist. Fabulously apposite names!

  8. Mary Koss says:

    Congratulation to the DiBellos!

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