Charles Wetherbee is the new concertmaster for the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra.
Charles Wetherbee is the new concertmaster for the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra. (Courtesy photo)

The new concertmaster for the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra is not only expected to have a "profound influence" on the sound of future concerts, but he also hopes to be a stronger bridge between the city's symphony music community and the University of Colorado.

After an extensive 18-month search, the Boulder Phil announced this week that Charles "Chas" Wetherbee will take over as the concertmaster, with his first official performance set for April 26.

Wetherbee is an accomplished violinist and also a CU music faculty member.

The orchestra already makes an effort to reach out to the university, regularly featuring faculty members and their work in shows and presenting to students in class. CU students also get discounted tickets and are invited to open rehearsals at the Dairy Center for the Arts, the Boulder Phil's headquarters.

Wetherbee hopes to deepen that relationship.

"I am delighted to have this opportunity to work with one of Boulder's leading arts organizations," he said in a written statement. "And I hope that my role as concertmaster allows for both stronger ties between the university and the orchestra, and another way for me to continue to get to know our Boulder musical community."

The orchestra's music director, Michael Butterman, said a concertmaster has a profound influence on its sound; he said he expects Wetherbee's extensive orchestral experience as a violinist to enhance the overall performance quality.


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A concertmaster acts as a right-hand man to the conductor, Butterman said, often translating the conductor's ideas into specific technical suggestions that can affect the overall tone and sounds of the strings. The concertmaster also plays important solos in a performance.

Butterman said Wetherbee was selected for his artistry, experience and leadership.

"He's incredibly dependable, and musically, he sets a high bar artistically for the rest of the orchestra," Butterman said. "We are very fortunate for an orchestra of our size to have someone of his background."

Wetherbee follows previous concertmaster Gregory Walker, who served in the position for 25 years.

Butterman acknowledged Walker for helping transform the Boulder Phil from a community to professional orchestra. Walker continues to teach at CU-Denver and actively compose.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Aimee Heckel at 303-473-1359, heckela@dailycamera.com or twitter.com@Aimeemay.