Felicity James appointed to associate concertmaster position
Erich Rieppel appointed to principal timpani position
The Minnesota Orchestra announced today that it has hired two new musicians following extensive auditions. Violinist Felicity James has been appointed associate concertmaster, filling the position held for 35 years by recently-retired violinist Roger Frisch. Minnesota native Erich Rieppel has been appointed to the principal timpani position, a role held for nearly 30 years by Peter Kogan and for the past three years in an acting role by Jason Arkis, who returns to his dual positions of associate principal timpani and associate principal percussion.
James joins the Orchestra after recently completing her bachelor’s degree at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, California. She starts her position with the Orchestra on December 10 and will serve as concertmaster for the Home for the Holidays and Beauty and the Beast concerts from December 14 to 22.
“We are very excited for Felicity to begin her new role as associate concertmaster, and we are confident that she will be a huge asset to the first violin section and the Orchestra as a whole,” says Concertmaster Erin Keefe. “She is a beautiful violinist and musician who impressed the audition committee with her incredible poise as a leader.”
Rieppel is currently a third-year fellow at New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida. Earlier this month, he performed and recorded Mahler’s Seventh Symphony with the Minnesota Orchestra, and he will officially begin his new role with the ensemble on December 30.
“Erich is a fabulous musician with great ensemble skills,” says Acting Principal Timpani Jason Arkis. “The Orchestra and percussion section are looking forward to welcoming him and working with him in the future.”
Felicity James, violin
Felicity James joins the Minnesota Orchestra as associate concertmaster in December 2018, having previously served as concertmaster of the Verbier Festival Orchestra, the Colburn Orchestra, and the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra, and as a substitute with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the Seattle Symphony. In addition to competing in numerous international violin competitions, she has appeared as soloist with orchestras all over the United States, including the Seattle Symphony under the direction of music director Ludovic Morlot. An enthusiastic chamber musician, she has performed frequently in ensembles at the Verbier, Sarasota and Aspen Music Festivals as well as with? the Colburn Chamber Music Society and the Los Angeles Da Camera Society, and has had the honor of collaborating with Gary Hoffman, Clive Greensmith, Ani Kavafian, Anthony Marwood and the Calidore String Quartet. James recently earned her Bachelor of Music degree from the Colburn Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Robert Lipsett and worked closely with Arnold Steinhardt and Clive Greensmith.
Erich Rieppel, timpani
Prior to his appointment as principal timpani of the Minnesota Orchestra, Erich Rieppel held the same title at New World Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas in Miami Beach, Florida. He has performed as principal timpanist with the Seattle Symphony, Detroit Symphony and New Jersey Symphony, among others. He has held the posts of associate timpanist of the Chicago Civic Orchestra, substitute timpanist with the Louisville Orchestra and Charleston Symphony, and principal timpanist of the Terre Haute Symphony and the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic. He has experience in arts administration, college teaching, music librarianship and conducting. A native of Minnesota, Rieppel grew up near Marshall, Minnesota, engaging in the many musical activities the area had to offer. He attended Indiana University for his bachelor’s and master’s degrees where he studied a variety of percussion with John Tafoya, Kevin Bobo, Steve Houghton and Michael Spiro. He has also studied with many other prominent musicians including Josef Gumpinger, David Herbert, Ed Stephan, Shannon Wood and Tom Freer. In his free time, Rieppel plays hockey.
Gwen Pappas, Director of Public Relations
Emma Plehal, Communications Manager and Assistant Editor