Appointed concertmaster of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in 2005 at the age of 24, Juliana Athayde became the youngest person and first female to hold the position since the orchestra’s founding in 1922. She has appeared as guest concertmaster with the Houston, San Diego, Kansas City, and Santa Barbara symphonies, as well as the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa, Ontario. She has also performed with The Cleveland Orchestra in the United States and Europe.
A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Ms. Athayde made her solo debut at the age of 16 performing with the San Francisco Symphony and has been praised by critics for her “power and precision,” “melting lyricism,” and “larger than life” performances. Athayde’s numerous solo appearances with the RPO have covered a wide range of composers and include multiple world premieres: Allen Shawn’s violin concerto (2010), Jeff Tyzik’s Jazz Concerto for Violin (2016), and the 2022 premiere of Roberto Sierra’s violin concerto, all commissioned by the RPO and written specifically for her. Athayde has also performed as a soloist with orchestras throughout the country and is in demand as a chamber musician. Notable collaborations include Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Vadim Gluzman, Michael Tilson Thomas, Paul Neubauer, Anton Nel, Orion Weiss, Shai Wosner, Joseph Silverstein, Jon Nakamatsu, William Preucil, Jon Kimura Parker and Anthony McGill. Together with her husband, RPO principal oboist Erik Behr, Ms. Athayde is Artistic Director of the Society for Chamber Music in Rochester.
A dynamic teacher, Ms. Athayde is Associate Professor of Violin at the Eastman School of and serves on the faculty at music festivals throughout the U.S. including Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra and yearly appearances at the National Orchestral Institute + Festival with Music Director Marin Alsop. She has held visiting faculty positions at both the Cleveland Institute of Music and Cornell University, and has guest taught at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. Ms. Athayde holds a B.M. from the University of Michigan where she studied with Paul Kantor, and both M.M. and A.D. degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying with former Cleveland Orchestra Concertmaster, William Preucil, where she was the first graduate of CIM’s Concertmaster Academy. A fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and School for six years, Ms. Athayde was awarded the prestigious Dorothy DeLay fellowship in 2005 and was subsequently invited to return in 2010 to deliver the festival’s convocation speech.
Summer festival residencies include San Diego’s Mainly Mozart Festival and the Sun Valley Music Festival in Idaho where Ms. Athayde is a frequently featured soloist and chamber musician. She can be heard on multiple RPO recordings for the Harmonia Mundi label and is also featured with the Eastman Virtuosi for a recording of Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat. Ms. Athayde performs on a J.B. Vuillaume violin and a Jean Dominique Adam bow.