The Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra and Music Director Roger Kalia announce the 2021-2022 season’s newly appointed concertmaster. Dr. Jia-Rong Gan was appointed Concertmaster of the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra and First Violin of the Eykamp String Quartet at University of Evansville in August of 2021. Jia-Rong was previously Principal Second Violin of the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra and Second Violin of the Eykamp String Quartet, positions she had held since the 2018-2019 season. The Orchestra and the University of Evansville collaborate fully in the selection and employment of Eykamp Quartet members, having them participate in orchestra performances as principal string players and as artists-in-residence at the University of Evansville.

Though described as “a small young woman,” violinist Jia-Rong Gan was praised for having a “sound and command of her instrument that belied her physical stature” – Classical Voice of North Carolina. A native of Malaysia, Jia-Rong began her violin studies at the age of five and has since captivated audiences across the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Jia-Rong is also a member of the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra Kentucky. Previously, she was a member of Mobile Symphony Orchestra and Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra; and has served as concertmaster for Florida State University Symphony Orchestra, Brevard Music Festival Sinfonia, and Western Illinois University Symphony and Chamber Orchestra.

Jia-Rong’s passion for music does not conclude with her orchestral performance. A devoted chamber musician, Jia-Rong has held resident string quartet positions at various universities. Using chamber music as a platform for cultural diversity, Jia-Rong founded Stephenson | Gan violin and piano duo in 2016 with the goal to promote diversity and equality on the concert stage. This award-winning duo has since performed at stages all around the USA including Carnegie Weill Recital Hall.

As a soloist, Jia-Rong has won numerous competitions, including concerto competition at Brevard Music Festival and Western Illinois University; First Prize winner of the Young Musical Talent of Malaysia Competition, Music Teachers National Association Senior String Category at the State Level, and the American String Teachers Association National Solo Competition; and has performed as a soloist with University of Evansville Symphony Orchestra, Florida State University Symphony Orchestra, Brevard Music Center Orchestra, and WIU Symphony Orchestra.

Jia-Rong earned a Doctor of Music at Florida State University, where she served as Corinne Stillwell’s teaching assistant. She received a Master of Music at Florida State University and a Bachelor of Music from Western Illinois University in which she graduated summa cum laude. Her principal teachers included Corinne Stillwell, Dr. Julieta Mihai, and Malgorzata Potocka.