Concertmaster and first-chair violin Hiromi Ito
and viola player of 50 years Naida MacDermid retired May 12 at the end of the 2012 season.
"Hiromi brought his exemplary professionalism and strong understanding of the orchestra repertoire, and Naida brought her passion, her tremendous goodwill and her infectious humor," said Fort Wayne Philharmonic Music Director Andrew Constantine.
"It takes someone who can inspire the string players around them and help the musicians make best use of their own skills," Constantine said, adding that Ito
, who began his violin career at age 3 in Fukuoka, Japan, fit the role well.
Before coming to Fort Wayne, Ito was a member of the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Baltimore Symphony.
also performed and toured with the Chicago Symphony and made solo appearances in Japan, Germany and the U.S.
graduated from college as a physics major, he
won a grant from the Japanese government to study music in Europe.
Upon returning to Japan, he
was appointed co-concertmaster of the Kyushu Symphony in his
He came to the U.S. and earned a master's degree in music at Indiana University and Northern Illinois University.
Along with being concertmaster of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic
since 1993, he
has been concertmaster of the Des Moines Metro Opera since 2000.
wife, Nao have a son, Seima, and a daughter, Marina.