The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra has added a new lead violin position in its move to become a mostly “unconducted” ensemble.

Spanish violinist Francisco Fullana was named the new principal violin Thursday, a role that is unique to the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and involves leadership and performing solos.

The ensemble now counts four violinists with leadership roles, including a concertmaster and an associate concertmaster.

The move to perform more works without a conductor is “something that has really been accelerated in the last year,” said Kyu-Young Kim, the chamber orchestra’s artistic director and its other principal violinist. “So at the same time, there’s a lot of leadership that has to happen within the ensemble.”

Fullana, who performs concertos and recitals around the world, is currently an artist-in-residence for the Balearic Islands Symphony Orchestra in Spain.

The Juilliard grad joined the SPCO onstage last spring for a trial period, performing a solo during the season finale in June.

“From the very first time I came to play with the ensemble … I was so inspired by the incredible level of commitment of every member of the SPCO,” Fullana said in a news release. “It left a deep impression and when given the chance to become one of the orchestra’s leaders, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

Fullana “rose to the top” of a “very strong field of candidates,” Kim said. Audiences will quickly notice his work, he promised: “He has a big personality.”


Jenna Ross 612-673-7168