After hearing Scheherazade at an early age, Holly Mulcahy fell in love with the violin and knew it would be her future. Since then, she has won multiple tenured positions in symphonic orchestras from Richmond to Phoenix and has performed on a variety of domestic and international tours including the Washington National Opera Japan tour under the leadership of Placido Domingo and the 2012 Carnegie Hall appearance with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.
She currently serves as concertmaster of the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera and began developing her leadership skills at the renowned Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University with former Baltimore Symphony concertmaster Herbert Greenberg. In recent seasons she has enjoyed serving as guest concertmaster for the Columbus Symphony (OH), Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, and a one year appointment as interim concertmaster for Orchestra Iowa.
As an in-demand performer, Holly maintains a very busy schedule serving as traveling concertmaster for the Emmy Award winner George Daugherty’s Bugs Bunny at the Symphony program and performing with Grammy award winning Nashville Symphony and Milwaukee Symphony.
She spends her summers at the celebrated Grand Teton Music Festival where in addition to performing in the violin section and assistant principal second, Holly volunteers as an active chamber musician. In the summer of 2011, she performed Pulitzer Prize winning composer Jennifer Higdon’s Piano Trio under Ms. Higdon’s direct supervision. Following the performance, Higdon said “Working with Holly Mulcahy was fantastic. She’s a superb musician and a great colleague. I always think my Piano Trio is a great test for violinists, because it has such wildly varying moods: long and lyrical lines, delicately played, and then racing and driving rhythms, moving at top speeds with intensity. Holly nailed it all splendidly. I would work with her again any chance I could. She was wonderful.”
Passionate about all things etiquette, Holly makes her home in Oak Park, IL, Chicago’s Frank Lloyd Wright neighborhood, where she maintains a reputation for planning and hosting exquisite gourmet parties. In addition to an active performing career, she is the author of Neo Classical, a monthly column on the future of classical music. She enjoys gardening, organic cooking, and spoiling her cats. A lover of all things outdoors, she aspires to start her own organic farm.
Holly performs on a 1917 Giovanni Cavani violin, previously owned by the late renowned soloist Eugene Fodor, and a bespoke bow made by award winning master bow maker, Douglas Raguse.
It is a rich combination of great ingredients that make the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera instantly appealing. At first glance, the types of music programmed from season to season hint at the bold, purposeful, and passionate.
Having made the decision to pass up similar opportunities in orchestras with larger budgets, it is a pleasure to see a chemistry between musicians and music director that reveals a genuine appreciation for making music with the dedication to excellence and sincerity.
It is liberating to find a supportive and energetic board along with a dedicated and very efficient management which keeps the beautiful city of Chattanooga engaged with musical excellence. I’m delighted and honored to be a part of this organization by serving as concertmaster; it is clear to me that in a time where classical music faces a rapidly changing future, this is the right orchestra with the right people to keep such a great art form thriving.
With a balance of natural beauty and musical splendor, The Grand Teton Music Festival feeds the senses and soul for musicians and music lovers alike. I’m proud to be a part of the fine music making each summer. A mix of the most talented and seasoned professional musicians from across the globe, these musicians have become close friends which I’ve enjoyed performing alongside year after year. Not only is this an annual reunion with friends, my family is also an important part of my stay in the Tetons. My brother Craig Mulcahy, principal trombone of the National Symphony Orchestra, also performs with the Festival Orchestra and my parents spend their summer volunteering at the Elk Refuge just a few miles from the concert hall giving Craig and I an instant fan base.
When my friends and family are not sharing a breathtaking concert experience, we are taking in the magnificent mountains and enjoying hikes and picnics. To call this place magical doesn’t do it justice; it is life enhancing goodness for the ears, eyes, heart, and soul.