Detroit Symphony Orchestra gets new principal viola

Michael H. Hodges
Detroit News Fine Arts Writer

Eric Nowlin, 35, will be the new principal viola at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra starting in the 2016-2017 season. Nowlin is currently associate principal viola for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Nowlin, who grew up in Missouri and Wisconsin, got both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at New York’s Juilliard School, where he won the Juilliard Viola Concerto Competition. In other competitions, Nowlin took second place in the 2006 Walter W. Naumburg and first in the 2003 Irving Klein International String competition.

James Van Valkenburg has been acting-principal viola since 2013-14, and on Nowlin’s arrival next September will return to his previous role as assistant-principal.

Nowlin and his wife, Yaeko, have a little girl named Isabelle, nearly 2.

In recent years, the DSO has filled a number of vacant principal positions, including concertmaster, clarinet, flute, bass, timpani, percussion, cello and oboe. Principal second violin, however, has yet to be filled.