Alex Kerr Violin Merit Award

The Alex Kerr Violin Merit Award was established by Linda Fischer, a Jacobs School of Music alumna and violinist in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Her ties to the Pittsburgh Symphony are close as her father was a former violist of the symphony. Fischer was born in Pittsburgh in 1955, and spent her high school years at the North Carolina School of the Arts, where she was concertmistress and soloist with their orchestra. She received both of her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in violin performance with high distinction from the Jacobs School of Music, where she studied with Franco Gulli.

Fischer performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, as a section player and guest soloist, before winning a position in the Pittsburgh Symphony in 1985, where she played in the second violin section. During her time in Pittsburgh, she enjoyed coaching the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony young string players, and served as a concertmistress and a soloist with the Jewish Community Center Orchestra.

In 2012, she passed away due to her illness from cancer. Her colleagues at the Pittsburgh Symphony remember her fondly, as they spoke to her positivity, her profound love for music, and sublime playing.

Alexander Kerr is professor of violin and the Linda and Jack Gill Chair in Music at the Jacobs School of Music. Kerr began his violin studies at age seven with members of the National Symphony Orchestra, as he grew up nearby in Alexandria, Virginia. He studied at The Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music, where he earned his Bachelor of Music degree in 1992, with Aaron Rosand. Kerr has been teaching at IU since 2006 after serving as concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. He won this prestigious position in 1996 at the age of 26, and performed with the orchestra for nine successful years.

In addition to his busy teaching schedule, Kerr continues to perform with orchestras, in recitals, and chamber music performances throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe. Kerr has appeared as soloist with major orchestras throughout the U.S. and Europe, and has worked with renowned conductors, such as Mariss Jansons, Riccardo Chailly, Peter Oundjian, Robert Spano, Alan Gilbert, Jaap van Zweden, and David Zinman. 

The Alex Kerr Violin Merit Award was established in 2011 with the last scholarship given in 2016. The Jacobs School of Music is grateful to have received the kindness and support of Linda Fischer to support violin students at the Jacobs School.