Blair Milton

Blair Milton joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1975, and became a founding member of the Evanston Chamber Ensemble four years later. As the originator of the Winter Chamber Music Festival, he has performed with Daniel Barenboim, Gil Shaham, Menahem Pressler, Yo-Yo Ma, Pinchas Zukerman, Lynn Harrell and János Starker, among others. He has appeared on the chamber music series of the CSO and the Ravinia Festival, as soloist with the Chicago String Ensemble and with the CSO conducted by Sir Georg Solti.

A member of Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music violin faculty since 1984, Milton is also director of its Summer Violin Institute.

Milton has given master classes across the United States, as well as in South America, Germany and Japan. A student of Josef Gingold at Indiana University, where he earned a master’s degree, Milton also studied with Ivan Galamian and former CSO concertmaster Sidney Harth.

After 48 years of service, Blair Milton retired from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on November 1, 2023. Reflecting on his time in the Orchestra, he said, "It has been a great privilege to work with the very best conductors and to play in the midst of such amazing and dedicated musicians for these many years. I will miss both the music making and the camaraderie. It has been an enduring source of inspiration to have played thousands of concerts with all of my colleagues in this remarkable ensemble. The joy of playing Bruckner and Mahler with Solti, Mozart piano concertos with Barenboim, and Verdi’s Macbeth with Muti stand out as experiences that I will always cherish. I leave with a lifetime of artistic memories and lifelong friends."