Margarita Montanaro. I am more familiar with the players of the past: Zighera, Costello, Druzinsky, Chalifoux, Mainzer, and others. I haven’t heard many of the orchestras since the positions turned over. Margarita has a remarkable sense of tone color and ability to be in sync with the orchestra. She plays extremely musically, very artistically, and many concertgoers have remarked on that to me.
Doug Rioth of the San Francisco Symphony. I have hard him play with the SF symphony for years. He is a great soloist and a great orchestral player. My only complaint is that the symphony doesn’t do nearly enough harp concertos to show off his talent, but of course I am biased on that account.
Well, I think it’s partly a question of ‘extraordinary at what’, too, Jerusha. Anyone who can deal with the incredible demands of that kind of schedule and keep the gig *is* extraordinary in at least some ways. 🙂