A Russian concertmaster has joined the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra after impressing during a guest stint earlier this year. Igor Yuzefovich, assistant concertmaster of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra since 2005, was chosen from among a dozen candidates after the position became vacant with the sudden resignation of John Harding in March due to an arm injury. The 32-year old Muscovite violinist performed with the city's flagship orchestra as guest concertmaster at the season-closing concert in July. The all-Tchaikovsky programme he led won him the job. 'After a week of rehearsing and doing two concerts with the orchestra, plus playing a number of tricky solos in Swan Lake, you could tell the guy could do his stuff extremely well,' said orchestra chief executive Michael MacLeod. He added that the decision was made by the departing artistic director, Edo de Waart, with input from musicians. 'This week's rehearsal confirms we made the right decision.' The appointment will officially take effect at the start of next year and run til the end of the 2012-13 season. Before then, he will be guest leader in six programmes - beginning with last night's season-opening concert at the Cultural Centre Concert Hall. Born in Moscow in 1979, Yuzefovich emigrated to the United States in 1991. He said his interest in working in Hong Kong lay with the orchestra itself. 'When I came in June for the Tchiakovsky concerts, the first thing that impressed me was the level of the orchestra - absolutely world class,' he said. The Hong Kong ensemble, he added, was 'a very vibrant, youthful energetic orchestra, ready to embrace their future.' The Hong Kong Philharmonic is still in search of a musical chief to replace de Waart by July 2012. 'Igor provides us with extremely strong musical leadership and it's going down extremely well with the orchestra. I think he will be, if not a godfatherly figure for us, a fatherly figure,' MacLeod said. The concertmaster is one of the 12 new key players for the orchestra in the new season, including horn, tuba, and percussion principals. However, no local applicants made it to the roster.