play first chair

play first chair

 
1. to be the leader of a section of instruments in an orchestra or a band. (More literal than the following sense.) Sally learned to play the violin so well that she now plays first chair in the orchestra. I'm going to practice my flute so I can play first chair.
2. Fig. to act as a leader. I need to get this job done. Who plays first chair around here? You're not the boss! You don't play first chair.
See also: chair, first, play
References in periodicals archive ?
Cruz didn't play first chair in the appeal of this lawsuit, but he has taken the lead on other international patent infringement cases, successfully arguing a $5 million intellectual theft case before the Supreme Court against a Chinese company last year.