Michael Strauss served as principal violist of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra for 20 years and has taught at prominent schools of music including Oberlin Conservatory and Indiana University’s Jacob School of Music. His love for the intimate concert setting has led to performances, live broadcasts, and festivals across North America, Europe, and Asia as well as several critically acclaimed recordings including Mozart’s complete viola quintets with the Fine Arts Quartet and the debut recording of Jennifer Higdon’s Viola Sonata. Strauss is also the featured recording artist on the official Suzuki Viola School CDs, Volumes 8 and 9.
Kirsten Docter is associate professor of viola at Oberlin Conservatory of Music. First prize wins at the Primrose International and American String Teachers Association Viola Competitions launched her on a career that includes a 23-year tenure with the Cavani Quartet, concerts on major series and festivals throughout North America, Europe, and Australia, and numerous appointments as a master class clinician and teacher.
A graduate of SUNY Purchase and Juilliard, former Boston Symphony member, Lila Brown, moved to Europe to study with and play in the Camera Academica Salzburg under Sandor Végh. She has taught at Hochschule in Vienna and Düsseldorf and was a member of the Ensemble Modern. Brown is the artistic director of the chamber music festival Music from Salem, in Salem NY, which she founded in 1986, and is currently on the faculty of the Boston Conservatory at Berklee and interim faculty at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
Daniel Sweaney has performed and recorded in the United States, Europe, and Asia. He has taught at the University of Alabama, the Orford Arts Centre, the Rocky Ridge Music Center, and the Sewanee Summer Music Festival. He is currently on the faculty at the University of South Carolina.
Basil Vendryes has been Principal Violist of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra since 1993. He is a former member of the San Francisco Symphony, the New York Philharmonic and the Rochester Philharmonic orchestras. He currently serves on the faculties of the University of Denver Lamont School of Music, the Castleman Quartet Program in Fredonia, New York, and the Green Valley Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Rictor Noren teaches violin, viola, chamber music, string fundamentals, and string pedagogy at the Boston Conservatory of Music. His collaborative approach emphasizes balance, goal setting, efficient practice techniques, musical development, and a hands-on approach to training. His work supports students overcoming technical barriers, conquering physical pain, and developing a professional identity.
In 1997 violist Lembi Veskimets was appointed to the Cleveland Orchestra, an orchestra long considered among the handful of the world's greatest symphonic ensembles.
Susan Dubois was the sole viola winner of Artists International's 23rd Annual Auditions and was presented in her solo New York recital debut at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall. Dubois has extensive experience as a chamber musician, performing and coaching throughout the Australia, South America and the United States. A former viola teaching assistant for Karen Tuttle at Juilliard, she is currently professor of viola at the University of North Texas in Denton. (second half)
Dynamic and versatile violist Sheila Browne has concertized in many of the world's major halls as soloist, chamber musician, and as principal of several orchestras, including the Juilliard, Mainz, Freiburg, German-French, and Madrid's Queen Sofia chamber orchestras, the Kiev Philharmonic and the New World Symphony.