The Academic Year of the Viola

Happy new year! School is back in full swing, and I'm super excited about some of the really amazing things that are happening this academic year. That's why I decided to call this post the Academic Year of the Viola-- see, my students and I are doing super well. :-)

At the end of last semester, my junior music education major, Julie Stuckert, was one of two winners in the undergraduate concerto competition at Ball State! According to some faculty members who have been at Ball State for a long time, she may well be the first violist EVER to win, in the history of the whole undergrad competition!! So, that's super awesome. She's going to perform the first movement of the Forsyth Viola Concerto on February 27th with the Ball State Symphony Orchestra. Here is a picture of her during the finals. Look at that awesome viola stance! Such poise and confidence! Go Julie!!!

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A few days after Julie won, the BSU Viola Choir performed at Grace Episcopal Church in downtown Muncie as part of the First Thursday series. It was a well-attended concert, and there was a nice reception afterwards where audience members chatted with me and the performers. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the concert. Here is the group, performing.

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Two weeks ago I learned that the BSU Viola Choir is one of three viola ensembles nationally to be invited to perform at the American Viola Society Festival, which will be happening in Los Angeles in June. How cool is that?! I think we're going to have a really fun time in LA. I'm excited for the students to be able to participate in the Festival. Violet is also performing at the Festival.

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I'm a HUGE fan of AVS Festivals. There's so much to learn, and so much awesome viola love! For a viola geek, it truly is a not-to-be-missed event. This year the Festival is happening in conjunction with the Primrose International Viola Competition. I served as a preliminary judge for the competition, and man oh man, are there some incredible young viola players in the world. I'm excited to hear the recitals of the finalists, and see who wins the competition. I also think it's going to be really great for my students to be able to observe these fine, young players, and to network with violists from around the country.

And finally, last week I learned that I've been invited to teach a collegiate-level master class at the next International Viola Congress, which will be in Rotterdam, The Netherlands in November. I'll also collaborate on a very cool presentation with some of my viola friends. More about that later.

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So, what do you think? Academic Year of the Viola for me and my students? I think so!

Happy practicing!