Schwob School of Music

A few weeks ago, an amazing opportunity presented itself. I was offered a position at the Schwob School of Music in Columbus, Georgia. It's a conservatory within a public university (Columbus State University), with beautiful facilities and amazing students, faculty, and administration. The school is located in the heart of Columbus' charming downtown area, and I am very pleased to announce that I accepted the offer. I will begin teaching at Schwob in Fall 2018.

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I will always be grateful for the years I've had at Ball State, and the many experiences that have gotten me to this next chapter in my life. I wouldn't be the musician or pedagogue I am today had it not been for BSU, so many many thanks Ball State. I will miss my  colleagues and friends and insanely amazing students (so so much!), but I very much look forward to this new challenge.

I'll have more to say about all of this as the semester draws to a close, but for now it's on to business as usual. If you're around Muncie and looking to hear some new music tonight, come on out to Sursa Hall this evening at 7:30 for the second concert of the 48th Annual Festival of New Music. Violet will premiere a work by BSU composer Dr. Amelia Kaplan, and I will perform a work with the BSU Women's Chorus, conducted by Dr. Kerry Glann. It's going to be a great concert. Free and open to the public, as always!

Happy practicing!


I've been avoiding starting to learn one of the pieces that was written for Violet. I looked at is back in the summer when we first got the music, decided it was going to be really hard to learn, put in a few basic fingerings and bowings, and then put it away. And every time I went to practice over the last few months I've thought to myself, "I really need to start looking at X," and then would decide there were more pressing things to practice.

Well-- I really can't avoid it any longer, as the time for performance is coming up. So this morning, after changing my strings and doing a good warm up (and lots and lots of tuning!), I finally picked up The Piece. 

And then I found myself wanting to do what many young practicers do-- I wanted to start at the beginning. See, the beginning isn't all that hard, and it's pretty, and I know it, so why not play that? But my professor brain took over and I actually said to myself out loud (somewhat starting my sleeping pup), "No, Katrin. That's not the part you need to practice," and I flipped to where things start getting really squirly, and started working.

The funny thing is, I practiced a few lines for about 15 minutes, and by the end they sounded BOATLOADS better, and certainly weren't as hard as I'd made them out to be.

It's pretty amazing the things we tell ourselves, and the power they have. "This piece is really hard." No wonder I waited months to start learning it. And now that I've finally gotten going, I find it to be a challenge, but not impossible, and with just a bit of work every day, I'll definitely be able to perform this well by the concert.

To think I could have avoided months of angst over the piece by just tackling it. Silly me.

Happy practicing.


This morning, Elizabeth Crawford and I left Muncie in a very nice Ford Fusion owned by Ball State, and drove all the way to Toronto, Canada! It was a long drive, but with good company it went by as quickly as such a drive can.

Violet is performing tomorrow night (February 2) with the Ton Beau String Quartet, which is based here in Toronto. I met the violist, Alex McLeod, a few years ago at an American Viola Society Festival, and we've been in touch about various projects since then. He came to BSU last year and gave a fascinating presentation about sound production, and now Libby and I are here to collaborate with his quartet.

Sarah Steeves, the cellist in the quartet, has been very gracious in letting me and Libby stay with her. We've enjoyed a nice evening of chatting and tea. Just now, as I was getting some water, I noticed a lovely note on her fridge.


With a welcome like that, how can we not have a good time while in Canada?

Violet will perform two of the works we did on our recital last week, Jenni Brandon's Shades of Violet, and Antonio Gervasoni's Pandora's Box. We will also premiere Muncie Mix, composed for us by American composer Daniel Adams. The Ton Beau Quartet will perform Riho Esko Maimets' Sanctus for String Quartet, and I will join them for a movement of Mozart's K. 515 Viola Quintet, and Libby will join them for a movement of Mozart's Clarinet Quintet. It's going to be a lot of fun. If you happen to be in the Toronto area, please come join us! The concert is at 8 PM at the Agricola Finnish Lutheran Church, which looks like a very beautiful space in which to make music.

Happy practicing!

Violet, part 2

Tonight Elizabeth Crawford and I are premiering four new works composed for our duo, Violet. If you're able to join us in person, please do! 7:30 PM in Sursa Hall on Ball State's campus. If not, you are more than welcome to join us virtually, as the concert will be live-streamed. You can catch us here.

We'll perform Pandora's Box by Antonio Gervasoni, a Peruvian composer. Following that is Shades of Violet, by American composer Jenni Brandon. Next comes Retratros de Azuera by Panamanian composer Samuel Robles. We finish the recital with a piece by a Ball State alum, Dominic Dousa, who now lives and works in Texas. Called Spring Forth in Joy, it truly does elicit quite a bit of joy! Hopefully the audience will agree.

Happy practicing!

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!!!


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.


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!