Save the Date – Viola Day 2023!

November 18 @ University of Utah

The Utah Viola Society returns on Saturday, November 18, with all of the events that you’ve come to know and love, including a guest artist masterclass + recital, instrument showcase, and pizza lunch!

This year, we are thrilled to welcome Guest Artist Toby Appel, renowned performer and faculty at The Juilliard School for more than 30 years.

Please mark your calendar, and stay tuned for more details, plus information on many other viola events that will be happening this year!

Primrose Memorial Concert

Featuring Rita Porfiris, viola, Anton Miller, violin, and Scott Holden, piano

May 10, 2023, 7:30 PM, Brigham Young University, Music Building, Choral Hall

The Primrose Memorial Concert this year will feature Rita Porfiris and her duo partner, Anton Miller, Professor of Violin, performing with pianist Scott Holden. The performance will include a world premiere of the Niege Eternelle for Solo Viola (2023) by Veronique Vaka as well as the Toch Divertimento, made famous by Primrose and Heifetz. The concert will take place May 10, 7:30 in the Choral Hall of the new Music Building at BYU. Free admission.

Violist Rita Porfiris has performed in major concert halls across the globe as a chamber musician, orchestral musician, and soloist.

Currently the Co-Principal Viola of the Iceland Symphony, she has also been a member of the Houston Symphony, and played with the Chicago Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony and others, working with conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Sergiu Celibidache, Kurt Masur, Michael Tilson Thomas, Claudio Abbado, and Christoph Eschenbach.

Ms. Porfiris is a member of the Miller-Porfiris Duo and QuartetES. She received Austria’s Prix Mercure, was a prize winner in the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition and the Primrose International Viola Competition, and a laureate of the Paolo Borciani International Quartet Competition.

Formerly Professor of Viola, Chair of Strings and Chair of Chamber Music at The Hartt School, she has also been on faculty at New York University, University of Houston Moores’ School of Music, Florida International University, and the Harlem School for the Arts in New York. She has given master classes, lectures and clinics worldwide.

Ms. Porfiris received her BM and MM in Viola Performance from The Juilliard School. Teachers and mentors included William Lincer, Paul Doktor, Norbert Brainin, and Harvey

Anton Miller, violin made his Carnegie Hall concerto debut in 1992, and has appeared throughout the United States and abroad as a soloist, chamber musician, recitalist and pedagogue. He has performed over fifty violin concertos with a number of orchestras on four continents. His most recent solo release on Naxos features the Kurt Weill Concerto for Violin and Wind Ensemble.

Anton is on the violin and chamber music faculty at the Hartt School; he previously has been on the faculty of the Oberlin Conservatory, Lawrence University, Swarthmore College, and New York University. He and his wife Rita Porfiris are the members of the critically acclaimed violin and viola ensemble, Miller-Porfiris Duo.

Anton completed his Master of Music degree at The Juilliard School studying violin with renowned pedagogue Dorothy DeLay and chamber music with Felix Galimir and members of the Juilliard Quartet. He received his Bachelor of Music Degree from Indiana University as a student of Franco Gulli.

Scott Holden, piano, debuted in Carnegie Hall after winning first prize in the 1996 Leschetizky New York Debut Piano Competition.  He has performed in over forty states including at the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall, Moscow’s Svetlanov Hall, Asia and throughout Europe.  He has been broadcast on NPR, NBC, CBC, as well as numerous local networks.

Holden holds degrees from the University of Michigan (BM), The Juilliard School (MM) and the Manhattan School of Music (DMA).  He studied at the Liszt Academy in Budapest as a Fulbright Scholar.  He is on the piano faculty at Brugham Young University where he was chair of the piano division for 14 years.  He is also a faculty member at Juilliard’s “Summer Performing Arts with Juilliard” in Geneva, Switzerland, here he has taught since 2017.

Join us for Viola Day 2022!

Dear Viola Friends,
We are beyond thrilled at the return of Viola Day and looking forward to being reunited for the first time in three years!  

Our event this year will feature guest artist Ivo van der Werff, Professor of Viola at Rice University and longtime violist of the Medici Quartet.  Professor van der Werff has given the viola community a great resource with his Notebook for Violists, a distillation of his studies with the great pedagogue Bruno Giuranna, enriched with his own many years of teaching experience.  Ivo will lead us through key exercises in a group warm-up session to begin the day.

We also thought it would be appropriate to have some chamber music! Ivo will join the Fry Street Quartet for a short discussion and performance of Mozart’s masterful Viola Quintet in G minor.

Here in Utah, we are lucky to have an amazing community of local instrument makers, whose work will be demonstrated by Utah Symphony Principal Violist Brant Bayless. If you’re shopping for a viola, curious about violas, or just love to play all the violas you can get your hands on – you’ll have lots to do at Viola Day!

Please help us to spread the word by inviting your friends, family, or students! You can pre-register by renewing your UVS membership here.
We’ll see you there!
Brad Ottesen and your UVS Team

P.S. Alto Clef cookies…

Viola Day 2022 Schedule:

Saturday, October 22 – University of Utah, Gardner Music Building
Registration: $20 Adult/$10 Student, check in at the Main Entrance (President’s Circle).

  • 8:30-9:15 Registration: Viola congregation and camaraderie
  • 9:15-10:45 Warm up with Ivo!  An introductory tour of the Notebook for Violists
  • 11:00 Guest Artist Pefformance: Mozart G minor Viola Quintet
  • 12:00 Free Pizza Lunch! Hang with your viola pals
  • 12:30 Instrument Demonstration: Utah Symphony Principal Violist Brant Bayless
  • 1:00 Meet Your Maker: Try out all the violas!
  • 2:30-4:30 Guest Artist Masterclass with Ivo van der Werff

The Return of Viola Day!!! Saturday, October 22, 9am-5pm University of Utah

We are excited to announce the return of Utah Viola Society’s “Viola Day”, for the first time in three years!  

For Viola Day 2022, the UVS is privileged to host guest artist Ivo van der Werff, professor at Rice University and longtime violist of the Medici String Quartet. Professor van der Werff will lead a warm-up session from his wonderful Notebook for Viola Players, teach a masterclass for young violists, and join the Fry Street Quartet for a performance of Mozart’s G minor String Quintet.

We will also be returning to the full slate of events that you know and love, including an exhibition of local luthiers, the chance to play lots of violas, and a pizza party with our famous Alto Clef cookies (back by popular demand)!

Much more information coming soon – for now, please mark your calendar and save the date!

Spring 2022 Viola Events!

Dear Friends,
After a lengthy hiatus, the Utah Viola Society is excited to re-emerge, and draw your attention to a series of live viola events this March!  

Prior to the unprecedented events of 2020, the UVS was poised to welcome renowned pedagogue Victoria Chiang to Utah, so we are especially looking forward to this visit finally taking place.

We will also have the privilege of hearing one of the world’s foremost performers, Paul Neubauer, in recital with pianist Gloria Chien, featuring a virtuoso program of unique and characterful works.

These events will make for quite a week…looking forward to being able to reconnect, and to more viola events in the future!

Brad Ottesen, on behalf of your UVS Team

  • Monday, March 21 – Primrose Memorial Recital, featuring violist Paul Neubauer and pianist Gloria Chien.  Brigham Young University, Madsen Recital Hall, 5:00 PM. Free and open to public.
  • Tuesday March 22 – Paul Neubauer in Recital with the Beethoven Festival Park City.  Park City Community Church, 7:00 PM.  Tickets available through website.
  • Thursday, March 24 – Aspen String Trio in recital with the Chamber Music Society of Logan.  Utah State University, Russell/Wanlass Performance Hall, 7:30 PM.  Tickets available through CMSL website. 
  • Friday, March 25, 4:30 PM, UVS Masterclass with Victoria Chiang, of the Peabody Conservatory, Aspen Music Festival, and the Aspen String Trio.  University of Utah, Gardner Hall 318  

Please Welcome Two New Members to Your UVS Team!

Thank you to Emily Barrett Brown, for becoming our Treasurer, and Sunny Johnson for becoming our Secretary and Website Manager! Many of you know Sunny and Emily, who are active performers and teachers in Utah. As you see them out and about, please feel free to ask them about plans for upcoming UVS events!

Emily Barrett Brown completed both her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Viola Performance at Brigham Young University under the tutelage of Dr. David Dalton. Other teachers included Hiroko Primrose (violin) and Clyn Barrus (viola). While at the Music Academy of the West, she studied viola with Donald McInnes and later enjoyed summer studies with Robert Vernon and members of the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Music Festival. In addition to teaching, Ms. Brown performs frequently as a recording artist and with several ensembles in the greater Salt Lake area, including The Utah Symphony, Utah Chamber Artists, Sinfonia Salt Lake and The Ballet West Orchestra. Emily lives on a 5 acre hobby farm in Provo with 2 horses, 2 dogs and 2 cats. She and her husband, Tony, have 4 children and love to travel.

Sunny Johnson received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Viola Performance from Utah State University and the University of Utah, with principal teachers Bradley Ottesen and Roberta Zalkind. She is a founding member of the Rosco String Quartet and performs frequently with local ensembles such as the Ballet West Orchestra, The Utah Symphony, and NEXT Ensemble. In her spare time Sunny enjoys skiing, biking, gardening, traveling with her family, and teaching her dog funny tricks.

Spring Viola Events!

Please help to spread the word, and forward this to your students, colleagues, and friends!

  • Friday, February 28, 7:30 PM, Primrose Memorial Concert, featuring Haesue Lee, 1st Prize winner of the 2018 Primrose International Viola Competition.  Madsen Recital Hall, Brigham Young University, free and open to public.
    Sunday, March 15, 3:00 PM, UVS Annual Recital, featuring Brant Bayless, Scott Lewis, Carl Johansen, and Bradley Ottesen. Dumke Recital Hall, University of Utah, free and open to public. 
    Saturday, March 21, 9AM-5 PM,Viola Day!!! 2020, masterclass with Victoria Chiang from the Peabody Institute of Music, instrument exhibition, and Guest Artist recital with the Aspen String Trio. University of Utah, Dumke and Thompson Halls. $20 Adult/$10 student.