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.

Sponsor Profile: Carrie Scoggins, Violin Maker

Carrie Scoggins, Violin Maker
By Appointment Only
7644 S Twin Lake Cir, Cottonwood Heights, UT 84121
(801) 943-0496

How long have you been in Utah?

I first came to Utah in 1987 to attend the Violin Making School of America. I graduated in 1983 then taught at the school for four years before opening a shop near Liberty Park in 1988.

What services does your shop provide, and is there an area that you specialize in?

I focus on new making of violins, violas and cellos. Mainly violas and cellos.  I am also available for repair work.

What do you love about the viola, and do you have a particular sound or concept that you are aiming for when you make violas?

I grew up studying  the violin but started playing the viola in college and loved its’ deep, rich sound. When I started making violas here in Utah I built a number of them for David Daltons students at BYU. I learned a lot from those instruments and following the players through the years. What I focus on is building an instrument that is even across the register, speaks quickly, has a wide dynamic range, and colour to the voicing. Can you play pianissimo and still have clarity and be heard? A viola that is just loud, without colour to its voicing, is boring to me. A viola that can stand up to chamber music work must have characte!

What instruments are you currently working on?

I also want the instrument to be easy to play. I use an Amati pattern because I like the sloped shoulders, which makes higher position work easier.

I am currently working on 3 violas. A 16″ with a one piece Tulip Poplar back. A 16 1/4″ with a one piece Big Leaf Maple back. A 16 3/8″ with European maple back.

It is always interesting and challenging to work with the different woods used for the back. All three are based on a Brothers Amati pattern from 1615. I have just inlaid the purfling and am starting to work on the arches. I will bring some to Viola Day.

Do you play music yourself, and do you have hobbies or interests away from music and instruments?

Currently I play violin in the Salt Lake  Symphony. Outside of my work I love hiking and mountain biking. Just returned from Canada where I got to do both at Whistler Mountain!

Look forward in seeing you at Viola Day !!

Sponsor Profile: Salini Violins

Dan Salini, Salini Violins 1609 S. Park Street
Salt Lake City , Utah 84105 By appointment: 801-949-6174 salini(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)

How long have you been in Utah?

I have been in Utah for for 27 years, I moved here from Minneapolis in 1995. There were other many local makers to work alongside, and an environment of youthful, energetic creativity. The viola was the first instrument I made here in SLC!

What services does your shop provide, and is there an area that you specialize in?
I provide violins ,violas and cellos.

I make new instruments, and provide adjustments , bow rehairs and repairs. I have been doing my trade for 30 years and continue to learn each day. I consider myself very lucky to have worked with some of the best.

I have been told by many that I have a knack for adjusting and setting up instruments to reach the personal preference of the musician. I am a player myself and grew up in a family of musicians, so my goals is to communicate with my clients about ideas and concepts of sound, and then find the right playability for the individual.

Do you have a particular sound or concept that you are aiming for when you make violas? What do you love about the viola?
The sound and concept of my violas are to provide an instrument that is easy to play and have a character to the sound which both projects and has warmth.
I find the recent model I am making liberating in that I am playing with dimensions and wood choice. The basic model is that of an Amati. After I make my alterations it has deviated into my own personal model. So far it seems to be working quite well.
I love the viola because it can have so many variations in size sound and style.

What instruments will you be bringing to Viola Day, or what instruments are you working on?

I recently procured my very first instrument. I will bring it to viola day. I am proud of the scroll. I was very focused making my first viola and it shows.
I had some good teachers in Gary Vessel and John Young . They were both good at making pointers and letting me carry out the work.

Do you play music yourself?

I play steel guitar , guitar and fiddle (maybe I will switch to jazz viola). I have been lucky to know so many great musicians locally and nationally. These days I enjoy playing at home with the occasional gig out on the town.

Do you have hobbies or interests away from music and instruments?

I enjoy the mountains, and the wild west. I practice Tai Chi and enjoy casual bike rides. I feel like I need another century to scratch the surface of what this state has to offer. I really appreciate feeling a part of this community.

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