6. Colburn School – Los Angeles, CA
Notable Faculty: Paul Coletti, Ben Ullery
A well-known Scottish viola soloist, Coletti has had a distinct performance career. His recordings have won major prizes from respected publications like BBC and Gramophone magazines. He is also a Grammy nominee who has been heard at over 50 music festivals internationally.
Coletti’s students seem to go on to varied, successful careers in classical music, with many of them making livings performing chamber music. One can find current and former students of Coletti in the Opus 3 Artists managed Calidore String Quartet, the entrepreneurial non-profit Los Angeles organization Street Symphony, the rising Fiato Quartet, and even in the Los Angeles Philharmonic, among other symphonies. Other faculty members include Ben Ullery, the successful Assistant Principal of the LA Phil who was once a student of Coletti himself.
Listen to the Faculty: Check out both Coletti and Ullery performing music of Paul Chiara
5. Juilliard School – New York, NY
Notable Faculty: Robert Vernon, Michael Tree, Misha Amory, Samuel Rhodes, Karen Dreyfus, Paul Neubauer, Cynthia Phelps, Heidi Castleman
Boasting a large number of many super accomplished and talented teaching talents, Juilliard has been and will continue to be one of the leaders for string pedagogy in the entire world. Faculty members include Samuel Rhodes, a legendary teacher who has ben with Juilliard since 1969, as well as Vernon and Tree, who were discussed previously in this article because of their affiliation with other top schools. Notable graduates of the viola program include Lawrence Dutton, a member of the highly lauded Emerson String Quartet, Kenji Bunch, a noted and active composer, and Juilliard’s own Misha Amory, who won the 1991 Naumburg prize for viola.
The orchestra at Juilliard is among the finest orchestras in the country, with viola students given the chance to perform at Avery Fisher Hall, the college’s own Alice Tully Hall, and several other venues in and around Lincoln Center, including Carnegie Hall and the Merkin Concert Hall. Other faculty members include Cynthia Phelps, who has been the principal violist of the New York Philharmonic since 1992.
Listen to the Faculty: Check out the album entitled Cynthia Phelps, Principal Viola of the New York Philharmonic
4. Rice University Shepherd School of Music – Houston, TX
Notable Faculty: James Dunham, Ivo-Jan van der Werff
Viola faculty member James Dunham is a remarkable personality in the world of music today. A virtuoso, he has performed alongside Joshua Bell, Cho-Liang Lin, and Emmanuel Ax. He was a member of one of the most famous string quartets of all time that disbanded in 1995, the Cleveland Quartet. An expert jurist, James Dunham has served on the panels of a number of international competition juries, including Primrose and Fischoff. An advocate of contemporary classical music styles, he has worked with and premiered works of Milton Babbitt, Osvaldo Golijov, and John Corigliano, among a number of other noted musicians.
Ivo-Jan van der Werff, a member of the Medici Quartet, is a fantastic viola pedagogue. Watch him below going through bowing exercises and motions on the viola.