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Violapalooza returns to UVa with special performances

Saturday’s the day for fans of the viola to meet, learn and listen to the beloved stringed instrument when Violapalooza 2024 returns to the University of Virginia.

The event will fill Old Cabell Hall with master classes, rehearsals and technique classes from 8:30 a.m. to 3:20 p.m., plus a performance by violists Andrea Priester Houde, Molly Wilkens-Reed and Ayn Balija and the 2024 Violapalooza Viola Ensemble at 3:30 p.m. Cabell Hall Auditorium.

Houde, associate professor of viola at West Virginia University, has led master classes around the world. Her album, "The American Viola," includes the world premiere of the first American viola composition. She has served as a faculty member at Interlochen Arts Camp, Orfeo Music Festival in Italy, Endless Mountain Music Festival and Master Players Festival.

Wilkens-Reed is viola instructor at Virginia Tech and director of the Virginia Tech String Project. Her awards include the Outstanding String Project of the Year Award from the American String Teachers Association, the Favorite Faculty Award at Virginia Tech and Memphis Woman Magazine’s Vision Award, plus a variety of grants for her string music education and pedagogy work.

Balija, associate professor of viola at UVa, is principal violist of the Charlottesville Symphony at UVa and violist of the Rivanna String Quartet. She performs solo, chamber and orchestral music across the country and has helped commission and premiere chamber works by Libby Larsen, Judith Shatin, Jorge Variego and other composers. She also is a founding member of the Piedmont Duo, which explores music for viola and marimba.

The concert, funded through the UVa Shea Endowment and the Virginia Viola Society, is free. Parking is available in the Central Grounds Parking Garage, the C1 parking lot on McCormick Road and the parking lots at the UVa Corner. For details, call the UVa Department of Music at (434) 924-3052.


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