NCVS Viola Pandemonium Sessions 2020, September Edition

Northern California Viola society invites you into Fall with 3 more online sessions on Sundays@5pm pacific time.  Sept 13th is Klezmer with Cookie Segelstein, Awareness Through Movement with David Daniel Bowes on the 20th, and "Games Violists should Play" with Tom Tatton on Sept 27.  Register via eventbrite links below.  You must register to participate. The sessions are free and open to violists from anywhere and we encourage a variety of ages and skill levels. Please attend any or all three this month and spread the word. If you would like to support our efforts with a membership, renewal or gift, we would welcome your support. All donations will benefit the Young Violists Competition and Composer Competition. We are a 501(c)3 and your donations may be tax deductible.



This is going to be BIG fun, do.not.miss! With lively music and a great spirit, Cookie brings a wealth of experience and knowledge from her years of performing and teaching. We are lucky to snag her- she is usually off playing worldwide with her trio, Veretski Pass! She is an expert in Jewish violin style and has transcribed countless folk tunes from the tradition.


Get your mind-body-spirit mojo going in this hour-long workshop. David's workshop will have as the centerpiece an experience of one of Moshe Feldenkrais' many lessons called ATM, or "Awareness Through Movement".  David is celebrating his 50th anniversary of teaching music this year, having given his first violin and piano lessons when he was 16. Studying the Feldenkrais® Method seemed a natural extension of immersion in the New Approach, which constitute the teaching principles of Kato Havas, OBE.

David teaches a Feldenkrais® class every Monday at 11 AM Pacific time online. To register: David Daniel Bowes' Monday Weekly Class


Experienced music educator and clinician Dr Thomas Tatton leads us through a series of games that are challenging but accessible to many levels of players. No exercise book is needed as we try out the "games" that Tom demonstrates for finding a deeper tone, developing sautillé, shifting with a relaxed arm and building accuracy in higher positions. With a wealth of experience in educational settings, Tom will explain how to do the exercises and what technique is being developed. We try it out and learn something new - pedagogy without tears!

2020 Pandemic Sessions: NCVS Viola Pandemonium

This month, August 2020, we are starting the Viola Pandemonium Sessions, join us to stir it up in lockdown! Aug 16, 23 & 30, Sundays at 5pm. These sessions are free to members and we suggest a donation for non-members, no one turned away for lack of funds. Please keep in mind that we are a volunteer-run non-profit and if you value this type of event, show us by donating so we can keep this and future programs going. Join NCVS for member dues of only $20.
August 16th, Katrina Wreede starts us off with Brazil to Bollywood. You will have a chance to learn a traditional Brazilian Choro and a tune from a Bollywood film. 5pm PST via Zoom. To register:

On August 23rd, Keith Lawrence teaches us some improvisation skills, fun style techniques and encourages violists in finding their individual creative voice. Keith is violist, composer, vocalist, and arranger, currently with Cosa Nostra Strings, a group in the Jazz Mafia Collective based in the SF Bay Area. He is also a colleague in many classical orchestra and chamber groups in the area.

Ethan Filner, beloved past President of NCVS will lead us on August 30th in "Kreutzer Club" - a chance to break through the isolation of the practice room lately! We'll be playing etudes together to tackle rewarding, challenging, fun and/or beautiful ones. Submit one of your faves in pdf format in advance, prepare to play it in a super mini-masterclass setting for individual feedback or follow along at home. Can be Kreutzer or any composer that you have been working on.

Questions? email us at


The NCVS 2020 

Young Violists Competition 


First Prize: Emily Hwang
    Second Prize: Pearl de la Motte
    Third Prize: Vincenzo Calcagno       
   Best Bach Performance: Emily Hwang
  Best New Piece: Pearl de la Motte

Judges’ Award: Skyler Li


The judging panel, Cassandra Lynne Richburg, Clio Tilton, and Matthew Young are to be commended for their thoughtful deliberative process and the valuable advice given to each competitor. Pianists Lori Lack and Young Lee provided strong musical accompaniment for our young performers.

The five outstanding young finalists were Vincenzo Calcagno (Vallejo), Pearl de la Motte (Lemon Grove), Emily Hwang (Palo Alto), Skyler Li (Milpitas), and Sihyun Jeon (San Jose). The audience was treated to outstanding performances from all. 


We heard movements from the Walton and Forsyth Concertos as well as Bruch’s Romanze and Weber’s Andante and Hungarian Rondo. The young musicians also each performed a movement from a Bach Cello Suite and the work which received the 2019 NCVS Composition Prize, a solo viola piece by Denise Ondishko titled "Cogitatio".  We all went home energized about what the future holds for those who love string music in general, and viola playing in particular.


Many thanks to all the competitors, their families, and their teachers for joining us in forwarding our mission to promote the highest level of viola playing throughout Northern California. We are grateful to the Community Music Center and to Katie Wreede for arranging the use of the facilities. The event was made possible through the efforts of NCVS board members Daria D’Andrea, Katie Wreede, Ivo Bokulic, Patty Heller, Tom Tatton, and volunteers Polly Tatton and Kevin Jim. We were able to raise funds to meet a matching challenge grant from a generous Anonymous Donor which allowed us to fund the prizes and expenses. We are ever grateful for the continued financial support from our members and fans which ensures the future of this event. For next year, we are looking for a new venue for the finals concert since the CMC will be closed for extensive renovations. If you have an idea for a venue with a recital hall and several practice rooms, send us a note at:


ViolaMANIA! 4.0 The Post-Election Edition happened at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse 11-11-19
  Thanks to San Francisco Chamber Orchestra's Classical at the Freight, ViolaMANIA 4, The Post-Election Edition, was possibly our biggest and best violafest yet. The Northern California Viola Society invited you to bring a viola and join us in our latest attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the Most Violists Playing Together.  Hear the Bay Area’s top violists and learn a few new viola jokes.  Don’t miss the fun and great viola ensemble music next time. See the ViolaMANIA page for more info

Coach with a Pro!  Dust off your Telemann and join us for one or more of our new coaching evenings led by local viola luminaries to help participants with tricky spots, bowings, fingering tips and ensemble practice. We'll have good times with the Telemann! These will be informal events located around the area. See the Coach with a Pro page 


2019-20 Composer Competition  The NCVS is no longer accepting submissions of works for unaccompanied viola for our 2019-20 composition contest. For more information, click here. 


The 2019 YVC winners:  
1st Place - Sophia Ines Valenti (Santa Rosa)
2nd Place, Best Bach and Best New Piece -Sydney Whipple (Oakland)
3rd Place - Vincenzo Calcagno - (Vallejo)

The Northern California Viola Society was honored to host the talented young Finalists who performed with Collaborative Pianist Extraordinaire, Lori Lack, on the afternoon of March 10th, 2019 at the San Francisco Community Music Center for our Young Violists Competition.

The six finalists and hometowns (in alphabetical order):

Vincenzo Calcagno - (Vallejo)
Emily Hwang -  (Palo Alto)
Shinwho Kwun- (San Ramon)
Yannie - (Redwood City)
Sophia Ines Valenti (Santa Rosa)
Sydney Whipple - (Oakland)

Congratulations to our finalists, and thank you to all the talented young violists who applied and sent in recorded auditions. Northern California has a young violist population to be proud of! The NCVS panel were impressed with the quality of all the applicants.

2019 NCVS YVC Details
March 10th
Awards, reception-4:30
(12pm finalists warm-up)
Community Music Center
544 Capp St., San Francisco


Ruth Ellen Rose, Violist with Earplay, Professor at UC Davis and UC Berkeley
Dr. Tom Tatton, former president of the American Viola Society
Patricia Whaley, Principal Violist with Symphony Silicon Valley

Each Finalist performed selections of viola repertoire plus our 2019 composition competition winning piece, "Out of Mud" by Denise Ondishko.

Email with questions.