opportunity for motivated East Bay students

Nice to see everyone at VIOLAMANIA!!!! I hope you had as much of a blast as I did! What a wonderful night! What great playing! What a crowd! What a feeling to be with so many like-minded people!

Here's a little advertising-- If you have students who have studied for at least a year and have a little theory or maybe an advanced one that needs a lot of challenge and they live anywhere near North Berkeley or can get to the North Berkeley BART, here's the thing for them.

Crowden Center for Music in the Community's John Adams Young Composer Program has openings for serious music students ages 7-18. Includes weekly private lessons with professional composers, weekly workshops and seminars, and performances of students works by professional ensembles.

More info at: http://crowden.org/CCMC/Programs/fall_spring.htm#YoungComposers

Viola Jokes

Some would argue no viola website is complete without a collection of viola jokes. The famous viola joke on display below was recently sent to me from a composer friend and colleague. Countless other viola jokes are available online at a variety of websites, like this one: http://www.mit.edu/~jcb/viola-jokes.html; and this one: http://members.cox.net/datimp/viola.html. Comment on this post to add your own favorite...

Setting up for the Don Freund 'Fanfare'

This photo of one moment of ViolaMania! from the audience p.o.v. was just shared with us, so we're sharing it with you! Do you have a photo or video from ViolaMania worth sharing with the world? Send it our way and we'll add it to the collection. Thanks in advance for any and all submissions!

ViolaMania Videos

To start: a teaser-trailer... just some short -and unsteady, sorry! - snippets of the

And then - the complete Telemann viola concerto, in four separate movements -
these were put up on YouTube by the family of one student who had attended
and joined in... Madeline Prager gave us a fun first-cadenza solo in the first movement...

The third movement's cadenza was raffled off prior to beginning the concerto; the winning ticket belonged to ViolaMania co-coordinator Katrina Wreede, who was playing the 4th Viola part in the orchestra (she had arranged the orchestral quartet herself). For whatever reason we quickly decided to draw another ticket to get someone to join her on a double-cadenza, and that winning ticket belonged to Jeremy Cohen of Quartet San Francisco. So when the time came, we got a seriously jazzed up - 'short but sweet' - Andante cadenza duet performed by two former Turtle Island String Quartet violists.. check it out...

Featured performers and Raffle Prizes from VM2010

For the record...


  • Beeri Moalem
  • Benjamin Simon
  • Charith Premawardhana
  • Charlton Lee
  • Daria D'Andrea
  • David Cann
  • Ellen Ruth Rose
  • Ethan Filner
  • Jason Pyszkowski
  • Jodi Levitz
  • Katrina Wreede
  • Kristine Venstrom
  • Madeline Prager
  • Patricia Heller
  • Paul Yarbrough
  • Pauline Metzgar
  • Sharon Wei
  • Thomas Tatton
  • Wendy Clymer

and VIOLAMANIA! RAFFLE and Auction ITEMS included

  • 2 Tickets to a SF Symphony concert of the holder's choice
  • 2 Tickets to Edgar Meyer Solo Recital presented by SF Performances
  • 2 Tickets to the SJ Chamber Music Society's concert by 'Musicians from Marlboro' in April 2011
  • 4 VIP guest passes to the Legion of Honor or the de Young Museum, from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
  • Andrea Rosin, "David" for solo viola from Roland Feller
  • Assorted Instrument Accessories from Joan Balter
  • Busking Fiddle Tunes for 2 Violas, arranged by - and from - Deborah Greenblatt
  • Cadenza solo in Telemann G Major Viola Concerto Third Movement (Andante)
  • Dinner for 2 at Balboa Cafe in SF
  • Dominant and Helicore Viola Strings Sets from Roaldn Feller
  • Featured artist CDs
  • Free 1-hour Alexander Technique session with John Baron (Sausalito)
  • Free Bow Rehairs from John Greenwood
  • Private viola lessons from Katrina Wreede, Jodi Levitz, Madeline Prager, and Ellen Ruth Rose
  • Regency Maestro Viola Case from SW Strings
  • Southwest Strings Gift Certificate
  • Stylistic Duos for Two Violas, by - and from - Jeremy Cohen
  • The complete Rolla Viola Duos (5-volume set) from Kenneth Martinson
  • Viva Viola shoulder rest from Roland Feller
  • World Premiere Edition, First Copy, of E.Ysaye Sonata No.3 Op.27 for Violin Solo, arranged for Viola Solo by David Cann (autographed)
  • York Bowen Fantasy Quartet for 4 violas, Comus editions of Moonlit Apples and Poem by Kenneth Harding, and "Connecting the Dots"; all edited or written by by Thomas Tatton

ViolaMania! media coverage

This article appeared in the SF Chronicle today, August 26th 2010, previewing Monday's ViolaMania! event at Freight & Salvage with an interview with Ethan Filner, acting President of the NCVS and organizer of ViolaMania -- with lots of help from his friends...

Remember - while the show starts at 8, there will be a pre-concert potluck and chamber music in the lobby starting at 6:30 along with tons of raffle prizes on display.. you'll be able to buy raffle tickets and ViolaMANIA! t-shirts, and to check in and/or join the NCVS & AVS at our nifty registration table so that you can gain free admission to the actual concert. Come early and join the party!

Violamania at Freight & Salvage in Berkeley

Thursday, August 26, 2010
What do you get if you pack dozens of violists into a single performance space? Well, maybe a bit of overdue respect.
That, anyway, is the hope lurking behind Violamania, a celebration of the most maligned - or at least overlooked - member of the orchestral world.
The event, which will inaugurate the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra's new classical concert series at Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, is designed to bring together the Bay Area's far-flung violists and viola aficionados for one single-instrument blowout. Even the "orchestra" assembled for the evening is a viola-only affair.
"Look, if someone wants to bring a cello and play along, we won't turn them away," said organizer Ethan Filner, 34, the violist of the Cypress String Quartet. "But the idea here is viola power."
Violists could maybe use a little ego reinforcement. They're relegated to the interior lines of the string section, denied their rightful share of solo assignments and made the butt of a steady stream of viola jokes, few of them witty enough to warrant the name.
Monday's event is designed to strike a blow - albeit a mellow and mild-mannered one, in true viola fashion - against that state of affairs. Part concert and part jamboree, it's also meant to mark the rebirth of the Northern California Viola Society after several years of dormancy (members get in free).
Plus, there's a record at stake. Members of the New Zealand Viola Society claim to have had 150 violists participating in a recent shindig, and Filner is hoping to shatter that number.
He describes the program as a "viola progressive," beginning with a Bach solo played by Sharon Wei and proceeding through an all-viola duet, trio, quartet, quintet and octet. The quartet, by the minor 19th century Austrian composer Max Ritter von Weinzierl, will feature violists from four of the Bay Area's leading string quartets: Paul Yarbrough of the Alexander Quartet, Jodi Levitz of the Ives Quartet, the Del Sol's Charlton Lee and Filner himself.
But the climax will be a performance of Telemann's G-Major Viola Concerto, which Filner describes as "a wonderful standard student piece that everybody knows or should know."
They'd better, because the solo part will be played in unison by every viola-toting musician in the hall (any patron showing up with a viola gets $1 off the admission price). The first of the concerto's two cadenzas will be played by Madeline Prager, while the rights to the second will be awarded through a silent auction.
"There's going to be a mix of teachers, students, freelancers, professionals and viola-loving amateurs," said Filner. "The idea is to reach out and make a big splash, and to make it fun for people at all levels."
Still, the question remains: What is it about violas - and violists - that makes them different?
"There's something about being in the middle of things rather than the soloist on top, or the person responsible for the foundation of the harmonies. We're not blasting our brains out like wind players, or banging away like the percussionists. We're chameleons - we're able to fit in better."
And the jokes?
"The funny thing about violists is that you've got all these jokes where the person gets it wrong. But in real life, somehow too often, people live viola jokes.
"I know I sometimes space out in rehearsal, and then when someone says, 'Let's pick it up at measure 88,' I'm the one who says, 'Wait, what?' But it's not because I'm a violist - it's because I'm me.
"Hopefully this won't be one big viola joke, where only three people show up. Everyone else will be like, 'Freight and where?' "

Violamania: 8 p.m. Mon. Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley. $8.50-$9.50. (510) 644-2020. www.freightandsalvage.org.

E-mail Joshua Kosman at jkosman@sfchronicle.com.

This article appeared on page F - 2 of the San Francisco Chronicle

ViolaMANIA! August 30th at Freight & Salvage in Berkeley

8pm August 30
Pre-concert potluck and chamber music in the lobby at 6:30pm.


Opening the 2010-11 season of Classical at the Freight
Presented by the SF Chamber Orchestra

Help launch the new Northern California Viola Society, raise money and set a new world record for the largest viola ensemble: Join in on the final piece of this 'Viola Progressive" recital: an en masse reading of the Telemann G Major Viola Concerto. Enjoy an evening of viola music, viola jokes, good cheer and some truly excellent raffle prizes!

Enter to win the coveted second cadenza solo spot in the Telemann - yes, we're raffling away the opportunity to solo amidst all the other ViolaManiacs! Better get practicing, time's running out!

Other raffle prizes donated from artists and businesses from throughout the region include:
Free tickets to the SF Symphony, SF Performances, SJ Chamber Music Society, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; bow rehairs by San Francisco's John Greenwood; viola or composition lessons or chamber music coachings by any of several of the evening's featured performers; assorted instrument accessories from Bay Area instrument makers and shops like Roland Feller and Joan Balter; tons of sheet music for viola and viola ensembles; a viola case and gift certificate from Southwest Strings; a free Alexander Technique session/lesson with John Baron in Sausalito... the list goes on and on! Thank you to all those new Friends of the NCVS!

Raffle prizes on display in the lobby during the pre-concert chamber music and potluck; bring your axe, some music to read, a music stand if you've got one and some food or drink to share. Extremely hip ViolaMANIA! T-Shirts for the fundraising occasion will be on sale throughout the night, at $15 each.

NCVS/AVS dues-paying members granted FREE ADMISSION to the event; all other viola-wielding audience members get $1 off. SFCO members get their usual 2-for-1 ticket deal. Join online here and get registered in time for the show, OR just find the membership table in the lobby to join up right then and there!

Featured performers to include (also listed at right):
Sharon Wei, Wendy Clymer, Kristine Venstrom, Katrina Wreede, Beeri Moalem, David Cann, Paul Yarbrough, Jodi Levitz, Ethan Filner, Charlton Lee, Daria D'Andrea, Ellen Ruth Rose, Madeline Prager, Charith Premawardhana, Pauline Metzgar, Jason Pyszkowski, Patricia Heller, Thomas Tatton and SFCO's own conductor - and violist - Benjamin Simon...

The ViolaMANIA! program will guide us through several stages of viola ensemble growth from solo Bach to an octet (or multiples thereof) composed by Don Freund for the 1995 Viola Congress in Bloomington, Indiana.

Suite No.3 in C Major - Prelude, by J.S. Bach

Sonata for Two Violas, op.12 no.1 - Allegro assai, by Jean-Marie Leclair

Irish Tunes for three violas, arranged by Deborah Greenblatt

Nocturne, Op.34 for Four Violas, by Max Ritter van Weinzierl

Cassatio in F for Five Violas, by Anton Wrenitzky

Fanfare for 8 (or 16 or 24) Violas, by Don Freund

Viola Concerto in G Major, by Telemann; orchestral parts arranged for Viola Quartet by Katrina Wreede.
**Solo cadenzas performed by Madeline Prager (in the first movement) and YOU! (some lucky raffle winner, in the third movement)

Post-concert drinks at the nearby Jupiter Bar in Berkeley.

For more information, contact Ethan Filner, acting-President of the NCVS, at norcalviola@gmail.com or by calling 415-938-7839.

Upcoming events

April 7th at SoCha Cafe in San Francisco 8-10:30pm
Piggybacking on the Classical Revolution schedule: NCVS Viola Night! The plan is to fill the space with Viola Music by Violist-composers, dead or alive... Bring your viola, any music for viola(solo, duo, other ensemble...) and a stand, and we'll see what happens. Other instruments welcome; some of the best music for viola can be found within some of the quartets written by composer-violists like Mozart and Dvorak (to name just two obvious classical masters)...

May 5th at SoCha Cafe in San Francisco 8-10:30pm (TBC)
Same deal as the 7th except the theme of this round will be "But it Sounds Better on Viola!" - music written for other instruments that violists past and present have transcribed for our instrument. For example: (Brainstorming here...) Bach Cello Suites and Violin Sonatas & Partitas. Telemann 4 Violin Concerti. Bach Double violin concerto. Brahms Clarinet Sonatas (Yes, he did the transcriptions for viola himself but we'll count it for tonight). There are plenty others out there. Bach Chromatic Fantasy & Fugue (who's game for that beast?) -- Must be other non-Bach options. Please get in touch with norcalviola @ gmail.com or look us up on Facebook (search for Northern California Viola Society) to make more suggestions.

August 30 2010, 6:30-7:30 Pre-concert reception,8-9pm Concert:
Classical @ the Freight with the SF Chamber Orchestra (Freight & Salvage, Berkeley)
This date has just been confirmed with the powers-that-be; more details to come!

Join the NCVS Google Group for updates and event information

If you have stumbled upon this page and wondering what's up, email norcalviola@gmail.com to find out or simply visit http://groups.google.com/group/ncvs to join the NCVS e-mailing list.
Meanwhile, if you're up for getting involved, don't forget to join Northern California Viola Society and  dues are just $20(10 for students and seniors)
American Viola Society