What a Year for the NorCal Viola Society!

Happy Holidays from the Northern California Viola Society! We hope you've had a good year and that you're looking forward to 2015 as much as we are.

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Happy Holidays from the Northern California Viola Society!

We hope you've had a good year and that you're looking forward to 2015 as much as we are. We invite you to grab a drink, or a sandwich, get comfortable, and read on to review what the NCVS has been up to lately...

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We've been busy!

Our second annual Young Violists Competition (YVC) for talented pre-college violists aged 19 and under took place in March. First-prize winner Linus Lu played beautifully for our judges, who included this year's Tom Heimberg Viola Advocate Award-winner, Don Ehrlich (previous recipients include Susan Bates and Tom Tatton). The competition's required repertoire this year included the world premiere of a lyrical solo Viola Sonata No.1 by Alice Hong, selected by the NCVS board from over a dozen new works submitted through a call-for-scores we put out in 2013. (In 2013 the inaugural YVC's commissioned work was the thrilling fluttertude, by Kurt Rohde.)

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Later in the spring, the NCVS partnered with the California Music Center - presenter of the annual Irving M. Klein International String Competition - to present a round-table discussion by a few of the renowned artists on the 2014 Klein Competition judges' panel, at San Francisco State University.

Throughout the past season the NCVS has presented several Viola Salons hosted by various people and institutions throughout the year, including at private homes and at UC Davis - learn about the salons here.

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In June, NCVS past-president Ethan Filner traveled to the Colburn School in Los Angeles to perform the two aforementioned NCVS-YVC commissions at the American Viola Society's Primrose International Viola Competition & Festival. The works were enthusiastically received by several teachers visiting from around the world, who expressed their intentions to return home, download copies of the works from the AVS new music archive where you can find them today, and help their own students learn the new music themselves.

In November we successfully applied to the IRS for 501(c)(3) non-profit status; we received our determination letter just last week - so all contributions to the NCVS are now tax-deductible under the law. We have been graced with much generosity through the past several years, from individuals and other organizations who have helped keep the NCVS moving forward, and we thank all of you for your support while we worked (slowly but surely) to establish our proper non-profit status.

07 VM3 Telemann en masse

In December - just a couple of weeks ago! - the NCVS celebrated our third ViolaMANIA! presented in partnership with Ben Simon and the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra on their Classical @ the Freight concert series, at Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley. The event was a success, with about 275 in the audience including 60-75 violists playing along when we read through the Telemann G Major Viola Concerto - watch the videos at our YouTube channel to see for yourself! To all who missed ViolaMANIA 3 - The Holiday Edition, we apologize we weren't able to reschedule, and we're looking forward to the next tiime!

Coming up in 2015 we have our third Young Violists Competition scheduled for April 12 at Community Music Center in San Francisco. Details can be found here.

We will be awarding another Tom Heimberg Viola Advocate Award during the YVC finals - Details about past recipients here.

We also hope to add new Violas on a Roll workshops to the schedule - learn about Violas on a Roll here -- and continue to work with the California Music Center/Klein Competition as well as other regional organizations like ASTA to present teacher workshops, educational school visits, and "viola petting zoos" to expand the viola's reach into the community. Please contact us if you have an idea for additional programming. All ideas are most welcome!

Now that our 501(c)(3) status has come through, we are officially confirmed as the kind of society we want to become - a community benefit organization. We are not a private club but rather a public community engaged in advancing the viola and its music for all. As a friend and supporter, you are at the core of our community and poised to spread the word about the NCVS and help move us forward into a new era of viola advocacy and celebration.

Will you help us? We have been doing much and there is still much more we want to do -- but we truly need your support to make it happen and to keep the NCVS and its offerings growing! You can become an NCVS member here: download the .pdf membership form - and/or you can make a tax-deductible donation of any amount directly to the Northern California Viola Society here:


We wish the very best for you and yours this holiday season, heading into the new year and beyond. We hope to see you in April at the Young Violists Competition and at other NCVS events in the future.


Jason Pyszkowski
President, Northern California Viola Society
and the NCVS Board of Directors
(415)779-NCVS (6287)


Jason Pyszkowski, NCVS President


ViolaMANIA 3 - The Holiday Edition *** WRAP-UP and other Big News

First, the Big News - we have just received our 501(c)(3) determination letter from the IRS -- we are so thrilled to announce we are now an officially tax-exempt, non-profit organization under federal law. Contributions made directly to the NCVS are now tax-deductible, so please consider lending us your support and help us grow our community events, concerts, and workshops programming!

Or call 415-779-6287 to talk about other ways you might like to contribute.

A great crowd turned out on December 8, 2014 for the NCVS's third biennial ViolaMANIA celebration, presented by the SF Chamber Orchestra on their Classical @ the Freight concert series

If you were there, thank you for joining us and being one of the 200 or so witnesses that it really happened! We had somewhere between 65-75 violists playing the Telemann Viola Concerto together at the end of the program, and the rest of the night had been filled with wonderful arrangements by NCVS board member Katrina Wreede like this one:

and this one:

as well as the Benjamin Dale "Introduction & Andante" for Six Violas, a Klezmer blowout by Cookie Segelstein, the Corelli Christmas Concerto, jokes read by Berkeley-based luthier Joan Balter, and several gift bags full of awesome prizes raffled off to lucky audience members throughout the evening.

If you were there, thank you for braving the protests going on nearby, we know many couldn't make it because of the shut-down freeway and nearby BART station. If you are interested in purchasing a souvenir NCVS t-shirt, ViolaMANIA cartoon shirt, or ViolaMANIA 3 'Team' t-shirt, please email us at ncvs@norcalviola.org ---- we have a bunch still available and will sell for $12.50 shipping included.

ViolaMANIA3 - The Holiday Edition - December 8, 2014

How's your Telemann Viola Concerto coming along? We're looking forward to hearing you on December 8 2014 at Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse when we present our third ViolaMANIA presented by the SF Chamber Orchestra on their Classical @ the Freight series!

Click the VIOLAMANIA tab above to get all the latest details about this year's event. It's all coming together - and soon!

the basics:
Concert is Monday, December 8 2014 at 8pm
Pre-concert Viola Fair begins at 5:30
location: Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse
Tickets available through the F&S website: http://www.freightandsalvage.org/violamania-3
$11 at the door
$1 off admission when you bring your viola to play along
$9 in advance (link above)

Pre-concert fair will include informal viola ensemble music reading, available raffle prizes on display, NCVS merchandise and featured local business vendors..
Proceeds largely benefit the Northern California Viola Society - funds raised from ViolaMANIA help directly support other NCVS activities like the annual Young Violists Competition (next one of those coming up in April 2015!)

Check back later for more information and, eventually, highlights...

We hope you can join us on December 8th!

Viola Labor Day - September 1, 2014 in Berkeley

What? "Viola Labor Day," a workshop/"study group" for the viola music of J.S. Bach and George Phillip Telemann.
Where? On Cedar Street in Berkeley; contact the host for details, as space is very limited.
When? Monday, September 1, 11am till about 4:30pm with an hour break for lunch at noon. August 30 at 2pm will be available for a pre-workshop rehearsal for any participants itching to get an extra session in.
Who? Hosted by Charles Waterman -- cedar2110@netscape.com or 510 548 4068 (H)
Who Else? Marshall Tuttle, workshop leader: originally comes from Berkeley, matriculated from UC Berkeley with a degree in music, masters degree from Hayward State, PHD from Stanford.  He performs regularly in the Portland area as a member of a string quartet.  He is orchestral chairman of the Mt Hood Community College music department.  He was a founding member of the Berkeley Promenade Orchestra, which later became the Berkeley Symphony.

Wait, what is this all about?
A regular group who comes to play together on an occasional Saturday, usually playing Corelli concerti grossi and movements from Beethoven symphonies in an upstairs salon or room available that is ideal for a small chamber music group.  Space is limited, holding just 10 to 12 musicians. On Sep.1st Marshall Tuttle will be the special guest, leading the group through:

Telemann  Concerto for 2 ViolettasBach 6th Brandenburg ConcertoTelemann Viola Concerto in G major

The Telemann Viola Concerto will be emphasized for Violamania preparation, which occurs December 8, 2014.
Marshall can help anybody.  He is a wonderful musician and a good teacher and so anyone who wants to try has a good chance to  push through these difficult baroque pieces that are written specifically for the viola. This will be a good learning experience for any violist.  We can find a part for anyone of any skill level provided they have some orchestral training.

The group will be working in an upstaisrs apartment.  If you're interested, please contact Charles Waterman, cedar2110@netscape.com - and he can give you more details including the exact address.  Parking in the neighborhood is difficult. All you need to bring is a stand; Music will be provided. Weaker violists are encouraged to attend the August 30 pre-workshop session as a warmup if they desire.

For more information, contact:
Charles Waterman
510 548 4068 hm
415 421 0375 wk

NCVS Viola Salon #2: June 1, 2014 in Berkeley

The Second NCVS Viola Salon has been scheduled!

June 1st, 2014 / 4-6pm (time TBC)
Location: Home of Jean Radford, violist and teacher in Berkeley 
Registered guests will receive complete location address information.

Featured guest artist: Cookie Segelstein
Cookie will share "all things Klezmer for viola" -- Listen, Learn, Play it yourself!
Bring a viola and folding music stand, and a treat to share
Space is limited to 30 people, so sign up early: FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO RSVP, CONTACT:
Katie Wreede, vlazville@earthlink.net or 510-534-9695

The first Viola Salon at UC Davis (info below) was a great success and we're looking forward to this second event in Berkeley. Don't miss it / hope to see you there!

2014 Young Violists Competition & Tom Heimberg Viola Advocate Awards

We are delighted to announce the 2014 Young Violists Competition prize-winners, three young players who performed for an enthusiastic audience at Community Music Center on Sunday, March 2nd 2014. They are:

Linus Lu, First Prize and Best Performance of the Commissioned Work (center)
Connie Song, Second Prize (left)
Gabriel Anguiano, Third Prize (right)

(Event Photos & performance videos will be available for viewing soon on the YVC page on this website...)

Congratulations to you all! We thank and commend you for your brave participation in this, our second annual competition. Good luck to each of you in the future and we hope to see you at more NCVS events in the future!

We are also happy to announce the 2014 Tom Heimberg Viola Advocate Award recipient:
Don Ehrlich

NCVS past-president Ethan Filner sat down with Don a couple of weeks ago to talk about Don's life in music. Read the full candid interview at http://whatmusiciansknow.blogspot.com

And finally, *** mark your calendars! Because we have a confirmed date for ViolaMANIA 3! - December 8, 2014 at Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse on the SF Chamber Orchestra concert series. Stay tuned for updates later this Spring and Summer...

2014 Finalists and Commissioned Work Announced

We are excited to announce this year's Finalists who will perform their programs on March 2nd at the San Francisco Community Music Center from 4-5:30pm. We are also thrilled to announce our 2014 YVC Commissioned Work which was selected from several entries submitted from NorCal-based composers for our Call for Scores put out last summer.

The three finalists this year are:
Gabriel Anguiano
Linus Lu
Connie Song
The commissioned work to be performed by each Finalist along with their audition repertoire is:
Viola Sonata No.1 by Alice Hong

Please come enjoy these three finalists' performances on March 2nd, beginning at 4pm. More information about our lineup of esteemed violist-judges will be updated here soon.

Please also consider making a donation in support of the NCVS and the Young Violists Competition - We recently became fiscally sponsored by the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, so your donations to the NCVS are now tax deductible to the extent allowed by law: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/sffcm-fsp

Thanks for reading and we'll see you on March 2nd!

2014 NCVS Young Violists Competition Deadline: January 25th

The official entry deadline for the 2014 NCVS Young Violists Competition was January 25th. The online application form is available here.

A panel of NCVS board members will review and adjudicate the 'tape round' submissions early this week. Finalists will be notified by email - .pdf copies of this year's commissioned work will be attached. One month later we will hear the finalists each perform the commissioned work along with the rest of their audition program, in our open-to-the-public final round on March 2nd, 2014 at San Francisco's Community Music Center at 544 Capp Street.

Email ncvs@norcalviola.org or call 415-779-6287 with any questions!

More information about this year's YVC can be found through the Young Violists Competition menu link to the right.