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.

Like   Tweet   Pin   +1  

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...

IMG 9782

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.)

IMG 9793

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.

DSC 3635-LR

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.