College Faculty:Classical Strings: ViolaPrecollege Faculty:Viola
KAREN RITSCHER, praised by the New York Times for her “superior musicianship” is recognized internationally as a leading pedagogue and performer. She has previously taught at Rice University and currently maintains an undergraduate viola studio at Oberlin Conservatory. As a master class clinician, she has been invited to Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Spain, Korea, Taiwan and China. Summer residencies have included the Aspen Festival, the Heifetz International Institute, Aria Music Festival, Bowdoin Music Festival, Domaine-Forget and the Quartet Program at Bucknell. Since its inception in 2002, she has served on the faculty of the annual “Karen Tuttle Workshop.” She was the featured viola Master-clinician for the College Division at the American String Teachers Association Conference in 2009. Ms. Ritscher performs and records regularly with the Azure Ensemble, a chamber group based in New York City that features the work of living female composers.
She has also been a member of the Aureus Piano Quartet and Steve Reich Musicians. As a champion of living composers, Ms. Ritscher has commissioned and/or premiered works from many composers including Bruce Adolphe, Wendy Mae Chambers, Linda Bouchard, Tan Dun, Chen Yi, Bright Sheng, Alice Shields and Gabriela Lena Frank. She has appeared at six International Viola Congresses as featured soloist and presenter. She also recently recorded her first CD of the complete works for Viola and Piano by Ernest Bloch. She has served as Principal Violist of the American Composers Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Houston Grand Opera and the Dallas Opera. She has toured and recorded with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, New York Philharmonic and the Houston Symphony.
As a concerto soloist, she has appeared with such orchestras as the Westchester Philharmonic, the Dallas Chamber Orchestra, the Colonial Symphony of New Jersey, the Texas Music Festival Orchestra and the Texas Chamber Symphony. Ms.Ritscher is honored to have been the string consultant for the award-winning book by Madeline Bruser, The Art of Practicing; a Guide to Making Music from the Heart. She is the Education Editor of the Journal of the American Viola Society, author of the column “From the Studio,” and frequent contributor to string magazines.
Manhattan School of Music faculty since 2010 and Precollege faculty since 2007.