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UT Viola Students Travel to Poland for International Viola Congress

UT Viola Students Travel to Poland for International Viola Congress

The UT viola studio is attending the 46th International Viola Congress this week in Poznan, Poland. Six students are traveling with Hillary Herndon, associate professor of viola and coordinator of strings. The congress is a gathering of viola professionals from around the world and includes lectures, recitals, master classes, and workshops—all featuring the viola and its history and repertoire. 

To attend the congress, the studio had to submit a project proposal. Undergraduate Angela Lois worked with viola studio colleague Brandan McGrath to come up with a studio project featuring Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music Theory Jorge Variego and his 18+3 Etudes, a book addressing elements of technique for intermediate violists. Herndon, who is president-elect of the American Viola Society, collected techniques that teachers wished to see addressed and used them as the basis for the book’s 18 intermediate and three advanced etudes

Viola studio students will present an overview of the origin of the etude book, and each student will present their own etude as well. Students not traveling to Poland made video presentations that will be played at the congress.

“Even for those not traveling, having this project right at the start of the year is bringing the studio closer together and allows us to get a record start to the beginning of the school year,” said Herndon.

Herndon is performing a recreation of the 1919 Berkshire Music Festival Competition recital with pianist Wei-Chun Bernadette Lo at the congress. The 1919 competition brought the viola into composers’ minds as an instrument and caused literature for the instrument to take off. 

Attending the congress will have a tremendous impact on the students, and presenting on an international stage is an experience they’ll likely never forget. 

“This will be a life-changing experience for the students,” Herndon said. “The added bonus of interacting with the most active members of the professional international viola community, hearing the most recent research for new pieces, and learning different styles from the various countries represented—it truly makes this trip priceless for everyone involved.”


Contact: Jeff Roberts (865-974-8935,


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