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UT Viola Celebration

Guest Artists

Click on each person's name to learn more.

Jacob AdamsLauded for his “engaging” performances and his “expressive and intense” playing (American Record Guide), Jacob Adams is assistant professor of viola at the University of Alabama. Since making his solo debut with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at age 17, he has performed throughout the United States and at major venues around the world, including all three stages at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, the Rudolfinium in Prague, and the El Escorial Palace in Spain. Jacob has performed on the prized Amati instruments at the Smithsonian and appeared on stage with such diverse acts as the Kronos Quartet, Yo-Yo Ma, Suzanne Vega, Herbie Hancock, and Quincy Jones, among others. He has premiered new works by celebrated composers, including William Bolcom and Caroline Shaw. Jacob is a frequent performer with ensembles and orchestras around the country, including A Far Cry (Boston), Manchester Summer Chamber Music, and the symphony orchestras of Santa Barbara, Mobile, Huntsville, and New Haven. Jacob serves as principal violist of the Tuscaloosa Symphony.

Recent engagements include serving on the viola faculty of the Brevard Music Center, chamber concerts in Havana, Prague, and Seattle, soloing with the University of Alabama’s Huxford Symphony Orchestra and presentations at the 2017 International Viola Congress (Wellington, NZ), the 2018 ASTA National Conference (Atlanta), and the 2018 American Viola Society Festival (Los Angeles). Jacob’s debut album, “Czech Portraits,” was released on the Centaur label, featuring original transcriptions of Janáček violin pieces as well as works by Otakar Zich and Ladislav Vycpálek with pianist Pascal Salomon. His article on Vycpálek’s ‘Suite for Solo Viola’ was published in the Journal for the American Viola Society. Jacob co-commissioned a new viola and piano work from composer William Bolcom, which was premiered in 2018 on the occasion of the composer’s 80th birthday and will be recorded for the American Classics label.

Chamber music highlights include performances with members of Camerata Pacifica, the Muir String Quartet, and the St. Petersburg String Quartet. From 2007–2009, Jacob was the violist of the critically acclaimed Vinca String Quartet, with whom he won special mention at the Borciani International Quartet Competition. As the founding violist of the Erato Quartet, he won top prize at the Coleman Chamber Music Competition.

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Jacob is a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, Yale School of Music, and University of California – Santa Barbara. His principal teachers include Helen Callus, Jesse Levine, Roger Chase, Roland Vamos, Masao Kawasaki, and Catharine Carroll Lees. In addition to his performance degrees, Jacob earned his MA in musicology from the University of California – Santa Barbara. In his spare time, Jacob is likely to be found hiking, exercising, cooking, or bowling (high score: 289). He lives with his wife, Shannon McCue, and their son, Isaac, in Tuscaloosa. For more information, visit

Kirsten DocterKirsten Docter ’92, is associate professor of viola at Oberlin Conservatory of Music. First prize wins at the Primrose International and American String Teachers Association Viola Competitions launched her on a career that includes a 23-year tenure with the Cavani Quartet, concerts on major series and festivals throughout North America, Europe, and Australia, and numerous appointments as a master class clinician and teacher.

During her time as violist of the award-winning Cavani String Quartet, Docter performed at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Kennedy Center, Festival de L’Epau in France, the Honolulu Chamber Music Society; appeared in features on public radio programs Performance Today and St. Paul Sunday; and television programs on NBC, CBS, ABC, and PBS. The quartet was also honored with an award from ASCAP-Chamber Music America for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music, as well as Guarneri String Quartet Residency Awards and Chamber Music America Residency Partnership Grants.

Docter’s festival appearances include performances at the Aspen Music Festival, Banff Centre for the Arts, Seattle, Mimir (Texas and Melbourne, Australia), Sitka Summer Music, Interlochen, Kneisel Hall, Yale Summer School of Music and Art at Norfolk, Madeline Island and the Perlman Music Program. She has collaborated with Itzhak Perlman, Jaime Laredo, Alisa Weilerstein, Stephanie Blythe, Nathan Gunn, Alessio Bax, and members of the Cleveland, Juilliard, Takács, Emerson, Borodin, and Amadeus string quartets. Her work can be heard on the Azica, Albany, New World, and Gasparo labels.

Docter formerly served on the chamber music and viola faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music and has given numerous master classes at universities and music schools. She has been a jury member of the Primrose International Viola, Fischoff National Chamber Music, and Sphinx competitions. In addition to her position at Oberlin, she is on the viola faculty of the Perlman Music Program, Madeline Island Chamber Music and Bowdoin Music Festival. Docter is a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory with additional studies at the Curtis Institute of Music.

Michael KimberMichael Kimber, guest faculty participant at the 2013 Viola Celebration, is delighted to be returning this year. A violist who has been praised for his “lyrical sound, full of warmth and color” and “agility that was little short of astounding,” he began his musical studies on violin and had in mind pursuing a career as a composer. However, at the age of 20 he was persuaded to play viola (not violin) in a string trio, an experience that was life changing. Captivated by the viola’s rich sound, he saw the light, went to the dark side, and decided to dedicate his efforts to becoming a violist, studying with Francis Bundra at the University of Michigan and at Interlochen, and with Raphael Hillyer, the founding violist of the Juilliard String Quartet.

After completing his doctorate in viola performance, Dr. Kimber began his professional career playing viola with the Alexandria Quartet, an American ensemble in residence at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Australia. This adventure was followed by an exciting year premiering new music from coast to coast in the US and Canada as violist of the Kronos Quartet. During twenty-five years as a viola professor, first at the University of Kansas and then at the University of Southern Mississippi, he also served as principal violist of the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, the Kansas City Camerata, and the Meridian Symphony Orchestra, while performing internationally with ensembles as diverse as the Atlanta Virtuosi, the Early Music Consort of Kansas City, and the Oread Baroque Ensemble. Since 2005 he has been artist instructor of viola at Coe College, plays viola with Orchestra Iowa, and is an active member of the Iowa Composers Forum.  Among his former students are Brant Bayless, principal violist of the Utah Symphony; Tim Deighton, professor of viola at Penn State; and Julio Lopez, violist in the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and a professor at the Vienna Music Academy.

Having given up composing in 1965 to focus on viola performance, Dr. Kimber began to compose again in 1985. Since that time his music, especially that for viola, has become widely known and performed. In 2010 the American Viola Society presented him its Founders Award in recognition of his contributions as a composer of music for viola. Seven CDs of his music, recorded by Polish violist Marcin Murawski, have been released by Acte Préalable. His music can also be heard on the CDs “American Voices” (Hillary Herndon, viola), “archi d'amore zelanda” (Donald Maurice, viola d’amore), and “Night Strings” (George Taylor, viola), and in numerous performances on YouTube by both students and artist performers.  The 2017 International Viola Congress in Wellington, New Zealand, concluded with massed violas performing eight of his works (including Knoxville: Autumn of 2013) in a “Tribute to Michael Kimber.”

Fascinated with the colorful history of tuning systems and intonation, Dr. Kimber enjoys opening musicians’ ears to the beautiful subtleties of melodic and harmonic intonation, an awareness of which should be a part of every musician’s training. Nevertheless, he is most often applauded for something more mundane — the invention of the amazingly comfortable poly-pad violin/viola shoulder rest. Since 1990 tens of thousands of poly-pads have been purchased in all 50 states, DC, and 34 foreign countries.

Dana MeyerDana Meyer, founder and artistic director of Music City Strings, is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music and has been passionate about music education for more than 35 years. With the goal of creating educational programs that provide children the means to become confident, sensitive and beautiful artists, Mrs. Meyer immersed herself in the Suzuki pedagogy and became a protégé of master teacher Ronda Cole. In addition to her role as Artistic Director of Music City Strings, Mrs. Meyer is currently a faculty member with the Greater Washington DC Suzuki Institute, the Suzuki Institute at PhoenixPhest! in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the Suzuki String Institute at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. She maintains a robust private violin studio in Franklin, Tennessee.

While much of her early teaching career was focused on the high school and collegiate level, Mrs. Meyer performed extensively with chamber music groups and major orchestras throughout the United States. She has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Denver Symphony, the Richmond Symphony, and toured Europe annually with the American Sinfonietta chamber orchestra.

A highly sought-after teacher and clinician, Mrs. Meyer has held numerous prestigious faculty positions and posts in such institutions as the South Carolina Suzuki Institute at Furman University, the Fine Arts Student Academy in Nashville, New World School of the Arts (Miami), Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina, Wintergreen Performance Academy, Dillard High School of Performing Arts, the Middle Tennessee State University Governor’s School of Music, and Tucson Chamber Music in the Mountains in Tucson, Arizona. She has also been president of the Suzuki Association of South Florida, president of the Middle Tennessee Suzuki Association, and is currently auditions coordinator for the Strings Division of the Nashville Area Music Teachers Association.

Braunwin SheldrickBraunwin Sheldrick leads a dynamic career dedicated to both performing and teaching. She has given solo recitals in Canada, the United States, Colombia, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, and England and has participated in festivals including the Spoleto Festival USA, the Domaine Forget, and the Banff Centre. As a soloist, Braunwin has appeared with the Universidad EAFIT Symphony Orchestra and the Medellín Philharmonic Orchestra. In a review of her performance of Vaughan Williams’ Flos Campi, El Colombiano wrote: "The viola was played by Braunwin Sheldrick with great ownership and security. Her sound, intense and beautiful, was accompanied by a special poetic sense." With her trio Aquarimántima she has released a new CD entitled “Trios americanos para clarinete, viola y piano.”

A devoted teacher, Sheldrick has presented master classes at the Universidad del Atlántico (Baranquilla, Colombia), the Universidad del Cauca (Popayán, Colombia), Conservatorio Antonio María Valencia (Cali, Colombia), Universidad Nacional (Bogotá, Colombia), and at the Eastman School of Music (NY). Her students have been invited to participate in music festivals such as the Festival de Música de Santa Catarina (Brazil), the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival (USA), the Summit Music Festival (USA), the Verbier Festival Junior, the Colombian Youth Orchestra, and have also been accepted to graduate programs at North Texas University, North Carolina School of the Arts, Longy School of Music, Duquesne University, and Rutgers University. Additionally, she is a Suzuki violin teacher and has completed training with Stevie Sandven, Karen Kimmmett, and Katherine Wood.

Sheldrick is currently professor of viola at the Universidad EAFIT in Medellin, Colombia. Previously, she was a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the viola instructor at the University of Rochester as well as the teaching assistant to Professor George Taylor at the Eastman School of Music. She holds degrees from McGill University (BM), Temple University (MM) and a postgraduate diploma from London’s Royal Academy of Music. Sheldrick earned a DMA in viola performance and literature from the Eastman School of Music.

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