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UT Viola Celebration

Guest Artists

Click on each person's name to learn more.

Jennifer BlochFrom Sebastopol, Calif., Jennifer Bloch joined the KSO in 1999 to play the viola. She had previously performed at several music festivals, including festivals in Aspen, Colo., Interlochen, Mich., and Round Top, Texas. She was also a faculty member of the Amherst Quartet at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Mich. She attended Vanderbilt University for her undergraduate degree in viola performance and Indiana University for her master’s degree. She loves to travel, ski, read, and spend time with her family. She also teaches private viola lessons.

Ann Marie BrinkViolist Ann Marie Brink has performed in solo and chamber music recitals at Carnegie Hall, the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, Aspen Music Festival, Library of Congress, Severance Hall, Rockport Music Festival, Newport Music Festival, Banff Centre for the Arts, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Alice Tully Hall and the Bravo Vail Valley Music Festival, and has been a featured soloist with the Dallas Symphony. An avid chamber musician, Ms. Brink’s performances with the Amernet String Quartet were praised by the New York Times as “an accomplished and intelligent ensemble. Their fine performances were most notable for the quality of unjaded discovery that came through so vividly.” She has coached and performed in residencies for Chamber Music America with the Cavani String Quartet, has twice been a fellow at the Aspen Center for Advanced Quartet Studies and was invited by Isaac Stern to participate in his Chamber Music Workshop at Carnegie Hall. First-prize winner in both the Nakamichi Foundation Concerto competition at the Aspen Music festival and the Darius Milhaud Performance Prize Auditions, she has also won the Florence Allan Award at the Carmel Chamber Music Competition.

First introduced to the viola at the age of ten in a public-school strings class, Ann Marie became one of the youngest members of the Pensacola Symphony, performing in the viola section while a freshman in high school. She later enrolled at Interlochen Arts Academy, where she was a featured soloist with the World Youth Symphony, received a Fine Arts Award and graduated with high honors. Ann Marie received her Bachelor of Music with academic honors from the Cleveland Institute of Music and was awarded the Jim Hall prize for achievement and leadership in music. She received her Master of Music from the Juilliard School, where she was awarded the prestigious William Schuman Prize, the single graduate prize given at commencement exercises. Her principal teachers were Karen Tuttle, Heidi Castleman and David Holland, and her chamber music mentors include the Emerson, Juilliard, Cleveland, Orion, and Cavani String Quartets. Ms. Brink has served on the faculties of Baylor University, Southern Methodist University, University of North Texas, Interlochen Arts Camp, Wintergreen Academy, Hot Springs Music Festival, Music in the Mountains Conservatory, Dallas Symphony Young Strings and The Institute for Strings. 

In 2019, after performing 20 seasons as Associate Principal Viola of the Dallas Symphony, Ms Brink joined the faculty of DePaul University School of Music in Chicago, serving as Assistant Professor of Viola.

When not playing the viola, Ann Marie can be found in the kitchen, at the pool, or lacing up a pair of running shoes. A frequent traveler to Europe, she has studied and performed traditional Irish music in County Kerry, Ireland, and has taken numerous classes at the Apicius Culinary Institute in Florence, Italy. A US Master's swimmer since 2001, Ann Marie has twice completed the 10-mile Maui Channel Swim, the only inter-island relay race in the world. She has run ten marathons including the Boston, New York, Marine Corps, and Dallas Marathons.

Ms. Brink has served for over seven years as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused and neglected children in the foster care system in Dallas, TX.

Kathryn GawneKathryn Gawne joined the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra as principal violist in 2001 at the age of 22. Prior to moving to Tennessee, Kathryn made her home in the Chicago area. Kathryn started playing the violin in 4th grade as part of a public-school music program.  Her first teachers, Art Montzka and Ann Montzka-Smelser, made a tremendous impact on her life and she is forever grateful for their loving guidance, limitless patience, and willingness to share their passion for music with their students.  She received her Bachelor's degree in violin performance and Master's degree in viola performance from Northern Illinois University where she was a scholarship student of Mathias Tacke and Richard Young of the Vermeer Quartet. Lewis Rosove was an important orchestral mentor to Kathryn. Kathryn has completed extensive teacher training in the Suzuki violin and viola methods. In 2000 she was awarded a Shinichi Suzuki Teacher Training Scholarship from the American Suzuki Institute to further her training. Outside of music, Kathryn's interests include sewing, designing children's clothing, smocking and embroidery, and exploring the park behind her house. She lives in Knoxville with her husband Tim and daughters Alice and Louisa Jane. Kathryn would like to thank her Knoxville Symphony family for all their love and support.

Megan KehrenMegan joined the KSO in 2011 as a part of the viola section. She began her studies in public school orchestra in Hendersonville, NC with her first viola teacher, Margery Kowal. Moving to Knoxville as a middle schooler provided opportunities such as playing with our beloved Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra and studying with Karen Johnson, former assistant principal viola of the KSO. As a senior in high school, Megan performed regularly with the KSO as a viola substitute.

From there, her musical education led her to Southern Methodist University for her undergraduate degree in music education studying viola with Barbara Hustis (Sudweeks) of the Dallas Symphony. Megan went on to earn a graduate degree in viola performance at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she served as the viola studio’s teaching assistant under Erika Eckert. She attended Eastern Music Festival as the principal violist and was a member of the National Repertory Orchestra in 2000. In Colorado, Megan had the fortune of studying chamber music with Erika Eckert, Judith Glyde and the Takács Quartet, and her quartet was awarded first prize of the MTNA National Competition in Chamber Music.  

Professionally, Megan held the position of assistant principal violist of the Boulder Philharmonic and was a founding member of the Sphere Ensemble in Boulder, Colorado. She has also performed with the Sarasota Orchestra and was a member of the Fort Collins Symphony and Greeley Philharmonic. Megan’s passion is teaching, and she enjoys teaching privately as a Suzuki teacher in Knoxville, as adjunct instructor of violin and viola at Maryville College, and being a part of the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra. She happily serves as the conductor of the Junior Orchestra with the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra and enjoys providing an encouraging environment for our area’s young musicians. 

In her spare time Megan loves exploring the world with her husband, Frank and hiking places she never could have dreamed of as well as hanging out with their cat, Charlie.

Juliet White-SmithJuliet White-Smith, a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has performed as soloist and chamber musician in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. She has appeared as soloist with the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, Fort Collins, and Denver Philharmonic Symphonies. She has also performed in the viola sections of the Rochester Philharmonic, the Columbus (OH) Symphony, Grand Rapids (MI) Symphony, and the Houston Grand Opera orchestras.

In demand as a master teacher and clinician, White-Smith has presented master classes at music conservatories around the US and the world including the Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, the Eastman School of Music, and Mahidol University’s College of Music in Thailand. She has been a featured guest artist at viola events in Arizona, Iowa, and Ohio, and was the 2012 Pre-College Viola Clinician at the annual conference of the American String Teachers Association in Atlanta. In December 2016, she was an invited presenter for the 70th anniversary celebration of the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago. She was featured in “Ask the Teacher” in the April 2010 issue of The Strad. Her views on talent and effective practice techniques have appeared in articles in Strings and American String Teacher. She is a frequent adjudicator for many competitions including the William Primrose International Viola Competition, the annual Juanita Miller Concerto Competition in Dallas, and the Young Artist Concerto Competition of the Fort Collins Symphony.

White-Smith began her college teaching career at the age of twenty-five at Western Michigan University. She joined the faculty at The Ohio State University in 2012 after serving for twenty-one years as Professor of Viola at the University of Northern Colorado. She joined the Artist-Faculty at the Brevard Music Festival in 2018 and continues to enjoy an illustrious teaching and performing career.

White-Smith earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Eastman School of Music. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from Louisiana State University and a Master of Music degree in viola performance from the University of Houston. Her CD, Fashionably Late: Juliet White-Smith Debuts! features the premiere recording of Pulitzer Prize winning composer George Walker’s Viola Sonata and appear on the Centaur Records label.

Stephen WyrczynskiStephen Wyrczynski is a Professor of Music, Viola, at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. He was a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra for 18 years, joining them in 1992. He began violin studies at age eight and eventually switched to the viola at age sixteen. In 1983 he began viola studies with Kim Kashkashian and later with Karen Tuttle at the Peabody Conservatory where he became her teaching assistant. He went on to receive his bachelor degree in 1988 from Juilliard where he continued to be her assistant. He was then accepted at the Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with Joseph de Pasquale, then Principal Violist of the Philadelphia Orchestra.  He earned a diploma there in 1991.

As a chamber musician, he has performed with such artists as Joshua Bell, Sarah Chang, Pamela Frank, Edgar Meyer, Vladimir Feltsman, and Dawn Upshaw. He has played in many of the North America’s celebrated venues.  He has had performances at the Aspen Music Festival, CO; Le Domaine Forget, QC; the New Port Music Festival, RI; the Grand Teton Music Festival, WY; Tanglewood, Lenox, MA; Kingston Music Festival, RI; the Casal’s Music Festival, PR; El Paso Pro Musica, TX; and the Apollo Chamber Players, Denver,CO. 

Mr. Wyrczynski also performs regularly with his artist faculty colleagues at the Jacobs School and participates in faculty-student collaborations. One such partnership, which he co-founded with his colleague violinist Jorja Fleezanis, is an ongoing exploration of music from the Second Viennese School, in which faculty and students together perform music by Schoenberg, Webern, and Berg. The inaugural concerts took place in a gallery at the Indiana University Art Museum which has a celebrated art collection. Here, the audience was able to consider the relationship of the music to exhibited works by Wassily Kandinsky, a personal friend of Schoenberg. Works performed in this series include Schoenberg's Verklaerte Nacht Op. 4, String Quartets 1 Op. 7, 2 Op. 10, 3 Op. 30, 4 Op. 37, and the String Trio Op. 45.  Also performed were Alban Berg's Op. 3 String Quartet, Lyric Suite (1925-26), and Anton Webern Bagatelles Op. 9.

Mr. Wyrczynski considers his teaching a direct result of his own relationship to performing, practicing, and listening. He approaches each student as an individual personality and potential artist.  Teaching a student about the great privilege it is to serve the composers of our repertoire, is one of the best ways for the students to gain ownership of their musical training. He encourages students to ask probing questions and be musically curious beyond their own instrument. He has his students explore musical context rather than segregating technique from music making. His principal teacher, Karen Tuttle, also had this as a priority, as well as finding the physical connection and fluidity to achieve musical ideals through body coordination and integration.

He is also an artist faculty at the Aspen Music Festival and School. In addition to teaching private lessons, he conducts a class in orchestral audition repertoire and techniques. He also has taught at the New World Symphony in Miami, Florida and Mannes College of Music in New York where he had done quarterly coaching in orchestral repertoire. He has also taught at the Curtis Institute of Music, the National Orchestral Institute, and the New York State Summer School for Orchestral Studies.


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