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UT Viola Celebration

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Click on the questions below to learn more.

The UT Viola Celebration started 8 years ago as a free event.  In that first year, we had 2 guest teachers and UT was able to cover most faculty expenses as a public service to the musical community.

Since our inaugural event, the Celebration has grown to include 100 participants each year, offer more than 40 master class spots and boasts a large guest faculty of prominent violists.  Faculty travel from all over the country to participate in this event, and they have been doing this largely without compensation or travel allowance.

The registration fees will allow us to help defray the travel costs of the wonderful violists who generously share their time with student violists during the Viola Celebration.  It is the hope that the $35 fee will not be large enough to prevent viola enthusiasts from attending, but enough to help reduce the costs each faculty member personally incurs by teaching at this event. It is highly unlikely that the registration fee will completely cover the travel expense costs of each guest faculty member.  If you are able, consider making a donation to the Viola Celebration.  The funds will go directly to covering expenses of the guest faculty.

This year we are also charging for the performance slots in the master classes to help compensate the faculty for their time. 

Every violist who registers will be assigned to a viola ensemble and classes according to registration information and availability.  An e-mail packet with your ensemble parts will be sent to you in late September.

Classes and duo assignments will be made as soon as possible.  You will be contacted directly with pertinent information regarding duos and classes.

Duo performances will be awarded to the first 10 completed applications received after noon on September 15th.  Fees must be received within one week of online submission to be complete, and the private teacher of each winner must give approval.  If these criteria are not met, duos will be awarded to the next in line.

The teachers of the 10 winners will be contacted to verify that the level of duo music chosen for their student is appropriate and that the student's part will be prepared before arriving to the Viola Celebration.

Students without a private teacher are not eligible for a duo prize.  This is to ensure that students performing will feel comfortable, prepared and have a good experience performing for a large crowd.  Students who are awarded a duo prize may begin private study at the time of winning notification and become eligible.

The Viola Celebration library includes duos of many difficulty levels, so even a beginner can participate if desired.  Once a consultation has been made with the private teacher, music will be e-mailed to you.  It is expected that you will arrive to the Viola Celebration with your part learned.  You will have a short rehearsal with the faculty violist both Saturday and Sunday, and then perform on Sunday's Final Concert.

A Master Class is a public lesson.  The student will first perform a movement for the Master Teacher and audience.  After the performance, the teacher will work with the student on ways to improve.  These events allow for everyone in attendance to learn from the Master Teacher as well as the performing student to get first hand information from a new source. 

The Advanced Master Classes are intended for students who have been studying viola privately for several years and are at a fairly advanced level.  It is recommended that students who request Advanced Master Classes have been to a previous master class as an observer.  This recommendation is for the comfort of the student – this public lesson situation can be intense for students who have never been introduced to the concept.  Advanced classes are 30-minute sessions for each performer.

The Introductory Master Class is intended for students who have less experience.  These classes will be less intense and allow students to perform for a teacher in a less stressful environment.  These sessions will be shorter – approximately 15 to 20 minutes long.  The Introductory classes are recommended for students who are performing solo works in the Suzuki Books 1-3 or equivalent level.  Students who do not normally take private lessons or are younger than 13 that wish to perform in a master class will likely be assigned an Introductory Class. 

Yes!  All master classes are open to registered participants to observe.  The class fee is only required of those performing for the master teacher individually.

Master Classes are assigned according to a number of criteria including age, ability, repertoire, date of registration and previous Viola Celebration assignments.  Every effort is made to allow those interested in playing for a master class the opportunity to do so, as well as to honor the request for the level of class.  However, as space is limited, it is possible that you will not receive the level of class requested or be wait-listed for a master class spot.  Early registration is the best way to assure your spot!

No.  It is encouraged that you use a pianist unless you will perform an unaccompanied work.  However, it is not required that you use a pianist for an accompanied piece.

Typically, the piano scores for the Advanced Master Classes are much more difficult and will require more personal study time by the pianist and more rehearsal time for the student and pianist together.  The pricing for the pianists reflects this difference. 

The Advanced Master Class pianist fee is $50.  This will include a 30-minute rehearsal time prior to your master class.

For those playing in the Introductory Master Class, the pianist fee is $15. This will include a short 5-10 minute run-through prior to the class. 

Rehearsals will be scheduled on an individual basis as soon as pianists are assigned.  These will typically be in the mornings between 8-10, during lunch breaks and on Saturday after 4pm.  A few students might be requested to rehearse on Friday evening, depending on availability.  You will be contacted directly with your rehearsal time. 

Yes, you can!  Please indicate this on your registration form.

Yes!  The Viola Celebration is a great way to inspire your beginning violist by surrounding them with violists of all ages and abilities.  There are activities to include every level of violist through the weekend.

The Viola Celebration Website has a list of area hotels and restaurants.  If driving or renting a car while in Knoxville, discount sites such as are recommended to find the best price on a hotel.  It is recommended that you rent a car while in Knoxville, or book one of the hotels listed as within walking distance to UT on the Viola Celebration website.  The UT Viola Celebration Staff are not able pick you up at the airport or book your room for you.

The concert is purposely scheduled early on Sunday to allow for those driving to leave before it gets too late.  The concert should be over by 5pm.  Please plan on staying for the concert as the ensemble sections have been balanced and anyone leaving early will be disruptive to the quality of the performance.

The scroll is from an instrument made by Mark Jennings, based upon a viola made by Andrea Guarneri C1696. Mark Jennings is a violin, viola & cello maker in Cornwall, England.

If you have a question not answered on this website, please e-mail  We will respond to you as soon as possible.

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