Ken Allen, Violist

Opus 716, (Modern), 2011 & Opus 854, (Baroque), 2014 - both Gasparo da Salò 17¼” Cutaways

Over the years I’ve grown to appreciate more and  more the great variety of colors I’m able to produce on both of my  Douglas Cox violas. I discovered the first one after many months of  trying some very fine instruments in shops in and around Boston. I’d  just about set my heart on one, but decided it might be worth exploring  outside Massachusetts. The first place I visited was Doug’s studio and  the first scale I played on the first viola I picked up was absolutely  magic! I was as much impressed by Doug’s friendliness and dedication to  his craft as I was by the quality of his instruments. -- Ken Allen

Violist  Ken Allen is a founding member of Trio Notturno, as well as a member of  the American String Teachers Association, American Viola Society,  Boston Musicians' Association, and Early Music America. Ken is an active  chamber and orchestral musician and has performed with many ensembles  in the Greater Boston area and beyond, including: the Atlantic Symphony  Orchestra, Boston New Music Initiative, Boston Opera Collaborative, Cape  Symphony, Commonwealth Lyric Theater, Harvard Baroque Chamber  Orchestra, Lexington Symphony, Lowell House Opera, Mercury Orchestra,  MetroWest Opera, MIT Summer Philharmonic Orchestra, New England  Philharmonic, New England Repertory Orchestra, Opera Brittenica, and  Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra. He is also a classically trained  pianist.

After completing undergraduate and graduate degrees in English at  UNC-Chapel Hill and at Harvard and then working at the Boston College  Law Library, Ken earned his Master of Music degree in Viola Performance  from the Boston Conservatory, where his viola teachers were Lila Brown  and Leonard Matczynski. He also studied string pedagogy with Rictor  Noren and was coached in chamber ensembles by Lynn Chang and Ina  Zdorovetchi at the Boston Conservatory. He has performed in master  classes for Elizabeth Blumenstock, Sheila Browne, Helen Callus, Levon  Chilingirian, Gabriela Diaz, Dr. Susan Dubois, John Harbison, the  Jupiter String Quartet, Michelle LaCourse, Karl Paulnack, and Karen  Ritscher.    

Upcoming performances and more about Ken are on his new website:

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Photo © Dana Muldoon 2011

Photo © Dana Muldoon 2011

Phil Bloch, violinist, violist, & gypsy jazz violin

Violin Opus 893 "Koff" Vuillaume & Viola Opus 698, 16-5/8” Gaspar da Salò

I love Doug’s instruments, and Doug too! I  particularly love my #863 and my #698 viola, but am happy to play any of Doug’s  violins any time I get a chance. -- Phil Bloch

Philip Bloch has been playing music for nearly half a century,  primarily violin, guitar and viola. He insisted on violin lessons at age  5, starting on a 1/4-size violin. Phil grew up playing music  professionally with his family, and listening to records from Jack  Teagarten to Benny Goodman, Sam Hinton to Pete Seeger, and Mozart to  Odetta; seeing and hearing Doc Watson was a life-changing experience at  11 years old. 

Music  study and performance continued through school: All-State Orchestra,  jazz and rock bands, Summer String Camp, family farm string band, and  lots of Bluegrass. Phil transcribed Stephane Grappelli's Minor Swing  during high school, and continued to study composition and improvisation  in College. Phil received his B.A. in Music from Yale University in  1980. He has continued to play professionally in many genres including  bluegrass, gypsy jazz, orchestra and chamber music. 

Phil's teaching experience includes individual and ensemble  classes at the Open Music Collective, Putney School, and private  instruction. He loves to teach songwriting and arrangement, jazz  improvisation, and bluegrass ensemble. 

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Phil Bloch, on stage at Brattleboro's Latchis Theatre with Moonlight Davis

Phil Bloch, on stage at Brattleboro's Latchis Theatre with Moonlight Davis

Zachary Evans, Viola

Opus 64, Gaspar da Salo 16 ¾", 1985

Your viola remains a source of great joy to me. -- Zachary Evans

Like many violists, I started out on the violin; I took up the viola  the summer before high school, but at first only to play in orchestral  and chamber groups. As high school progressed, I came to the conclusion  that I was better suited for viola than the violin, and so decided to  audition for conservatories on the former. My viola at the time actually  belonged to my violin teacher; my Doug Cox viola was the first I  actually purchased.

I entered Oberlin Conservatory, but midway through my second year  I switched to the College and became a classics major, learning and  reading Homer in ancient Greek. I kept playing the viola and taking  private lessons, while also taking advantage of various world music  classes on offer. I learned some of the rhythms of Arabic percussion,  Brazilian samba, and Indian classical music, participated in one of two  Javanese gamelan ensembles, and played viola for a semester in the  college's Balkan Music Ensemble. 

After finishing my degree, I immigrated to Israel and signed up  for a year and a half of volunteer service, during which I learned  Hebrew and went to work in COGAT (Coordinator of Government Activities  in the Territories), which is the military administration in charge of  the West Bank and the border crossings into Gaza. My base was just  outside the city of Jericho, near the Dead Sea and the spot on the  Jordan River at which Jesus was baptized. I could only play viola on  weekends at home on my kibbutz, but play I did, and somehow I managed to  avoid going rusty during my service At the end of my service, I saw an  opening for auditions at the Israel Chamber Orchestra based in Jaffa,  took the chance, and got to play in some performances with them. I might  try to make my living this way, but haven't come to a conclusion just  yet.

While in college, I began searching for a viola of my own. My uncle suggested I go to Doug Cox to see if he had something I might  like, and as it turned out, my future viola was there waiting for me. It  was different from the other violas I had tried; it seemed that, in  addition to a well-rounded, sweet and complex sound, it also had a sweet  character, sort of like an old friend one can always strike up a  conversation with. I've grown very attached to it, and it has remained a  source of great joy to me throughout my acclimation to my new home.

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Zachary Evans

Zachary Evans

Charles Galante, Viola

Opus 640, Ceruti 1800

The viola really changed the way I approached and performed the Clarke  Sonata. It responds with such ease and has such a clear sound. I wanted  to let you know that I was accepted to the Sarasota Music festival to  study with Kim Kashkashian, Robert Vernon, James Dunham and Barbara  Westphal! It would have never happened without this instrument! -- Charlie Galante

Hailed as “…truly illuminating and elegant…”(Herald Tribune), Violist  Charles Galante began his studies at the age of 9 in his hometown of  Northport, New York. He continued his studies at the Manhattan School of  Music Pre-College where he studied with Patinka Kopec and Tali  Kravitz.  Currently, Charlie is a sophomore at the Juilliard School  where he studies with Misha Amory.

As an avid chamber musician, Charles has enjoyed being coached by  members of the Guarneri, Emerson, Cleveland, Ying, Fine Arts, Dover,  Michelangelo and Bryant Park Quartets.  He has had performances  broadcast live on WSMR and WQXR young artists showcase. During past  summers Charles has attended the Sarasota Music Festival, Heifetz  Institute, Sejong International Music festival at the Curtis Institute  and the Manhattan in the Mountains.  At the Heifetz Institute he was  chosen to perform on the coveted Celebrity Series and has had the  opportunity of performing with James Dunham, Elmar Oliviera, Antonio  Lysy and Charles Wetherbee. Currently, Charles tours the East Coast as a  member of “Heifetz on Tour” and will be collaborating with the  Baltimore Symphony/coaching members of the Baltimore Youth Symphony in  the upcoming season.

Praised for performing with “..absolute beauty, musicianship and  integrity..” (, Charles is also an accomplished  orchestral musician, serving as principle of the Manhattan School of  Music Pre-College Philharmonic, Long Island Youth Orchestra, and Heifetz  Big Band among many others and as Assistant Principle of the Eastman  Philharmonia/Opera. Charles has performed in master classes for Misha  Amory, Hsin-Yun Huang, Kim Kashkashian, James Dunham, Barbara Westphal,  Martha Katz, Robert Vernon, Carol Rodland, Lawrence Dutton, Karen  Dreyfus, Karen Ritscher and Peter Serkin. He has performed in venues  ranging from Carnegie Hall and Tilles Center, to Oheka Castle as well as  soloist with the Northport Symphony. 

He plays on a viola made by Douglas Cox, on generous loan from the Virtu Foundation and is a recipient of a C. & H. Lewine Scholarship at The Juilliard School.

Charlie loves baseball, has a dog named Max, and says that his grandma makes the best red sauce/pasta on the planet.

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Photo © Zoot Shoot Photographers

Photo © Zoot Shoot Photographers

Helen Gray-Bauer ~ Violist, Athlete, Scientist

Opus 73, 16” Viola, 1986

Thank you again for this beautiful instrument! I just finished a 2-week  workshop with the Portland String Quartet and everyone there loved my  viola. It has an amazing tone and blends well with the other instruments  in my quartet. I have so much fun playing the viola, and it is really  helping me further my music career. Thank you! -- Helen Gray-Bauer

Helen has loved playing a Douglas Cox instrument for nearly half of  her musical career. Having played viola since the age of seven she has  studied both classical and bluegrass fiddle music. Helen joined the  Portland Youth Ensembles when she was nine years old, and is currently  the principal violist of the Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra for the  third year. She has also played with the Maine All-State Honors  Orchestra and the All-Eastern Honors Orchestra. Although Helen enjoys  playing in an orchestral setting, she favors chamber music. She has been  playing in various chamber groups through the Portland Conservatory of  Music and the Portland String Quartet’s Summer Workshops for several  years.

Helen is studying music and neuroscience at Skidmore College to  become a Music Therapist, with a focus on researching the effects of  music on neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Helen was very inspired by her instrument’s history. Doug explained  that the viola’s previous owner, Marylou Speaker Churchill for whom it  was made, was a close friend of his who played violin with the Boston  Symphony Orchestra. After her passing, her family returned it to Doug  hopeful that he would find a young musician to carry on her legacy of  inspiring the next music generation. Helen is very honored and excited  to have the opportunity to play such a wonderful instrument.

While she very much enjoys music, Helen also likes to participate in  sports. She is a tri-varsity athlete playing soccer, basketball, and  lacrosse. She is also the leader of the Community Service activity at  school. 

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National Anthem - 
Photo © Brian Beard, Creative Images Photography

National Anthem - Photo © Brian Beard, Creative Images Photography

Anna Griffis, viola

Opus 174, 16-3/8”

I played my Masters recital on the ‘new’ viola and was overwhelmed with  positive reactions from my friends and colleagues. I couldn’t be  happier. -- Anna Griffis

Originally from Annapolis, Maryland, violist and violinist Anna Griffis performs as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player  throughout the United States and abroad. She made her solo concerto  debut with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at the age of 16, and was  the second prize winner in the 2008 Van Rooy Solo Competition. 

Anna toured the Eastern U.S. and Turkey with the Anatolian Trio, a  group focused on bringing contemporary Turkish works to American  audiences and vice versa, and recently co-founded Trio Speranza, based  in Chicago and Boston, and Imperfect Pearl, based in Austin, TX.  

She has performed under the baton of Charles Dutoit, Rafael  Frühbeck de Burgos, Stéphane Denève, Simon Carrington, and Andrew  Parrott, and is principal viola with Grand Harmonie and the New Bedford  Symphony. 

Equally at home on both modern and historical instruments, she  plays in and around Boston with the Marsh Chapel Collegium,  Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium, Cambridge Concentus, Les Bostonades,  Musical Offering, Symphony New Hampshire, Orchestra of Indian Hill, and  the Cape Cod Symphony and travels regularly to Austin, TX to play with  Texas Early Music Project, La Follia Austin Baroque, and the St. Cecilia  Music Series. Anna attended the Baroque Performance Instiute at  Oberlin, Tafelmusik Summer Institute, Vancouver Early Music, Amherst  Early Music, The National Orchestral Institute, Garth Newel Music Center  and was a 2013 Tanglewood Music Center Fellow. 

Anna studied at Lawrence University and The Hartt School of Music  and received her Masters and Diploma from Boston University under the  tutelage of Michelle LaCourse. In addition to her performing career,  Anna is on Faculty at the Dana Hall School of Music and the Canton  Public Schools Encore Program and is the Coordinator of Music Public  Relations and Events for the Tufts University Music Department. 

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Anna Griffis

Anna Griffis

William Johnston, viola

Opus 565, 16-5/8", 2005

 In 2006, I had been looking for a new viola for over three  years and had nearly given up hope that I would ever find an instrument I  wanted to buy, when a colleague who had spent the summer at Marlboro  suggested that I give Doug a call. When Doug sent me this viola, I knew  my search was over. My instrument has a nearly ideal blend of the warmth  and richness everyone wants in the viola sound, with enough edge to be  heard in an ensemble. -- William Johnston

William Johnston leads a varied career as a violist and educator  based in Atlanta. Praised for his "richly lyrical tone and expressive  playing" (, he has appeared throughout the country in solo  and chamber music performances, including recent appearances with the  ensembles Fringe Atlanta and Sonic Generator. William is in demand as an  orchestral musician, serving as principal violist of The Atlanta Opera  and performing with numerous orchestras in the southeast. He has  performed at many summer festivals, including Aspen, Kent/Blossom, and  Sarasota, and is currently principal violist of the Utah Festival Opera.

William is equally committed to music education. He is a registered  Suzuki teacher, and completed long-term teacher training in books 1-4  with Kimberly Meier-Sims at the Cleveland Institute of Music. William  has presented masterclasses at colleges and universities, including  Florida Southern College, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and  Valdosta State University. He currently maintains a private studio of  children and adults, and is an active clinician in the Atlanta area. 

William is a native of Sarasota, Florida and graduated from Pine View  School in Osprey. Beginning music lessons with the piano at age four,  he later studied the viola with Dorothy Stahler, Alison Heydt, Victoria  Chiang, James Dunham, and Robert Vernon. He is a graduate of the Peabody  Institute and Rice University, and is the first violist to receive the  Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Visit William online at

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Photo © Jesse Kramer

Photo © Jesse Kramer

Tiffany Laraia, viola

Opus 711, 16½” G. P. Maggini of Brescia viola, 2010

I love the warm, deep sound the viola can produce with such little effort. -- Tiffany Laraia

Tiffany Laraia is violist from New Jersey who began  her studies with Byrnina Socolofsky. In 2011-2012 she studied with  Marvin Moon of the Philadelphia Orchestra. She has performed in Temple  Music Prep’s Baroque Players Orchestra, Chamber Players Orchestra and  Settlement Music School’s Trowbridge Orchestra with scholarship as  principal. Tiffany was the recipient of the Advanced Study Scholarship  at Settlement Music School playing in the Braverman Quartet under the  direction of Sid Curtiss. This past year she was principal violist of  the Temple Music Prep Youth Chamber Orchestra under the direction of  Maestro Luis Biava. 

Tiffany has appeared on NPR’s radio show From the Top as a member  of the Temple Music Prep Honors Quartet, was also a semi-finalist in  the junior division of the 2012 Sphinx Competition and won the Eastern  Music Festival concerto competition this past summer. Tiffany currently  studies at the Juilliard School studying with professor Toby Appel.

Tiffany plays on Douglas Cox's viola Opus 711, through a Sphinx Music Organization scholarship.

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Tiffany Laraia

Tiffany Laraia

Carol Lieberman, viola

Viola Opus 736, 15-5/8" Carrodus del Gesù, 2011

After years searching for a small viola with a fabulous dark sound  appropriate for solo performance, I have found Doug Cox's Guarnarius  model that projects the perfect antique sound. Everyone who hears me  play it falls in love with this instrument. -- Carol Lieberman

Carol Lieberman is the proud owner of two instruments made by Douglas  Cox: one of his first Baroque Violins, and a modern Viola, which she  purchased in February of 2012. Based on a Joseph Guarnerius 1743 “del  Gesù”, this Viola has its characteristic dark and mellow sound that  carries so beautifully in a concert hall. It is a first rate solo  instrument, and conveys that unmistakable Guarnerius quality.  As an  added bonus, the relatively small size of this Viola makes it the  perfect instrument for a violinist to play.

Associate Professor of music at College of the Holy Cross, and  Director of the Holy Cross Chamber Players, Carol Lieberman is one of  America’s leading exponents of Baroque violin performance as well as  violin repertoire from the 19th to the 21st centuries. She has performed  with harpsichordist Mark Kroll for forty years, and they have given  recitals of the complete Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord of  J.S. Bach in Lisbon, Madrid, Rome, Boston and San Francisco. Her  recordings have received the highest critical acclaim, and include the  J. S. Bach Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord, a world premiere album of sonatas by Simon LeDuc, an album of sonatas of C.P.E. Bach and J.C. Bach, CDs of Schubert’s Three Sonatinas for Violin and Fortepiano andErno Dohnanyi’s Sonata for Violin and Piano, Serenade for String Trio, and second Quintet for Piano and Strings. Her recordings of contemporary repertoire includeWalter Piston’s Sonatina, Lester Trimble’s Canterbury Tales, Alan Hovhaness’s Duo, Elliott Carter's Riconoscenza, and a CD issued by Centaur Records of Olivier Messiaen’s, Quartet for the End of Time.  Her recordings are also available for purchase and listening on iTunes.

Carol Lieberman frequently lectures on violin performance  practice, including vibrato and bow technique. She has given master  classes in Poland, Israel, France and England, and recently gave a  lecture-recital entitled “Vibrato in the Franco-Belgian School from G.B.  Viotti to E. Ysaye” in La Spezia, Italy. 

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Carol Lieberman

Carol Lieberman

Jorge Martínez Rios, Viola, La Catrina Quartet

Viola Opus 500, 16-1/2” del Gesù style

After our quartet concerts the comment that I always get is 'what a deep and warm sound that viola has'. -- Jorge Martínez Rios

Born in Torreón, México, Jorge Martínez Rios studied viola at the  Conservatorio de las Rosas, where he graduated with honors under the  tutelage of professor Gela Dubrova.

Mr. Martínez has performed across the US and Mexico in some of  the most prestigious concert venues, such as Carnegie Hall in New York,  Meany Hall's World Series in Seattle, Chicago Center for the Arts,  Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, just to mention a few.

He has been principal and assistant principal viola for different  orchestras in Mexico and the US, like the Orquesta Sinfónica de  Minería, the Camerata de Coahuila, the Orquesta de Cámara de Michoacán,  the Western Piedmont Symphony and the Las Cruces Symphony.

Most recently, Mr. Martínez was invited by CONACULTA (the  National Council for Culture and Art in Mexico) to record chamber works  of José Pablo Moncayo, including a string trio and the sonata for viola  and piano with acclaimed Mexican pianist Guadalupe Parrondo. This  recording was made to celebrate the composer's 100th anniversary. He has  also recorded music by Mexican composer Germán Romero under the  Quindecim recording label; Angelwings, a CD of music by contemporary  composers from Ohio; and the Francisco Mignone Seresta for double  quartet in collaboration with the Cuarteto Latinoamericano for the Sono  Luminus label.

Currently, Mr. Martinez is Assistant Professor of Viola at New  Mexico State University and keeps a busy schedule touring and teaching.  He is blessed to live eight months in the US and four months in México  with his wife Verónica, his two beautiful children, Valeria and David,  and Clay, a black and white rescue cat.

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Jorge Martínez Rio with Viola #500

Jorge Martínez Rio with Viola #500

Bob McGuigan ~ Violinist, Violist, Mathematics Professor

Viola Opus 154, after Maggini, 1989 & Violin Opus 557, Stradivari's 1693 “Harrison” Strad, 2005

My Cox instruments are so rewarding to play. I've had many compliments  on their sound and appearance.  I'm constantly finding inspiring new  things I'm able to do and relishing how I'm growing as a musician  through their use. They are also beautiful objects in themselves and I  often find myself admiring the carving or the varnish during long  rests. -- Bob McGuigan

Bob is an amateur violinist and violist.  He is a  (semi) retired mathematics professor, having taught for over 40 years in  the Massachusetts public higher education system.  His life as a  musician started with violin lessons at age nine with the Chicago-area  violin pedagogue Samuel Barbakoff.  He quit at age 13 for reasons now  unknown, but came back to playing 30 years later.  In 1992, at age 50,  having experienced the joy of playing chamber music and wanting to  expand his opportunities, he decided to  give himself a viola as a  birthday present.  A conversation with James Buswell at the Santa Fe  Chamber Music Festival sent him to Doug Cox with the result that Bob  became the proud owner of a Cox viola, Opus 154, a 16.5” personal model  inspired by Maggini.  When Bob reached age 65, retired from full time  teaching, he fulfilled a dream and acquired  a Cox violin, Opus 557, a  copy of the 1693 “Harrison” Stradivarius violin. 

Bob is very active in the amateur music scene in the Connecticut  Valley.  He plays regularly in the Friends of Music at Guilford Labor  Day Festival Orchestra, is a 20 year veteran member of the Pioneer  Valley Symphony Orchestra, currently in the viola section, and was for  many years in the Valley Light Opera Orchestra in Amherst.   He plays  violin or viola in three different string quartets and is a  frequent  participant in the annual string quartet conference led by the Manhattan  String Quartet at Colgate University.

Bob lives in Greenfield, Massachusetts with his wife, the pianist Julia Bady, who writes:

My husband purchased a violin from Doug Cox 3 years ago.  Thank you, Doug! Bob has been practicing more than ever before and my  ears and heart are happy. This instrument inspires Bob to play more  because it gives so much back. I have been enjoying its beautiful and  vibrant tone. And it gives me great pleasure to hear my husband joyfully  making music. -- Julia Bady, concert pianist

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Bob McGuigan with 557 & 154

Bob McGuigan with 557 & 154

Blakeley Woessner Menghini, viola

Opus 269, 16-3/8” Andrea Guarneri

I absolutely adore my Cox viola. It is literally   perfect in every way. It was definitely a “love at first sound”  experience. While I was in high school, my viola teacher's mother was  looking to sell her Cox viola. I tried it and instantly knew I had to  have it. My Cox viola has been the best purchase I have ever made, hands  down! When the day came that my viola needed repairs, Douglas Cox made  the process painless, and I had the great opportunity to try out another  Cox viola. Over the years, I have deeply bonded with my viola, and I  feel honored to own such a marvelous instrument.

I would recommend Douglas Cox's instruments to anyone looking to buy a superior, beautiful instrument. -- Blakeley Menghini

Recognized as a “naturally gifted musician,” violist Blakeley Menghini is gaining attention for her artistry as a chamber musician, orchestral player, recording artist, and pedagogue.

Blakeley currently resides in Green Bay, WI as the violist in the Griffon String Quartet. In residence with Midsummer's Music in Door County, WI, the Griffon provides northeast Wisconsin with educational and community-embedded programs and performances. Other previous chamber ensemble affiliations include Arco Duo with harpist Brittany Schultz and the acclaimed Hunt Quartet at UW-Madison, where she was featured in formal and educational concerts through the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s Up Close and Musical program. Her festival appearances include the Arianna Chamber Music Festival, the Northern Lights Chamber Music Festival, the LunArt Festival, and the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival. She has appeared with the Chamber Orchestra of Northern Illinois, Kishwaukee Symphony, Oshkosh Symphony, LaCrosse Symphony, Fox Valley Symphony, and Madison Symphony.

A dedicated music educator, she maintains a private studio and has served as adjunct professor of viola and violin at Beloit College and adjunct professor of violin and viola at Greenville University, where she directed the school’s chamber orchestra. Menghini has written and taught a music appreciation curriculum for the Lahr-Well Academy, a private K-12 school in Edwardsville, Illinois.

Winner of the Edda Valborg Ofstie Memorial Music Award, Menghini is a 2018 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Mead Witter School of Music, where she received her Doctorate in Musical Arts and studied viola with Sally Chisholm. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Greenville University, where she studied with Victoria Voumard, and a Masters of Music and Performer’s Certificate from Northern Illinois University, studying with Tony Devroye. Menghini has performed in master classes with Alban Gerhardt, Nobuko Imai, Laurie Smukler, and the St. Lawrence and Arianna Quartets. Media appearances include WORT Radio, WBDK Radio, and Green Bay’s CBS Local 5 TV. Her chapter "Rethinking Education: The Four Pillars of Education in the Suzuki Studio" will be published by Indiana University Press in a book entitled Humane Music Education for the Common Good in 2020.

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Aaron Mossburg, viola

Opus 583, 16-5/8", 2006

The Douglas Cox viola that I've been playing on for the last year is  quite an amazing instrument. The sound is very responsive and has a wide  range of colors. It  projects  well and is malleable in any sort of  environment, whether a large or small hall, wet or dry, reverberant or  acoustically dead. The sound is easy to adjust. This is  important when  switching from solo to chamber music to orchestra playing, switching  from Bach to Schnittke. Each requires a certain style of maneuverability  - never a problem with this viola. -- Aaron Mossburg

Aaron Mossburg, violist, has been described as having a "fine, warm sound" (Cleveland Classical) and "much personality and a clear command"  (Sarasota Herald Tribune). A native of rural Indiana, Aaron is  currently a senior at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music where he studies  viola with Peter Slowik.

In November of 2011, Aaron gave his solo Carnegie Hall debut,  which was sponsored by the Netherlands American Community Trust. At the  age of 16, Aaron soloed with the Indianapolis Symphony as well as with  the Fort Wayne Philharmonic on several occasions. Aaron has performed in  other  venues such as the Neue Gallery of Art in New York City and the  Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia. At Oberlin, he has participated on  numerous occasions in the Danenberg Honors Recital, both as a soloist  and as a chamber musician. In the past couple of years, Aaron has also  performed at Oberlin’s “Music at Oakton” concert series in the  Washington D.C. area. In April 2012 he was first prize winner in the  senior division of the Ohio Viola Society Competition.

During his sophomore year at Oberlin, Aaron was asked to serve as  principal viola on the Oberlin Orchestra Asia Tour, where they  performed throughout China’s most prestigious concert halls, as well as  the Esplanade in Singapore. He has served as principal viola in  orchestras such as the Honors Orchestra of America, Indianapolis  Symphony’s Side-By-Side Program, Oberlin Symphony and Opera Orchestras,  New World Youth Symphony, and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Youth  Symphony. Aaron frequently substitutes with the Indianapolis Symphony  Orchestra, Canton Symphony, and the New World Symphony in Miami,  Florida.

In 2008, Aaron was selected to take part in the Perlman Music  Program, founded by Itzhak Perlman and his wife, Toby. He has been very  fortunate in recent years to have studied and collaborated with such  teachers and artists as Itzhak Perlman, Heidi Castleman, Paul Katz,  Donald Weilerstein, and Merry Peckham.  Aaron has been a participant at  the Sarasota Music Festival in Sarasota, Florida, Kneisel Hall Chamber  Music Festival in Blue Hill, and the Pacific Music Festival in Japan.  Other past teachers and instructors include: Kim Kashkashian, Robert  Vernon, James Dunham, Carol Rodland, Jeffrey Irvine, Barbara Westphal,  Michael Isaac Strauss, Ronald Copes, Pamela Frank, Mark Sokol, Robert  Levine, members of the Juilliard String Quartet, Cleveland Quartet,  Takacs Quartet, Cavani String Quartet, Tokyo String Quartet, Pacifica  Quartet, St. Petersburg Quartet, and the Jasper Quartet.

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Aaron Mossburg

Aaron Mossburg

Gizem Yücel ~ Viola

Opus 897, 15-5/8” Guarneri, 2015

Thank you so much for making such beautiful violas.  I’m in love with my new viola. In Turkish we compliment people who  create anything with their hands by saying, “ellerine saglik” which  translates as “health to your hands” so you continue making more. -- Gizem  Yücel 

Gizem  Yücel is a versatile concert violist equally at home in  many genres  from jazz, rock, experimental to classical. She holds  bachelor's and  master's degrees in viola performance from Hacettepe  University State  Conservatory and Bilkent University in her hometown of  Ankara, Turkey.  After moving to the States she received her artist  diploma in viola  performance from the State University of New York,  Purchase College in  New York and her doctorate from the University of  North Carolina at  Greensboro with a cognate in piano and conducting.

Gizem  was a member of the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra, and  Bilkent Young  Virtuoso in Ankara, Turkey. She has also been  well-received  internationally at such notable orchestral, chamber and  solo music  festivals as the Ayvalık festival in Turkey, Şimdi Now  Festival in  Belgium and Germany, Łańcut Festival in Poland, Musica en  Compostela in  Spain, and Festival Del Sole Napa Valley, the Texas Music  Festival,  Brevard Music Center, Hot Spring music festivals in the U.S.  during  which Gizem has collaborated with numerous esteemed musicians.  Her  performance credits also include a European tour with renowned  Turkish  pianist Fazil Say and a tour with the legendary rock sensation  Jethro  Tull. She has also shared the stage with Rod Steward and her  band opened  for Santigold at an MTV production. Gizem has recorded with  many great  musicians from various genres such as jazz bassist Eric  Revis, jazz  pianist Antonio Truyols, classical pianists İdil Biret,  Jean-Philippe  Collard and folk-pop sensation Pearl and the Beard. She  played live on  TRT (Turkish Radio Television) radio made weekly  appearances on Turkish  late night television. Her SUNY quartet's  recording has aired on the  radio station WQXR NYC's "The Young Artists  Of The Hour".

She  now plays with the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra under the  baton of  Dmitry Sitkovetsky in North Carolina and as  principal/assistant  principal viola in the Chelsea Symphony in NYC. She  performs regularly  in the Greensboro Symphony Chamber Series with  guest artists as well as  with her own chamber groups; Imaginary Friends  Ensemble, her duo  "Okyanus" with partner/pianist Antonio Truyols and  New Yorker Ensemble  with Emir Gamsizoglu. She teaches violin and  conducts the orchestra at  the Harmony Program in NYC, an organization  inspired by El Sistema.  Gizem's primary viola teachers include Betil  Başeğmezler, Cavid Cafer,  Scott Rawls and Ira Weller.

Visit her website at

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Photo by Jacqui Haggerty

Photo by Jacqui Haggerty