Steve Larson, viola

Violist Steve Larson has performed as a soloist and chamber musician
throughout the Americas, Europe, Japan, and China - his playing has
been described as “riveting” (Gramophone Magazine) and “electrifying”
(Journal of the American Viola Society). The Montreal Gazette has
praised his "singing tone, eloquent phrasing, expressive dynamics and
flawless intonation," and the Boston Globe called his performing
"supercharged, clear-headed, yet soulful." He is a Senior Artist
Teacher at The Hartt School of the University of Hartford, where he
has taught since 1998 and has served both as Chair for Strings and
Chair of Chamber Music. He is Principal Viola of the Wintergreen
Festival Orchestra and Chair of Viola Studies for the intensive string
chamber music program at the Wintergreen Summer Music Academy in
Virginia. He has given masterclasses and performances at
conservatories, universities and schools throughout the United States
and Canada, and at numerous summer festivals including the Ottawa
Chamberfest (Ontario), the Orford Festival (Quebec), Domaine Forget
International Music Academy (Quebec), the Stamford International Music
Festival (UK), the Chamber Music Conference and Composer’s Forum of
the East (Vermont), and Music Mountain (Connecticut).

Since 1994 Larson has been the violist of the Adaskin String Trio.
Their landmark recording of the complete String Trios of Beethoven for
Musica Omnia was hailed by Gramophone as “riveting” and
“intoxicating”, while their MSR Classics release of the two piano
quartets by Gabriel Faure with pianist Sally Pinkas was
enthusiastically welcomed by critics as “splendid,” “worth
celebrating” and “ferociously gorgeous.” With Pinkas and oboist Thomas
Gallant he is a member of Ensemble Schumann, whose unique
instrumentation and playing has been described by Fanfare Magazine as
making “some of the most blissful sounds this side of nirvana. Truly,
this is exquisite music, exquisitely played.” He also performs and
records in duo with his wife, violinist Annie Trépanier and throughout
the Americas and Europe with their acclaimed chamber groups, Avery
Ensemble and Cuatro Puntos. Both groups also present their own
Hartford, Connecticut concert series, including numerous world
premieres and cross-cultural collaborations in programs specially
crafted to give the music a meaningful context.

Larson has performed as a guest with groups such as the Emerson
Quartet and the Lions Gate Trio as well as with orchestras such as the
Montreal Symphony and National Arts Center Orchestra. He is a former
member of the Alcan String Quartet, Musica Camerata Montreal, and
l’Ensemble contemporain de Montréal. Originally from Regina,
Saskatchewan (Canada), Larson holds degrees from McGill University,
l’Université de Montréal and The Hartt School. At the 1997 Lionel
Tertis International Viola Competition in the United Kingdom he won
second prize and received the special award for his performance of the
commissioned work. He studied violin with Ernest Kassian, Elman Lowe,
Howard Leyton-Brown, and Mauricio Fuks, viola with Jutta Puchhammer
and Steve Tenenbom, and chamber music with members of the Emerson and
Orford String Quartets. He plays an exceptional 17-3/8 inch viola made
by Helmuth Keller in 1981.

Teaching Philosophy
“It has been an inspiring privilege to teach at The Hartt School for
more than twenty years and at the Wintergreen Summer Music Academy
since 2007. Being part of these two exceptional communities, working
alongside amazing colleagues, and getting the opportunity to teach
students at a wide range of experience levels has been thrilling and
has helped me to grow both as a musician and as a teacher. Whether
teaching Twinkle to an elementary-aged beginner with a parent at their
side, preparing a high-school senior for a college audition, or
working on late Beethoven with a graduate level quartet, teaching
demands first and foremost a focus on who is being taught. I must
continuously strive to understand each student, building relationships
that allow for interest, joy and passion to grow and for challenges to
be overcome. My approach must remain flexible, nurturing creativity
and confidence through respect and patience as well as by carefully
balancing lightheartedness and more intense focus. In addition to
trying to increase students’ understanding of technique, musicianship
and performance artistry, one of my main teaching goals is to help
students develop disciplined work habits and problem solving skills.
At all ages and levels, I seek to increase the students’ understanding
of how the different elements of their musical pursuits work
independently and collectively so that they can eventually guide their
own development.”
-Steve Larson


Websites and Additional Affiliations