Violin and Viola lessons in San Diego
Ethan Pernela
Violinist and Violist

Teaching all ages

Suzuki and Traditional Methods
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Ethan Pernela

Violin and Viola Instructor

                                               Ethan Pernela- Principal Viola - Verbier Festival Orchestra - Charles Dutoit conducting


A native of Oregon, Ethan Pernela joins the viola section of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra in spring, 2015. Ethan completed his Bachelor of Music, Master of Music and Graduate Diploma with honors at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he studied with James Dunham and Martha Katz.

After receiving a fellowship to the New World Symphony in 2007, Ethan won a viola position in the Honolulu Symphony under the baton of Andreas Delfs. Prior to his move to Honolulu, Ethan performed with the Saint Louis Symphony, Portland Symphony, World Symphony Orchestra of Korea, Aspen Festival Orchestra, Verbier Chamber Orchestra and the Verbier Festival Orchestra, where he served as principal violist. Ethan also performed in festivals including Yellow Barn, Taos School of Music, Kneisel Hall, Musicorda and the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Orchestral concert tours have taken Ethan to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore as well as much of Europe and the United States, working with conductors including Charles Dutoit, Zubin Mehta, Esa-Pekka Salonen, David Robertson, David Zinman, Manfred Honeck and Michael Tilson Thomas.

An active chamber musician, Ethan has been a member of Chamber Music Hawaii’s Galliard String Quartet as well as the Ebb and Flow Arts modern ensemble. He has collaborated with artists including Donald Weilerstein, Jon Kimura Parker, Chee-Yun, Joyce Yang, Natasha Brofsky and the Borromeo String Quartet. Ethan’s passion for chamber music comes from his work with Eric Rosenblith and Raphael Hillyer at New England Conservatory, where his quartet was accepted into the Honors Ensemble Program.

When not playing viola, Ethan enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife, cellist Joanna Morrison, and their three dogs, Mochi, Olu and Riley.

Music Teachers

Martha Strongin Katz was a founding member of the internationally acclaimed Cleveland Quartet, performing over 1,000 concerts, including appearances at the White House, on television’s Grammy Awards (the first classical musicians ever to appear on that show,) on NBC’s “Today” show, and in the major concert halls of Europe, North and South America, and Asia. The Cleveland Quartet, recording for RCA Red Seal, received six Grammy nominations and Best of the Year awards from Time and Stereo Review magazines. The Schubert “Trout” Quintet recorded on the Philips label with pianist Alfred Brendel became the all time best selling chamber recording in Japan. Other distinguished guest artists with whom she and the Cleveland Quartet performed and recorded during these years include Emanuel Ax, Itzhak Perlman, Richard Stoltzman, Pinchas Zukerman, Bernard Greenhouse and the Barry Tuckwell Wind Quintet.

A noted soloist, Professor Katz appearanced in the major cities of the United States and Europe include a Carnegie Hall performance of Berlioz’s “Harold in Italy”, the Bartok Concerto with Geneva’s L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and countless recital and concerto appearances. Ms. Strongin Katz studied violin with Raphael Bronstein and Ivan Galamian and viola with Lillian Fuchs and William Primrose. Winner of the 1969 Geneva International Viola Competition, she received at the same time the Max Reger Award.

Martha Katz is currently Professor of Viola and Chamber Music at the New England Conservatory and New York University. Previously, she was Professor of Viola at the Shepherd School of Music of Rice University (1996-2000) and taught for twenty years (1976-1996) at the Eastman School of Music. In addition to many summers spent performing and teaching at the Aspen Music Festival, she has also played and taught at The Banff Center for! The Arts, the Interlochen Arts Academy, Kneisel Hall in Bluehill Maine, the Marlboro Festival (and several Music from Marlboro tours), Musicorda, the Perlman Program, the Steans Institute for Young Artists at the Ravinia Festival, the Santa Fe Chamber Festival and the Yale Summer School of Chamber Music.

Ms. Strongin Katz has served on numerous international juries, the most recent being the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Naumberg Viola Competition.

Martha Strongin Katz plays a viola made by Lorenzo Storioni of Cremona in 1800.

James Dunham is an internationally known soloist, chamber musician and teacher. Formerly violist of the Grammy Award winning Cleveland Quartet, he has collaborated with such renowned artists as Emmanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Richard Goode, Lynne Harrell, Cho-Liang Lin, Sabine Meyer, Bernard Greenhouse and members of the American, Guarneri, Juilliard, Takacs and Tokyo Quartets. He has also worked with such composers as Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, Paul Chihara, John Corigliano, Osvaldo Golijov, Libby Larsen, Stephen Paulus, Mel Powell, Bernard Rands, Christopher Rouse, Gunther Schuller and Joan Tower. Ms. Larsen has written a sonata for Mr. Dunham (2001) which he premiered at the Aspen Music Festival in July 2001 and has recorded for an upcoming Naxos CD release.

Mr. Dunham is a frequent guest artist with groups such as Houston Friends of Music, Da Camera of Houston, Musicians from Marlboro, the Boston Chamber Music Society and the Borromeo, Cassatt, Cavani, Colorado, Fine Arts, Mendelssohn, Miami, Pacifica and Ying Quartets. In addition to his chamber music activities, Mr. Dunham has given concerto and recital performances throughout the U.S. and served as guest principal viola with the Boston Symphony under Seiji Ozawa and the Dallas Symphony under Andrew Litton in their home cities as well as at Carnegie Hall.

Currently Professor of Viola and Chamber Music at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, he directs their Advanced Quartet Studies Program. Mr. Dunham formerly taught at the New England Conservatory where he also Chaired the String Department. A devoted teacher, he frequently presents viola and chamber music master classes at leading schools and universities including Tokyo’s Toho School, Freiburg’s Hochschule für Musik, Beijing’s Central Conservatory, Boston and Northwestern Universities, USC, UCLA and the Royal Conservatory in Toronto.

Mr. Dunham was violist of the renowned Cleveland Quartet from 1987 through its final recordings and concerts in December 1995. The Quartet won the 1996 Grammy for “Best Chamber Music Performance” for their Telarc recording of John Corigliano’s String Quartet, written for their final tour. As a member of the Cleveland Quartet he also served as Professor of Viola at the prestigious Eastman School of Music. An Honors graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy, Mr. Dunham studied liberal arts at Carleton College before receiving his Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts degrees from California Institute of the Arts. While at Cal-Arts, he was a founding member of the Sequoia Quartet, winners of the 1978 Naumburg International Chamber Music Award, and in 1991 he received the Cal-Arts Music School’s first Distinguished Alumni Award.

Mr. Dunham is much sought after as a jurist for events such as the Fischoff, Coleman and William Primrose Competitions, and has also been a featured soloist at the International Viola Congress. His summer activities include teaching and performing at many festivals, including those of Marlboro, Domaine Forget, Aspen, Sarasota, Amelia Island (FL), Yale at Norfolk and Musicorda. He served as principal violist of the San Diego Mainly Mozart Festival for ten seasons, and is a regular participant in the Festival der Zukunft in Ernen, Switzerland. He is featured on an album of recent music for viola and winds on the Crystal Records label, and has recorded with the Sequoia Quartet for Nonesuch and Delos, and with the Cleveland Quartet exclusively for Telarc
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