Session 2.6: Cafe Viola: playing and pedagogy with viola ensemble
Session: Robert Harris brings his ANZ Viola Society Cafe Viola workshops to AUSTA National, not only to focus our attention on the viola but also to support our middle-voice violist friends in their alto clef endeavours. All attending are encouraged to bring their viola to share in a time-and-world-travel reading of repertoire for duos, trios, quartets and more violists, suitable for young violists (and their teachers), community violists (both amateur and professional). Bach to Bartok, Telemann to tangos, Australian composers too – styles both Classical and Crossover, original and arranged, historical and a hint of hysterical, whether for one-on-a-part chamber ensembles or massed violas. A pedagogical potential for teachers, a new sound and skill for some students and a potential performance pleasure for all players.
Recently tree-changed to the Hunter Valley, Robert Harris and his double-bassist wife Dorit Herskovits followed musical studies in Sydney, North America and Europe with a preference for a freelance career based in Sydney, Armidale, Brisbane, Melbourne, then again Sydney – and professional performances in over 30 countries. First meeting as Principals of the then Queensland Theatre Orchestra Rob and Dorit subsequently shared many years in Australian orchestras – ACO, AOBO/OA, SOV/OV, MSO, SSO, CSO and more. A past Principal Viola of ACO, earlier musical lives included the New England Ensemble based in Armidale and the Brisbane Festival Quartet. A founder member of AUSTA way back in 1975 Robert has taught at many tertiary music departments and independent schools in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. He has been a perennial contributor to International Viola Society and ANZ Viola Society projects – not least his very popular Cafe Viola ensemble workshops. Robert and Dorit continue playing, adjudicating and examining on a selective roster while directing The Galston Concerts and the affiliate Young Violists Performance Competition in 2022.