The Florida Viola Society was established as a State Chapter of the American Viola Society in October 2006 by Kenneth Martinson, the viola professor at the University of Florida. The Florida Viola Society serves to create a community among the professional, amateur, and student violists across the state, and regularly holds meetings that include activities such as master classes from nationally known viola performers and teachers, recitals and performances, and viola ensemble activities. Another goal of the Florida Viola Society is to help promote the viola as a viable instrument in the musical community for recognition through compositions and performances, as well as the general community as a whole.
Kenneth Martinson Presidentkenamartinson@yahoo.com
Kenneth Martinson is also currently serving as President of the International Viola Society. He has also founded Gems Music Publications, a company devoted to promoting rare and previously out of print or unpublished viola scores to help broaden the available viola repertoire. Mr. Martinson has held principal chairs in the Orlando, Toledo, Peoria, Lansing, Dubuque, and Santa Cruz Symphonies. Ken is a frequent recitalist and has performed intensely challenging programs such as the 4 solo sonatas of Paul Hindemith, and the complete sonatas of Darius Milhaud, also on his CD released by Centaur Records [CRC 2479]. He also has two other discs released by Centaur; viola chamber music of Rebecca Clarke [CRC 2847], and Bohuslav Martinů [CRC 2852]. His article "The Viola Music of Milhaud" was published by the American Viola Society Journal, vol. 15, no. 1. Ken has performed throughout the United States and Canada as well as Brazil, England, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Russia, South Africa, and Switzerland, and was a featured guest artist at the 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010 International Viola Congresses.
Kathie Aagaard Vice-Presidentkjaagaard@earthlink.net
Kathie Aagaard joined the Florida Orchestra as Assistant Principal Viola in 1982. She is also active with the Bayside String Quartet and plays fiddle with several local groups that perform at folk festivals and area contra dances. She is the viola instructor at USF and has an active private teaching studio in her home.
Carl Kerner Secretarymarinmarais1@aol.com
is a freelance violist in Central Florida. He is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy where he studied with David Holland, with additional studies at Louisiana State University with Jerzy Kosmala. Initially a double bassist, he was the youngest member of the Southwest Florida Symphony during the 1988-89 season, joining the bass section at 14 years old. As a violist, he is a former member of the Southwest Florida Symphony, Baton Rouge Symphony and Acadiana Symphony as well as having done substantial freelance work throughout the US. When not manning the post at his day job with the Walt Disney Company, Carl continues his freelance work in the Orlando area and tours Aai DEW
James Griffith Treasurerjimwgriffith@gmail.com
James Griffith, viola, received his M.M. degree from the Juilliard School. He also received his undergraduate degree from the Manhattan School of Music and attended Florida State University. He is a former member of the Hudson String Quartet in New York, faculty member of Point-Counterpoint Chamber Music Camp in Vermont and director of the New Arts Festival in Fort Myers. He formerly served as principal violist of the New York Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra and the New York Virtuosi. Griffith is co-founder of American Virtuosi. Raised in Southwest Florida, Griffith returned in 1988 to be a part of the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra.
Laura Brenner is a violist from Chicago. She now lives in sunny Lakeland, FL where she teaches viola at Florida Southern College. She has played in Chicago and all over Asia. She currently plays with the Sarasota Orchestra and the Brevard Symphony Orchestra, and anywhere that people need a viola!
Stephen Fine, a violist from Gainesville, has been teaching Musical Art for an unlucky thirteen years. He currently resides in New York City where he's working towards his D.M.A. A successful chamber musician, Mr. Fine has performed in the United States, Canada, China, Italy, and Finland; he practices every day on his beautiful fiddle by Emilio Celani.
Alison Heydt has been a member of The Florida Orchestra since 1992. She is a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory and the Cleveland Institute of Music. Alison teaches privately in St Petersburg, and is a member of the Executive Board of American Federation of Musicians local 427-721.
is the Professor of Viola at the University of Miami, Florida. McConnell is the founding violist in the Bergonzi String Quartet, the quartet, in residence at the University of Miami Frost School of Music in Coral Gables, Florida, the Pine Mountain Music Festival in Upper Peninsula Michigan, Music Mountain Chamber Music Festival in Connecticut, Rocky Mountain Music Conservatory in Colorado. She has also been a resident faculty performer at Sewanee Summer Music Center in Tennessee and Bowdoin Music Festival in Maine. She serves as Coordinator of String Chamber Music at the University of Miami. She is Founder and Director of The University of Miami String Academy, a preparatory department at the Frost School of Music. She received a Bachelor of Music degree from Northwestern University and an M.M. degree from the University of Texas at Austin, studying under such luminaries as Walter Trampler, Leonard Shure, George Neikrug, and Andor Toth. Ms. McConnell can be heard on the Orion, Fleur de son, Naxos, Living Artist, Audiofon, and Centaur labels.
Myron Rosenblum, a native New Yorker, studied viola with Walter Trampler, Lillian Fuchs and William Primrose and viola d'amore with Karl Stumpf. He founded the Viola Research Society, the predecessor of the American Viola Society and was its first president. He had a Fulbright Grant to study viola d'amore in Vienna and is the author of the article, "Viola d'amore" in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. He has free-lanced with many orchestras in New York City and more recently in St. Petersburg, Florida where he resides half the year. He has given lecture-recitals on the viola d'amore at the University of South Florida in Tampa, the University of Florida in Gainesville and Florida State University in Tallahassee. He has edited and had published music for viola, viola d'amore and chamber works including the Trio No. 1 for violin, viola and cello by Alessandro Rolla. He is also the co-founder and co-director of the Viola d'amore Society of America.
Pamela Ryan, violist, has performed as faculty artist for summer festivals at Aspen, Brevard, Yellow Barn, Schlern /Italy, Green Mountain, Idyllwild and Bowdoin. She was violist of the Bowling Green String Quartet and served as principal violist of the Southwest Florida Symphony. Ryan was elected to the National Board of the American Viola Society and was President of the Florida American String Teachers Association. By invitation, she gave the collegiate viola master class at the ASTA 2008 national conference, and presentations at the ASTA 2009 and 2010 national conferences. Ryan was winner of the FSU University Teaching Award for Excellence in Teaching.