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 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.