Karen Ritscher, praised by the New York Times for her “superior musicianship”, is recognized internationally as a leading pedagogue and performer. Along with String Studies at NYU Steinhardt, she is on the viola faculty at both the Manhattan School of Music and the Oberlin Conservatory. As a master class clinician and recitalist, she has appeared throughout the United States as well as Canada, Mexico, Spain, Korea, Taiwan and China. Her summer residencies have included the Aspen Music Festival, the Heifetz International Institute of Music, Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, and Domaine-Forget. Since its inception in 2002, she has served on the faculty of the annual “Karen Tuttle Workshop.”
Ms. Ritscher performs and records with the Azure Ensemble, a new music chamber group based in NYC. She has been a member of the Aureus Piano Quartet, Steve Reich Musicians and St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble. She has served as Principal Violist of the American Composers Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Houston Grand Opera and the Dallas Opera. She has toured and recorded with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, St.Louis Symphony, New York Philharmonic and the Houston Symphony. As a concerto soloist, she has appeared with such orchestras as the Westchester Philharmonic, the Dallas Chamber Orchestra, the Colonial Symphony of New Jersey, the Texas Music Festival Orchestra and the Texas Chamber Symphony.
As a champion of living composers, Ms. Ritscher has commissioned and/or premiered works from many composers including Bruce Adolphe, Alexandra DuBois, Wendy Mae Chambers, Linda Bouchard, Tan Dun, Chen Yi, Bright Sheng and Alice Shields. She has appeared at five International Viola Congresses as featured soloist and presenter. She also recently recorded her first CD of the complete works for Viola and Piano by Ernest Bloch. Ms. Ritscher is honored to have been the string consultant for the award-winning book by Madeline Bruser, The Art of Practicing; a Guide to Making Music from the Heart. She is the Education Editor of the Journal of the American Viola Society and frequent contributor to string magazines.