Ayn Balija, viola

Sunday, April 22 - 3:30 PM

The 2017-2018 University of Virginia Chamber Music Series concludes on Sunday, April 22 at 3:30 pm with the Ayn Balija, viola. Balija and pianist Shelby Sender will present dazzling selections that span the repertoire of the viola. These diverse selections, sure to delight any audience, will include Francisco Mignone’s Tres Valsas Brasileiras, Aaron Minsky’s Truckin’ Through the South, and Ernst Bloch’s Suite Hebraique. The duo will also unveil a world premiere for viola and piano written by composer Jorge Variego.

Violist Ayn Balija leads a musically rich life performing and teaching throughout the country. She joined the faculty of the University of Virginia in 2007 as Lecturer of Viola. Along with maintaining a studio, she also serves as the principal violist of the Charlottesville Symphony at the University of Virginia and is the violist of the Rivanna String Quartet. In 2015-16, Ms. Balija also served as the interim viola instructor at James Madison University and in 2004 as an adjunct professor at Lorain County Community College.

Ms. Balija performs solo, chamber, and orchestral works around the country. She has soloed with Max Rabinovitsj and the Charlottesville Symphony Orchestra in Mozart’s Symphonia Concertante in 2009 as well as the Milhaud Concerto for Viola with the Tennessee Governor’s School Faculty Orchestra in 2015. For 12 years, Ms. Balija was a section member of the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra of Columbus championing new works and recording under the Summit label. She regularly substitutes for the Richmond Symphony, Williamsburg Symphony, and Roanoke Symphony. In 2005, Ms. Balija was invited to tour with the Pittsburgh Symphony on their East Coast Tour including a performance at Carnegie Hall. An enthusiastic supporter of new music in chamber music, she was part of a consortium for Fernghetti, a new work by Libby Larsen for clarinet, piano, and viola, and performances of works such composers as Michael Daugherty, Kenji Bunch, Matthew Burtner, and Judith Shatin.

A devoted pedagogue, Ms. Balija teaches privately throughout the community. She has maintained a small private studio and taught as a Boyd Tinsley fellow, providing private instruction to musically gifted low-income students in the Charlottesville City School system. In 2014, Ms. Balija created Violapalooza, an annual, all-viola day, featuring guest viola artists teaching and performing. Guests have included Kim Kashkashian, George Taylor, and Amadi Azikiwe. She has also led masterclasses and given recitals at Virginia Commonwealth University, James Madison University, West Virginia University, and the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Ms. Balija has also presented at the American String Teachers Association and been published on the American Viola Society’s Teacher’s Toolbox page. In 2017 she presented a lecture recital entitled, “Duo Magic: Chamber Music in the Private Lesson” at the 44th International Viola Congress in Wellington, NZ.

Ms. Balija has performed and taught over the summer at Tennessee Governors School for the Arts (TN), Yachats Summer Music Festival (OR), North Carolina Chamber Music Festival (NC), Charlottesville Opera (VA), Staunton Music Festival (VA), Beyond the Notes (VA), and the Belvoir Camp for Girls (MA).

Ayn Balija holds a Bachelor of Music from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Masters of Music from The Cleveland Institute of Music and Doctorate of Musical Arts from James Madison University. She has studied with Peter Slowik, James Dunham, Jeffrey Irvine, Karen Tuttle, Victoria Chiang, and Amadi Azikiwe. Her principal mentors have been Peter Slowik, Jeffrey Irvine, and Karen Tuttle.

Shelby Sender received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance at the University of Maryland in 2014. She is active as both a solo and collaborative pianist. In March 2012, she performed in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall as a part of the Adamant School of Music’s 70th Anniversary Concert. Shelby was featured in a 2011 festival at Ithaca College commemorating the 200th anniversary of Franz Liszt’s birth, and she recently gave world premieres of works by Walter Gieseking at the American Musicological Society’s 2009 annual conference. She was the concert accompanist for the Washington Youth Choir from 2008-2009, and has appeared on multiple occasions with the Annapolis Chamber Players. Shelby can be heard on an upcoming Centaur recording of unpublished works by Walter Gieseking, playing both solo and chamber music.

As an alternate for a Fulbright Grant to Hungary, she studied during the 2010/2011 academic year under Kálmán Dráfi at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. In Hungary, she gave performances in Bartók Hall at the Institute for Musicology, and the Régi Zeneakadémia at the Franz Liszt Memorial House and Museum. In 2011, she was invited to perform at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the Universität der Kunste and as a part of the European Fulbright Conference.

Shelby received her Master of Music degree from the University of Maryland and her Bachelor of Music degree from Ithaca College. Until recently, she was the coordinator for the class piano program at the University of Maryland, where she also taught class piano and gave private lessons to piano minors. She currently maintains a private studio in Central Virginia. Recent teachers include Bradford Gowen, Read Gainsford, and Jennifer Hayghe.

Tickets for all concerts are $15 general admission, $13 for UVA Faculty and Staff, $8 for students, and are free for UVA students who reserve in advance and for those under 18. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Arts Box Office at 434.924.3376, or by visiting artsboxoffice.virginia.edu.

For additional information, please visit http://music.virginia.edu/uvacms.

Old Cabell Hall is located on the south end of UVA's historic lawn, directly opposite the Rotunda (map). Parking is available in the Central Grounds parking garage on Emmet Street, in the C1 parking lot off McCormick Road, and in the parking lots at the UVA Corner.

Please call the Music Department at 434.924.3052 for more information.
All events are subject to change.


Old Cabell Hall
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Event Type


McIntire Department of Music

Date / Time

Sunday, April 22, 2018
3:30 PM - 5:30 PM


University of Virginia Department of Music
More Info: