Violist Ayn Balija leads a musically rich life performing and teaching throughout the country.
Maintaining a strong presence in her community, Ms. Balija is the Lecturer of Viola of the University of Virginia. She readily provides individualized instruction to her student’s, actively cultivates community engagement by bringing special guests, enthusiastically organizes events geared to the cultivation and networking of violists of any age, and professionally maintains a rigorous performing schedule. Her devotion and love for music can be seen in everything she does.
Blending her love of orchestral repertoire with student mentorship, Ms. Balija serves as the Principal Viola of the Charlottesville Symphony at the University of Virginia. This unique ensemble performs professional quality performances within a student and community member driven group. For 12 years Ms. Balija performed with the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, a premier Chamber Orchestra in Ohio known for its performance of commissioned new works and promotion of rising stars. As an active member of the group she recorded many new works on the Summit Label. She is often asked to sub with the Richmond Symphony, Williamsburg Symphonia and other local orchestras. In 2005 she was invited to go on tour with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on their East Coast Tour.
She is also a devoted chamber musician. At UVA she is the violist of the Rivanna String Quartet performing and coaching student groups each semester. Summers also bring opportunities for her to perform solo and chamber music repertoire. She is invited to the Yachats Summer Music Festival in Oregon inspiring audiences with a potpourri of string genres and compositions. As guest faculty for the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts in Murfreesboro, TN, Ms. Balija collaborates with her colleagues, performing chamber works for the students which provide them with the opportunities to experience live versions of masterworks.
To Ms. Balija, every educational opportunity is a chance to engage in the development of a well-rounded person. Her University and private studios philosophy centers on guiding students to engage in music with inquisitiveness and awareness. Last year, she and her students collaborated with the Kluge-Rhue Aboriginal Art Museum at the University of Virginia and TEDx to showcase the unique combination of the ancient didgeridoo and the modern string quartet. She promotes the knowledge and study of the viola through outside events such as VIOLAPALOOZA, cultivates commonwealth viola collaborations as the President of the Virginia Viola Society, and has presented at the American String Teachers Association National Conference. Being a dedicated teacher, Ms. Balija continues her teaching outside the University through the private instruction of middle and high school students and outreach performances at county schools such as Buford Middle School, Monticello High School and the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind. She is also invited to teach and give masterclasses at festivals and schools around the country.
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. Her principal mentors have been Peter Slowik, Jeffrey Irvine, Amadi Azikiwe, and Karen Tuttle.