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Violist Ayn Balija leads a musically rich life performing and teaching throughout the country.

She is currently the Associate Professor of Viola at the University of Virginia, Principal Violist of the Charlottesville Symphony at the University of Virginia, and violist of the Rivanna String Quartet. She has also been on faculty at James Madison University and Lorain County Community College. She presents masterclasses throughout the south-central region of the country. During the summer she is on faculty at the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts.

As an orchestral musician Ms. Balija has performed in such venues as Heinz Hall and Carnegie Hall with the Pittsburgh Symphony as well as performs with the Richmond Symphony, Williamsburg Symphonia, Charlottesville Opera, Victory Hall Opera, and the Roanoke Symphony. For twelve years she was also a tenured member of ProMusica Chamber Orchestra of Columbus helping to promote new music for chamber orchestra through commissions and recordings of new works under the Summit label. Ms. Balija has performed additional chamber works at Yachats Summer Music Festival (OR), North Carolina Chamber Music Festival (NC), and the Staunton Music Festival (VA).

As a soloist, Ms. Balija has performed recitals in New Zealand, Oregon, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Virginia focusing on promoting the versatility of the viola. She has also been invited to solo with the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts Orchestra and the Charlottesville Symphony.

A devoted pedagogue, Ms. Balija strives to promote a diverse learning experience. In 2014, Ms. Balija created Violapalooza, an annual, all-viola day, featuring viola ensembles, workshops, guest viola artists teaching and preforming for the education and enjoyment of violists of all ages.  Guests have included top violists Kim Kashkashian, Roger Tapping, Paul Neubauer, and George Taylor. In addition to maintaining a private studio, she teaches in the Charlottesville City and Albemarle County school districts through the Boyd Tinsley Foundation and the Symphony’s Preludes program coaching and mentoring young musicians.

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 at the 44th International Viola Congress in Wellington, NZ.

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, and Karen Tuttle.

When not performing, Ms. Balija enjoys spending time in nature and baking for all her colleagues in the orchestra.


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UVA Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176