Ayn Balija

Associate Professor


Associate Professor of Viola at the University of Virginia, Ayn Balija leads a musically rich life through performance and instruction. Maintaining a studio and coaching chamber music, she serves as the Principal Violist of the Charlottesville Symphony at the University of the Virginia and violist of the Rivanna String Quartet.

As a professional violist, Dr. Balija performs solo, chamber, and orchestral works around the country. She soloed with the Charlottesville Symphony and Faculty Orchestra of the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts. While a member of the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra of Columbus, she performed Classical and commissioned works, recording two CDs under the Summit label. She regularly performs with the Richmond Symphony, Williamsburg Symphony, and Roanoke Symphony and add collaborates for chamber music with the Tennessee Governors School for the Arts and Yachats Music Festival. Dr. Balija was invited to tour with the Pittsburgh Symphony on their East Coast Tour including a performance at Carnegie Hall. As a supporter and performer of new music, she was part of a consortium for Fernghetti, by Libby Larsen, commissioned and premiered Jorge Variego’s Enviaolo for viola and piano as well as performed and recorded numerous orchestral premieres.

Connecting holistically with her students and colleagues is an integral part to Dr. Balija’s teaching philosophy. Her students have pursued advanced musical degrees at the University of Maryland, University of North Texas, Eastman School of Music and Barnard College. She served as the interim viola instructor at James Madison University. Dr. Balija created Violapalooza, an annual, all-viola day, featuring guest viola artists including Kim Kashkashian, George Taylor, and Paul Neubauer. In addition to giving masterclasses and recitals, Dr. Balija presented at the American String Teachers Association, American Viola Society’s Viola Festival, International Viola Society’s 44th Congress in Wellington, New Zealand and published on the American Viola Society’s Teacher’s Toolbox page. Dr. 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. Her principal mentors have been Peter Slowik, Jeffrey Irvine, and Karen Tuttle. When not studying music she can be found in her kitchen or garden.


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

Email: music@virginia.edu