Violapalooza Performance

February 17, 2024 - 3:30pm
Old Cabell Hall

Violapalooza Performance 2024 

The University of Virginia Department of Music presents a Violapalooza Recital with featured guests Andrea Priester Houde, Molly Wilkens-Reed, Ayn Balija, and the 2024 Violapalooza Viola Ensemble on Saturday, February 17th, at 3:30pm in Old Cabell Hall. This program is funded through the UVA Shea Endowment and the Virginia Viola Society, and is free and open to the public.

Andrea Priester Houde

Andrea Priester Houde is a violist whose genuine love and dedication to her craft can be seen in performances around the world and in the unique environment of her teaching studio. Houde is Associate Professor of Viola at West Virginia University. She has given master classes around the world and has served on the faculty of the Interlochen Arts Camp, Orfeo Music Festival (Italy), Endless Mountain Music Festival, and the Master Players Festival. Her album, The American Viola, was released by Albany Records and features early to contemporary American works, including the historic world premiere of the first American viola composition. Specializing in viola pedagogy, Houde has given numerous clinics and presentations and hosts WVU Viola Days and Viola Bootcamps. She was a board member of the American Viola Society from 2016-2022. She has adjudicated both nationally and internationally, including serving as a first-round judge for the 2021 International Primrose Viola Competition. Houde lives in Morgantown, West Virginia, with her husband, Albert, and their four children.



Molly Willkens Reed, violist

Molly Wilkens-Reed is viola instructor at Virginia Tech and the director of the Virginia Tech String Project, as well as summer music faculty at Interlochen Arts Camp. Distinguished awards include the Outstanding String Project of the Year Award from the American String Teachers Association, the Favorite Faculty Award at Virginia Tech, the Memphis Woman Magazine’s Vision Award, and numerous grants for her string music education and pedagogy work. She is a member of the Epsilon Omicron Chapter of the Pi Kappa Lambda Society and serves as a board member of the National String Project Consortium and American Viola Society. Wilkens-Reed earned Bachelor of Music degrees in Music Education and Viola Performance from the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music at the University of Memphis, a Master of Music degree in Viola Performance with a concentration in String Pedagogy at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and is a certified Suzuki violin and viola teacher. Molly resides in Blacksburg, VA with her husband and their two young sons.




Ayn Balija

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 collaborates for chamber music with the Tennessee Governors School for the Arts, Staunton Music Festival, and Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival. A diverse performer, she performs regularly on period to modern instruments eager to explore the full range of the viola. She has helped commission and premiere chamber works by composers such as Libby Larsen, Judith Shatin, and Jorge Variego and recorded numerous new works for orchestra. She is a founding member of the Piedmont Duo which explores the sonic possibilities of the viola and marimba.


This concert is supported by the Eleanor Shea Music Trust & The Virginia Viola Society.

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 Rd, and in the parking lots at the UVA Corner.  Handicap parking is available in the small parking lot adjacent to Bryan Hall.

For more information please call the Department of Music at 434.924.3052 or write with any questions.

For more information about Violapalooza 2024 or the Violapalooza performance contact Ayn Balija, or go to

All programs are subject to change.


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