Vivek Kamath, Viola

The New York Philharmonic

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Biography
Vivek Kamath

Violist Vivek Kamath joined the New York Philharmonic in January 1998. Mr. Kamath earned his bachelor's degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying with Donald Weilerstein. He has appeared as soloist with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra. An avid chamber musician, he has performed at the Marlboro, Ravinia, Sarasota, Blossom, and Bowdoin festivals. In 1997 Mr. Kamath was a prize-winner in the Washington International String Competition and in the Irving Klein International String Competition. In his spare time he enjoys playing tennis, studying wildlife, and dining out.

“When I was about four, a little girl I knew played “Twinkle, Twinkle” on the violin. Immediately I wanted to play the violin, too. In college I played the violin and the viola, but I gave up the violin — I liked the viola sound better.”

Q&A with Vivek Kamath

THE FACTS: Born in Rochester, New York, of Indian parentage. Bachelor’s degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying violin with Donald Weilerstein; subsequent studies at The Juilliard School with Karen Tuttle. At the Philharmonic: Joined January 1998. Most recent recording: a demo with Sting.

EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY: When I was about four, a little girl I knew played Twinkle, Twinkle on the violin. I immediately wanted to play the violin too. I started at six. In college I played the violin and the viola, but at Juilliard I gave up the violin — I liked the viola sound better. It has a lot of warmth, richness, and depth. My most important musical influence was Mr. Weilerstein, my teacher in Cleveland.

WERE YOU INVOLVED IN ANY EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES IN HIGH SCHOOL? I was in the Model U.N., youth orchestras, and on the school tennis team and student council.

WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU WANTED TO BE A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN? When I was 15 or 16; I realized it was the most important thing to me. I was lucky that my parents were supportive. There are not that many Indians in the U.S. in Western classical music.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING A MUSICIAN? You’re always learning, seeing, and feeling different things in the music.

WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT ASPECT OF YOUR INSTRUMENT? Figuring out how to bring out the viola’s inner voice with life and creativity

WHAT KIND OF VIOLA DO YOU HAVE? I play a lovely viola made by J.B. Vuillaume in 1840, with a contemporary bow by New York’s own superstar bow maker Isaac Salchow.

HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR MUSIC-MAKING FRESH? I listen to a lot of music and go to concerts. I especially like recordings of pianists.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS WITH THE ORCHESTRA: Any time we play a Mahler symphony. I also remember Murray Perahia playing Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto, and I’ve enjoyed hearing Yefim Bronfman’s performances with the Orchestra over the years.

WHAT KINDS OF BOOKS DO YOU LIKE TO READ? Lately, political books and fiction

ARE THERE ANY MUSICIANS IN YOUR FAMILY? No, but my sister (now a doctor) played both violin and piano quite seriously when we were younger.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? Going to movies and nice restaurants, playing tennis and poker, studying martial arts, and spending time with close friends

As of May 2018

Upcoming 2018-2019 Performances
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Location: (Directions)
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Duration:

9

December, 2018 Sunday

Philharmonic Ensembles at Merkin Hall
More

3:00 PM Concert

Philharmonic Ensembles at Merkin Hall

Program To Include
Lotti Trio Sonata in A major
Uhl Kleines Konzert
Boccherini String Quintet, Op. 11, No. 5
Brahms String Quintet in G Major
Artists
Pascual Martínez Forteza Clarinet
Raphael Fusco Harpsichord
Quan Ge Violin
Frank Huang Violin
Vivek Kamath Viola
Mindy Kaufman Flute
Peter Kenote Viola
Sumire Kudo Cello
...

17

February, 2019 Sunday

Philharmonic Ensembles at Merkin Hall
More

3:00 PM Concert

Philharmonic Ensembles at Merkin Hall

Program To Include
Honegger Sonatine for Violin and Cello
Debussy Piano Trio
Fauré Piano Quartet in G minor
Artists
Eric Bartlett Cello
Quan Ge Violin
Benjamin Hochman Piano
Vivek Kamath Viola
Hélène Jeanney Piano
Kuan Cheng Lu Violin
Qiang Tu Cello
Ru-Pei Yeh Cello
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