Theresa Rudolph

Assistant Principal Viola

Theresa Rudolph

Hometown:  Vancouver, British Columbia

Instrument(s):  Viola

Age you began playing: violin at 3; viola at 12

Year you joined the TSO: 2011

Who or what inspired you most to play your instrument? When I first started playing the viola, I fell in love with the rich, warm, dark sound and also with its role as an “inner voice” in chamber music and the orchestral repertoire. Something about the instrument just suited me better than the violin. Also, I was incredibly lucky to study the viola with Gerald Stanick in Vancouver, who was an amazing teacher and player.

Who or what continues to influence your playing? I find communicating through music to be intensely satisfying. I’m always looking for new ways to express what I want to say on the viola, and it is really exciting to me that I can always continue to grow and improve. I also love playing with my colleagues—working and performing with great players is a real rush.

Most memorable experience performing with the TSO: There are so many...it’s really hard to choose! A lot of them have to do with the fact that my father, John Rudolph, is Principal Percussion, and it’s just so cool to get to perform with him. For example, it’s awesome to hear him playing snare drum, acting as the rhythmic backbone of the Orchestra. He sounds fantastic and I always think, “That’s my dad!”

Does your instrument have a story? It is a beautiful Italian viola made in 1891 by Stefano Scarampella. Previously, I was playing on a more modern Italian viola that is on the larger side. It is a great instrument that served me well, but as I am not a very big person, I was specifically looking for a smaller, but still big-and-beautiful-sounding viola. I searched for 14 months before I found the Scarampella, and I am totally in love with it. I’m the first person to perform on it in decades—I guess we were waiting for each other!

What is interesting to you about working in an orchestra? The teamwork aspect of it – there is a lot going on “behind-the-scenes” that is sometimes only apparent to those involved. I also love that we all do such different things within the orchestra. For example, my role on the viola and the technique of playing a string instrument is totally different from what the oboes, or horns, or harp do. And yet we are all working toward a common goal.

Why are orchestras important? Great art is important, and some of the greatest music ever written was written for orchestra. There is nothing quite as powerful as witnessing a great orchestra perform live. I would be a completely different person without orchestral music in my life.

What do you enjoy doing most when you’re not on stage? Running, spending time with my husband and friends, going to concerts, traveling, eating good food, and even though it’s still “work”, I really enjoy practicing and teaching!

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Musician Biography

Award-winning violist Theresa Rudolph is an active chamber musician, recitalist, and orchestral player. She has been a member of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra since 2011, and is a member of the XIA Quartet . Theresa has performed on concert series in Toronto, Vancouver, Detroit, Ottawa, and throughout Eastern Canada, and has been featured several times on CBC Radio. In addition, she holds the position of Viola Coach of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, and has served on the faculty of York University.

Hailing from Vancouver, Theresa was a student of Gerald Stanick. A recipient of a scholarship grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, she then obtained her Bachelor of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying with Robert Vernon. As a member of the Brutini String Quartet, she attended the Isaac Stern Chamber Music Workshop in New York, performed in Carnegie Hall, and was a prizewinner at the prestigious Fischoff Competition. In March 2001, Theresa became the youngest member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra at the age of 21. She also held the position of Assistant Principal Viola of the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, and was a member of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, where she frequently performed as Principal Viola. Theresa has also performed with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra.

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