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WVU Strings

String Area

String Faculty

Mary Grace Johnson, Assistant Professor of Violin

Andrea Priester Houde, Associate Professor of Viola; String Area Coordinator 

Erin Ellis, Associate Professor of Cello

Andy Kohn, Professor of Bass

The String Area at West Virginia University is committed to each student reaching their fullest potential as musicians, professionals, and artists.  In addition to weekly lessons, we offer regular studio classes, all-string area seminars, guest artist masterclasses, chamber music coaching, and many other collaborative opportunities designed to develop musicianship, sustainable habits, and artistic creativity for a long-lived career in music.  Our students regularly participate in summer festivals, pedagogy training, and community engagement.  String ensemble offerings include orchestra, bluegrass band, chamber music, and cello ensemble.  

String Area Organizations and Events include:

Examples of Past Guest Artists: 

  • Ensembles: Aspen Trio, Time For Three, Jasper Quartet, Jack Quartet, Pacifica Quartet
  • Violin: Midori, Daniel Phillips, Ray Chen, Noah Bendix-Balgley
  • Viola: Paul Neubauer, Hsin-Yun Huang, Milena Pajaro-Van de Stadt, Victoria Chiang
  • Cello: Edward Aaron, Michael Mermagen, Anne Williams
  • Bass: Barry Green, John Schimek, Rob Nairn, Donovan Stokes, Patricia Weitzel

Summer Festivals Attended:

Brevard Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival, Castleman Quartet Program, AIMS in Graz, Renova Music Festival, National Music Festival, Orfeo Music Festival, Endless Mountain Music Festival, Green Mountain Music Festival, Ascent Music Festival

Alumni Accomplishments Include:

  • String teaching placements in WV, VA, PA, OH, TX, MS, MD, OK and internationally 
  • Orchestral positions/regular substitutes in professional orchestras in WV, PA, MD, AL, MS, FL, NY and beyond
  • Kennedy Center Community Fellowship
  • Director of Nashville Symphony’s Accelerando program 
  • Graduate placements with stipends and assistantships nation-wide
  • University Faculty Teaching Positions 
  • Interlochen Summer Arts Camp Teaching Fellows