This summer I had the opportunity of spending two weeks living on the campus of UCSB and studying with Professor Callus. The two weeks were very intense with lessons basically every other day for about 2 hours at a time. I had recently returned from a summer in Europe traveling with my quartet learning and performing an extensive amount of the string quartet repertoire, so it was great to have such a full two weeks of viola. It is always an inspiring experience working with Professor Callus. I feel that it is rare to find such a phenomenal performer who is also such an exceptional teacher. We worked quite a bit on the sound I was creating with the instrument. She helped me take the small variety of tone colors and expressions I created on the viola and turned it into a much larger pallet of colors and ideas. We talked in length about “not just playing the notes,” and she really inspired me to expand the meaning behind the music that I play. She worked with me on some technical issues such as releasing the weight in my bow arm to get a bigger and more consistent sound. We did things like hanging from a doorway or going outside and throwing a ball in order to get the feeling in a way that I understood it. I feel that every time I have the chance to work with Professor Callus my playing is taken to yet another level and I come away more focused and inspired. As said in String Magazine she is definitely “one of the best friends the viola world has” and one of the most challenging and inspiring teachers I have ever worked with.
David Moss is currently a sophomore at The Oberlin Conservatory in the viola studio of Peter Slowik. He began playing the violin at the age of two years with Stan Smith in the Aurora Suzuki Violin Program in Illinois. He was formally introduced to the viola by Mimi Zweig while studying at the Indiana University String Academy. Upon returning home to the violin studio of Drew Lecher, he began to focus his musical studies on the viola. David studied intensely with Roland Vamos at Northwestern University before beginning at The Oberlin Conservatory. Outside of Oberlin he continues his viola studies with Helen Callus in Santa Barbara, California. Moss has won honors in the Walgreen’s Young Artists Competition as well as being a finalist in the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. He has been heard across Chicago on WFMT’s live radio broadcasts. As a member of the Midwest Young Artist youth orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Allan Dennis, he has performed in Austria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. David has also recently performed chamber music concerts with the Fiano String Quartet in Germany and Italy.