Professor of Viola, Illinois State University
IL ASTA Past-President
Violist Katherine Lewis enjoys a multi-faceted career as a teacher, and as a chamber, solo, and orchestral musician. Since 2006 she has taught courses on viola performance and technique, viola pedagogy, string pedagogy, and chamber music at Illinois State University where she is Associate Professor of Viola and Master Teacher for the ISU String Project. As a performer, she is a member of the ISU Faculty String Quartet and principal viola in the Peoria Symphony and Peoria Bach Festival Orchestras and gives numerous solo performances each year throughout the U.S. She is a past Artist-Faculty member at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival in Sewanee, Tennessee.
Dr. Lewis has served as Secretary of the Illinois chapter of the American String Teacher’s Association for the past two terms. During this time she has advocated for statewide programing and events to assist and support teachers in their first five years of service and students currently in BME programs. Additionally, she is faculty mentor of the Illinois State University ASTA Student Chapter, which has received the “Outstanding Student Chapter” award (2016), “Most Improved Student Chapter” award (2011), and two “Student Exemplary Service” awards (2015 and 2012) at the National ASTA Conference.
As a performer, Dr. Lewis has recently appeared as soloist with the Peoria Symphony, the Peoria Bach Festival Orchestra, and the ISU Symphony Orchestra. She premiered Libby Larsen’s viola duo “In Such a Night,” written for her and violist James Dunham for a performance at the 38th International Viola Congress. She has also recorded chamber music by composers Karim Al-Zand and John Allemeier for recordings on the Naxos Record Label. As an orchestral musician, her previous orchestral experience includes appointments in the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra in Houston, TX and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago as well as frequent work with the Houston and New World Symphonies.
Dr. Lewis is a recipient of several awards and grants for her teaching, research, and service including the ISU College of Fine Arts Outstanding Teaching Award, the ISU College of Fine Arts Research Initiative Award, and the ISU University Service Initiative Award. She has given recitals, presentations, and master classes at venues throughout the country. She has presented sessions at several conferences including the Primrose International Viola Festival, the International Double Reed Society Conference, the American String Teacher’s Association National Conference, the College Music Society Great Lakes Conference, and the Chicago Viola Festival. Recent recital and master class highlights include appearances at the University of Tennessee Viola Celebration, Indiana University, Oberlin Conservatory, Kansas State University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Lawrence University, Midwest Young Artists, and Valdosta State University.
Dr. Lewis earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where she was a Brown Foundation Scholar. She holds a Bachelor degree from Lawrence University and a Master’s degree from The Cleveland Institute of Music. Her principal teachers include Jeffrey Irvine, James Dunham, Karen Ritscher, and Matthew Michelic.
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