Kim Kashkashian On What Makes The Viola A Uniquely Evolving Instrument

Mar 18, 2019

Grammy award-winning violist, Kim Kashkashian, didn't start off playing the viola, but she was always attracted to the warm, mellow sound and as soon as she could get her hands on the instrument, the rest was history. 

What makes a viola unique? Even among other violas, no two instruments sound alike. And because very little repertoire exists for the viola prior to the 20th century, Kashkashian is hungry for new music that understands and celebrates the alto voice of the symphony orchestra. She has worked directly with contemporary composers such as Gyorgy Kurtag, Krzysztof Penderecki, and John Harbison to have new works created. Many of these pieces have been recorded by ECM records, with which she has had a thirty year relationship.

Kim Kashkashian performs two times at Big Ears Festival 2019. First, as soloist on Friday March 22nd at 7:15pm at St. John's Episcopal and second, with her long-time collaborator, pianist Robert Levin, at the Tennessee Theatre on Saturday, March 23rd at 1:30pm. More information about the Big Ears Festival at