Violist Melia Watras returns to the Meany stage for a program of exciting new works, joined by Pacific Northwest Ballet concertmaster Michael Jinsoo Lim. Leading voices in performing and commissioning new music, Watras and Lim will present world premieres by cutting-edge composers Richard Karpen and Frances White, as well as new pieces written by the performers themselves. The musicians will be joined onstage by renowned Seattle-based theater director Sheila Daniels, who will lend her vocal talents to the performance.
Poems in American Sign Language for violin, viola and reader (2009)……….Michael Jinsoo Lim
Luminous Points for violin solo (2013)*………Melia Watras
Liquid Voices for violin and viola (2013)*……Melia Watras
As night falls (2012)*………….…… Francis White (music) James Pritchet (text)
Sonata for viola solo (2012)…………Melia Watras
Agitato Semplice Annsioso IV Bicinium (2014)* (2012)………Richard Karpen
Hailed by Gramophone as “an artist of commanding and poetic personality” and described as “staggeringly virtuosic” by The Strad, violist Melia Watras (meliawatras.com) has distinguished herself as one of her instrument’s leading voices. As a soloist, chamber musician and recording artist, Watras has championed the works of living composers throughout her career. She has commissioned, premiered and recorded numerous new compositions, while appearing at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, and Alice Tully Hall. Recent and upcoming highlights include the European premiere (aired live by the Danish Broadcasting Corporation) of Pulitzer Prize-winner Shulamit Ran’s Perfect Storm, a piece that was written for Watras, and collaborations with violists Atar Arad and Garth Knox.
The Seattle Times named her most recently released CD, Short Stories, a Critics’ Pick, and marveled at her “velocity that seems beyond the reach of human fingers.” Of her debut solo CD (Viola Solo), Strings remarked, “Watras is a young player in possession of stunning virtuosic talent and deserving of the growing acclaim,” and called her second release (Prestidigitation) “astounding and both challenging and addictive to listen to.” Watras is co-founder of the award- winning Corigliano Quartet. The group has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered and Performance Today and can be heard on over a dozen CDs. The ensemble’s Naxos label CD was named one of the Ten Best Classical Recordings of the Year by The New Yorker.
Watras studied with Atar Arad at Indiana University and served as a teaching assistant to the Juilliard String Quartet while at the Juilliard School. She is currently Associate Professor of Viola and chair of Strings at the University of Washington School of Music, where she was awarded the Donald E. Petersen Endowed Fellowship and the Royalty Research Fund. Watras has given viola and chamber music classes throughout the United States and abroad, at schools such as Indiana University, Cleveland Institute of Music, Strasbourg Conservatoire (France), and Chosun University (South Korea). She has twice returned to her alma mater, Indiana, to teach a s a guest professor.