A dynamic and versatile artist with American and Irish citizenship, violist Sheila Browne has concertized in many of the world’s major halls as soloist, chamber musician, and as principal of several orchestras, including the Juilliard, Mainz, Freiburg, German-French, and Madrid’s Queen Sofia chamber orchestras; the Kiev Philharmonic; and the New World Symphony. She has performed extensively at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Schauspielhaus Berlin, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, London’s Royal Festival Hall, Buenos Aires’ Teatro Colon as well as the major halls of Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston, St. Louis, Paris, Mexico, Australia, China, and Hong Kong. Also an active recitalist, she has given concerts and outreach performances across North America, Europe and Australia.
The only viola solo finalist at Carnegie Hall in the 2004 Pro Musicis International Solo Awards, she also has been a member of the internationally prize-winning Arianna and Gotham string quartets. Ms. Browne collaborates with great artists such as James Buswell, Nicholas Chumachenko, Miriam Fried, Paul Katz, Gilbert Kalish, David Krakauer, Anton Kuerti, Ruth Laredo, Ransom Wilson, Richard Stolzman, and the Vermeer Quartet, and has recorded for Nonesuch with Audra MacDonald, recording with other famous singers such as Natalie Cole and Lisa Loeb. She was featured by Michael Tilson–Thomas while principal of the New World Symphony in the PBS documentary “Beethoven Alive!” The Gotham Quartet was featured on the cover of Chamber Music America’s magazine in an article titled “Quartets of the Future.”
Ms. Browne has worked closely with many living composers, including Krystof Penderecki at the Banff Centre for the Arts as part of a solo residency, and was featured on CBC radio. She has been heard on NPR and classical radio stations across South America, Canada and Europe and in Philadelphia, New York City, Albany, Buffalo, Chicago, Houston, St Louis, Seattle, North Carolina, California, Tennessee, and Vermont. Ms. Browne has appeared in the Banff, Donaueschingen, Evian, Great Lakes, Green Mountain, Killington, Jeunesses Musicales, Music Academy of the West, Port Townsend, Sun Valley, Tanglewood, and Texas Music festivals.
A proponent of new music, she has premiered many contemporary composers’ works, several of which have been recorded. These include Arthur Gottschalk’s Politically Correct (written for soprano and the Gotham Quartet) and Anthony Iannoccone’s Clarinet Quintet (for the Arianna Quartet, which also recently released a compact disc of the Brahms and Mozart Clarinet Quintets on the Urtext label). A Centaur CD of viola and cello duos featuring Ms. Browne receiving critical acclaim includes a duo written for her by fellow Juilliard alum Dan Coleman along with a previously unrecorded work by Witold Lutoslawski. Composer Kenneth Jacobs has written a major concerto for Ms. Browne titled Approaching Northern Darkness, which has been premiered in Australia; she has been invited to give the African premiere of the concerto at the International Viola Congress in South Africa this summer. This work has also been recorded with the Kiev Philharmonic and is due to come out this year on the ERM label.
A passionate and dedicated teacher, Ms. Browne was Karen Tuttle’s teaching assistant at The Juilliard School with a Naumburg scholarship for four years, and was awarded a German Academic Exchange Grant (DAAD) for studies with soloist Kim Kashkashian at the Freiburger Hochschule. She also was Karen Ritscher’s teaching assistant at Rice University’s Shepherd School while in Paul Katz’s quartet residency program. She has taught at the universities of Missouri and Tennessee before joining the faculty of the University of the North Carolina School of the Arts, and has also recently joined the faculty of New York University. Ms. Browne teaches at summer festivals such as California Summer Music, Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, and at the Euro Music Festival in Leipzig, Germany. Her most recent invitations to give master classes and/or recitals have been at Oberlin, Eastman, Queens and McGill universities. She serves on the executive board of the American Viola Society.