Houston Symphony Appoints New Principal Violist
Joan DerHovsepian has assumed the role after winning the international audition in May 2023
Joan DerHovsepian first joined the Houston Symphony in 1999 — hired by Christoph Eschenbach — as one of its violists.
Since 2010, she has served as the Symphony’s associate principal viola during the tenure of conductor Hans Graf. In her new role as principal viola, she will perform with the ensemble’s current music director, Juraj Valčuha.
Her previous roles include principal viola of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, guest principal viola with the Chicago and Cincinnati symphonies, and playing with the Rochester Philharmonic for two seasons.
Recent solo performances with the Houston Symphony include Mozart Sinfonia Concertante with concertmaster Yoonshin Song and the Bruch Double Concerto with principal second violin MuChen Hsieh.
A graduate of the Eastman School of Music and the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg, DerHovsepian studied with James Dunham and Kim Kashkashian. Also the former violist of the award-winning Everest Quartet, her accolades include second prize in the Primrose International Viola Competition.
As an educator, DerHovsepian serves as an artist teacher of viola at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. Many of her students have won positions in major American and European symphonies and opera orchestras, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Washington National Opera.
Additionally, she is a regular guest faculty for the New World Symphony and has given viola orchestral excerpt masterclasses at the Juilliard School, New England Conservatory, and the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.
Her festival and chamber music appearances include the Seattle Chamber Music Society, Mainly Mozart Festival, Grand Teton Music Festival, Mimir Chamber Music Festival, Music in Context, Peninsula Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute, and Lake Lure Chamber Music Festival.