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On the Cover: Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps

Posted November 04, 2016

“Once I [got] a viola it was clear that it was an instrument that really spoke to me. I felt that I could draw a sound out that I really loved.” — Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps

Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps, November’s On the Cover musician, has an important job within the Orchestra. She not only draws out a velvety sound on all the big viola solos in the symphonic repertoire, she also elicits a unified sound from the viola section. To do that, she works behind the scenes — deciding on bowings, liaising with the conductor — and leads the section to keep everyone together rhythmically and stylistically in real time. Watch her Q&A video above for more!

This month Cynthia Phelps steps out of her Principal seat and into the hot seat — the soloist position. She’ll perform the New York Premiere of Julia Adolphe’s Unearth, Release, conducted by future Music Director Jaap van Zweden, November 17–19.

Join the conversation: Cynthia will take over the Philharmonic’s Instagram Wednesday, November 16, for the first rehearsal of Julia Adolphe’s new viola concerto. On Tuesday, November 22, we will post Cynthia’s curated playlist to sing along to on your holiday travels. And lastly, on Tuesday, November 29, Cynthia answers your questions on Facebook.

Next month we feature Philharmonic trumpet player Ethan Bensdorf, just in time for the beloved annual Holiday Brass concert!

Learn more about Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps.