Peter Kenote, Viola

The New York Philharmonic

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Peter Kenote

Peter Kenote was born in Seattle, Washington. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Washington, and his master’s and doctorate degrees in music performance from The Juilliard School. Since 1983 he has been a member of the New York Philharmonic viola section. In February 2008 he performed Berio’s Sequenza VI for solo viola at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater as part of the New York Philharmonic’s Day of Berio. In the 2009–10 season he played the premieres of a new viola concerto with the South Dakota Symphony written for him by composer Neal Harnly, and Moto Perpetuo, a new work for viola and percussion ensemble by Braxton Blake. He especially enjoys performing in concert with his daughters, soprano Rebekah and mezzo-soprano Ruth.

“The best thing about being a musician is having the honor and privilege of interpreting great works of art and enjoying them on a regular basis.”

Q&A with Peter Kenote
THE FACTS: Born in Seattle, Washington. Attended the University of Washington; master’s and doctorate degrees in music performance from The Juilliard School. At the Philharmonic: Joined in 1983. In 2001 released a CD entitled Concert Spirituel.

EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY: Listening to recordings of The Cleveland Orchestra, and hearing my grandmother play the organ in church. I began playing the violin at nine and started the viola in college. I intended to be a science/math major and tried the viola as a lark. I love the viola — the sound, the mellowness. Switching was a difficult choice but I ended up loving it.

WHAT KIND OF VIOLA DO YOU HAVE? It was made for me in 1977 by David Wiebe of Woodstock, New York; my bow is by Malcolm Taylor.

MOST INSPIRING COMPOSER: Bach. As Mahler said: “In Bach, all the seeds of music are found, as the world is contained in God.”

WHO WAS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCE OR MENTOR? My teacher at Juilliard, Lillian Fuchs, and my longtime friend, mentor, and accompanist, Paul Liljestrand

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN? I intended to pursue a teaching career, but joining the Philharmonic turned my head around 180 degrees. It was my first orchestra audition.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING A MUSICIAN? Having the honor and privilege of interpreting great works of art and enjoying them on a regular basis


HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR MUSIC-MAKING FRESH? When you subordinate yourself to the wishes of the composer, it never goes stale.


WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? Spend as much time as possible with my three adult daughters and with friends; exercise — running and tennis; and reading.
Upcoming 2019-2020 Performances

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November, 2019 Sunday

Philharmonic Ensembles at Merkin Hall

3:00 PM Concert

Philharmonic Ensembles at Merkin Hall

Program To Include
Mozart Oboe Quartet
Taffanel Wind Quintet
Tchaikovsky Piano Trio
Eric Bartlett Cello
Robert Botti Oboe
Pascual Martínez Forteza Clarinet
Quan Ge Violin
Eric Huebner Piano
Dasol Jeong Violin
Mindy Kaufman Flute
Peter Kenote Viola

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