"Rita Porfiris proved an ideal soloist, as much for her richness of tone and impeccable articulation as for the warmth and subtlety of her phrasing.."
American violist RITA PORFIRIS has performed in major concert halls and music festivals worldwide as a chamber musician, orchestral musician, and as a soloist.
Currently the Co-Principal Viola of the Iceland Symphony, she is on leave as Professor of Viola and Director of Chamber Music at The Hartt School. She is Co-Director of Music at the Point CounterPoint Chamber Festival in Vermont, and has also been on the faculties of New York University, the University of Houston Moores’ School of Music, Florida International University, and the Harlem School for the Arts in New York. She has given master classes, lectures and clinics across the U.S., United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Argentina, Brazil, Iceland, and the Dominican Republic.
Ms. Porfiris is a member of QuartetES and the Miller-Porfiris Duo. As a founding member of the Plymouth Quartet, she was in-residence at the Ojai Festival, Mainly Mozart, Point Counterpoint, and the Internationale Quartettakademie Prag-Wien-Budapest. She was the recipient of Austria’s prestigious Prix Mercure, a prize winner in the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition and the Primrose International Viola Competition, and a laureate of the Paolo Borciani International Quartet Competition.
In her 30 year-long career as an orchestral musician, 15 years of which were spent with the Houston Symphony, she worked under some of the most recognized conductors of the 20-21 Centuries, including Leonard Bernstein, Sergiu Celibidache, Kurt Masur, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Christoph Eschenbach. Equally at home in a.wide variety of genres, Rita has shared the stage with Burt Bacharach, Ray Charles, Bernadette Peters, Lyle Lovett, Rod Stewart, and Tony Bennett, to name a few.
Highlights of recent seasons include sold-out Bartok Concerto appearances at the historic Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Germany, and a performance of the rarely played Romantic Rhapsody for Violin, Viola and Orchestra by Arthur Benjamin as part of the Miller-Porfiris Duo. In May 2016, the Baltimore Sun declared "Rita Porfiris proved an ideal soloist, as much for her richness of tone and impeccable articulation as for the warmth and subtlety of her phrasing."
Rita’s transcriptions for the viola of both classical music staples and pop favorites have been enjoyed worldwide by audiences and performers. Gramophone Magazine called her transcription of Gliere’s Eight Pieces Op. 39, recorded on the Miller-Porfiris Duo’s second CD “Eight Pieces,” "satisfying" and "sung with beautiful warmth."
Ms. Porfiris received both her BM and MM in Viola Performance from The Juilliard School, studying with William Lincer. Other teachers and mentors included Paul Doktor, Norbert Brainin, and Harvey Shapiro.