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About Elizabeth

Violist Elizabeth Upson Perez, originally from North Carolina, has appeared in concert halls throughout North and South America as an avid chamber musician and educator. 

She has shared the stage with many of today’s foremost artists including Ara Gregorian, Michael Kannen, Hye-Jin Kim, Xiao-Dong Wang, Nicholas Cords, Melissa Reardon, and Natasha Brofsky as part of the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival Next Generation Concert Series. As violist of the former Voce String Quartet, she was invited to perform and teach as Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Iowa String Quartet Residency Project, and frequently toured Iowa and Minnesota, performing in concert halls, opera houses, and in outreach concerts. Recently, she appeared as a guest artist on the Music Room Chamber Players Series in Halifax, NS, the Antigonish Performing Arts Series in Antigonish, NS and the Musique Royale series in Mahone Bay, NS. 

This season, she is releasing her debut album, The 18th Century Viola Sonata, on the Leaf Music label with pianists Peter Allen and Ria Kim. This recording will examine the first sonatas ever composed for the viola. Other 2022/23 season highlights include a second residency at the University of Iowa String Quartet Residency Program. 

Previously, Elizabeth was the violist for the Center for New Music Ensemble, where she premiered and recorded a number of new compositions, and worked with renowned composers including Augusta Reed Thomas, Irina Dubkova, David Gompper, and Caroline Shaw. During the 2017-2018 season, she was invited to perform as guest principal viola for the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra (PA) and Altoona Symphony Orchestra (PA) and was a frequent guest teacher at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Indiana, Pennsylvania.  

Equally experienced as a teacher and performer, her enthusiastic teaching style is well-known amongst her colleagues and has resulted in invitations to teach at the ECU Summer Chamber Music Institute (NC), the University of Iowa Chamber Music Program, and at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA. 

Elizabeth completed her Master of Music in Viola Performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where she was principal and co-principal viola of the University Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra. She received her Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from East Carolina University with doctoral studies at the University of Iowa, and did her pre-college studies at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Her principal teachers include Atar Arad, Ara Gregorian, Christine Rutledge, Melissa Reardon, and Kevin Lawrence.​

A fan of modern luthiers and bowmakers, she performs on a 2019 viola by Robert Clemens, and a bow by David Russell Young.

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