Introducing Ethan Rouse

Ethan RouseWhat is your name?

Ethan Rouse

Where are you from?

Wichita Falls, Texas

How are you connected to the UNT Viola Studio?

I am currently a first year Masters student in viola performance. I also completed my Bachelor of Music degree in viola performance at UNT.

Did you choose the viola, or did the viola choose you?

Neither! The viola was actually chosen for me. When my older brother began the public school strings program he played the viola. My parents had purchased a viola, so that is the instrument my two sisters and I would play when the time came!

Tell us about your viola! Who made it? How did you come to play this instrument? Does it have a name?

I currently play a viola made by Guy Cole in 2002. I have played this instrument for the last five years, and two years ago I began playing with a bow made by Arthur Richard Bultitude of England.

Who is your favorite violist? (To listen to or as a mentor)

I have great admiration for Kim Kashkashian, but I also very much enjoy the work of Paul Neubauer and Lawrence Dutton, among others. I couldn’t possibly choose just one!

What is your favorite piece to play?

Usually whatever I am playing at the moment, but I have greatly enjoyed playing Rebecca Clarke’s “Passacaglia”, Kenji Bunch’s “Until Next Time”, and “Pictures at an Exhibition” to name a few.

If you could play any non-viola piece, what would it be and why?

My answer would probably change on a daily basis, but for now I will say “Variations sur un Noël” by Marcel Dupré. I have always loved the organ, and this piece does such a wonderful job of showcasing what the instrument can do. The finale is especially great.

Do you come from a musical family?

Not at all. My siblings were all involved in various musical activities while we grew up, but there aren’t any professional musicians in my immediate or extended family.

What are your career goals?

I hope to teach viola at the university level, but I would like to remain active as an orchestral and chamber musician as well.

If you could take a lesson from any person, alive or deceased, who would it be and why?

I couldn’t possibly pick just one person, but someone who is on my list is the pianist, Menahem Pressler. His undying passion for music and love of learning are very inspirational for me. I am also very envious of his great love of practicing!

Who has been the most influential musician in your life?

There have been so many influential musicians in my life, but one of my biggest and earliest influences is my longtime church choir director. Our relationship began when I was around six years old, and it continues to this day. From an early age, she instilled in me a love of music making and a desire for constant improvement which have followed me constantly. Her desire to share music of the highest quality with anyone and everyone who would (and would not) listen serves as a constant reminder to me of my duty as a musician.

Do you have any pre-concert rituals?

I like to warm up with slow scales to find my best sound and calm my mind and body. I also try to limit caffeine and sugar the day of a big performance.

Do you have any skills or hidden talents your fellow studio members wouldn’t know about?

I have performed as a vocalist for most of my life. This has mostly been in church choirs, but I have also sung in a couple of professional choirs, with whom I recorded two albums of medieval and contemporary choral music. I am also an avid photographer in my free time!

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