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Peter Minkler Violist

Peter Minkler is heralded by the Baltimore Sun as an inspiring artist who “makes the viola sing.…”  Having firmly secured his reputation as a musician of rare communicative warmth and possessing eloquent depth of expression, he was awarded Baltimore’s prestigious Mary Sawyers Baker Prize, and is a two-time recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in Classical Music Solo Performance.  Minkler began his undergraduate studies with Robert Vernon at the Cleveland Institute of Music and earned his Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music, where he was a student of Francis Tursi. Intensive master classes with mentor William Primrose offered additional guidance, enduring wisdom and inspiration.  A longtime member of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, he also holds the position of Principal Viola of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society Orchestra. Prior to his arrival in Baltimore, he served as Associate Principal Viola with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.


He has appeared as soloist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, as well as with the Reading Symphony Orchestra, Prince George’s Philharmonic, the Orchestra of St. Johns, Ars Nova Chamber Orchestra, The Columbia Orchestra, Baltimore Choral Arts Society and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.  As soloist, he has worked with such distinguished conductors as Andrew Constantine, Tom Hall, Marvin Hamlisch, Raymond Harvey and Daniel Hege.  


An avid and versatile musician, Minkler is highly sought both locally and nationally as soloist, recitalist and chamber musician.  Recently, he has presented the world and US premieres of solo and chamber works by Jeremy Gill, Jonathan Leshnoff and Boris Pigovat. 


Dark Bells by Jonathan Leshnoff, a major new work for viola, chorus and orchestra, was commissioned by Mr. Minkler in partnership with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra.  Based upon the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe, this oratorio received its world premiere in May 2014 with Music Director Andrew Constantine and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra, Chorus and IPFW University Singers.  


Mr. Minkler has released two solo CDs on the Centaur Records label, both garnering exceptional reviews.  The first, Viola Seul: Works for unaccompanied viola, is a compilation of seven works that showcase the extraordinary qualities of the oft-maligned viola and was praised by allmusic:  “Minkler’s playing is…thoroughly musical, insightful, witty, and highly nuanced…this album is likely to please anyone interested in solo string works or just solid, unpretentious, musical artistry.”  Inner Voice, his second project recorded in collaboration with pianist, Lura Johnson, features four major twentieth century compositions by Britten, Rochberg, Pärt and Shostakovich.  This CD has also received high praise from critics: Carlos María Solare of The Strad writes, “Britten’s Lachrymae…is given an unusually well-structured performance that goes beyond superficial tonal beauties to reveal the score’s constitutive elements.  While listening I felt that this is how William Primrose – the piece’s dedicatee – might have played it….” It was this recording of Arvo Pärt’s spiegel im spiegel that was used in multiple trailers for the Academy Award winning film, Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.  This as well as other critical acclaim continues to affirm his artistry and command of the instrument.

As John Peter Thompson of the Prince Georgian writes, “If you get a chance to hear Mr. Minkler perform, you need to grab it.”