Karen Ritscher’s passion for creativity through connection lights up her dual paths as musician and conscious movement teacher. As a concert violist, she has performed throughout the world with some of the most important musicians of our times. She was a member of the Aureus Piano Quartet and Steve Reich Musicians. She was Principal Violist of the Houston Grand Opera and the Dallas Opera. She has toured and recorded with such groups as the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Orpheus Chamber Ensemble, Azure Ensemble, Houston Symphony and the New York Philharmonic. Equally at home with popular as well as classical genres of music, she has appeared with a variety of artists from Leonard Bernstein and YoYo Ma to Michael Jackson and Sting.
A natural teacher, Karen has always found joy in sharing her learning with others. She began teaching the viola when she was nineteen and continues to teach today in New York City at the Manhattan School of Music and New York University, and in the summer at the Chautauqua Institution. She also is a frequent guest clinician at viola conferences throughout the world. Her students enjoy successful careers as soloists, quartet violists, professors and orchestral players.
As a champion of living composers, Ms. Ritscher has commissioned and/or premiered works from many composers including Bruce Adolphe, Alexandra DuBois, Wendy Mae Chambers, Linda Bouchard, Tan Dun, Chen Yi, Bright Sheng and Alice Shields. She has appeared at seven International Viola Congresses as featured soloist and presenter.
Karen was chosen by Gabrielle Roth to be in her last 5Rhythms® teacher training. Karen has danced the 5Rhythms® since the mid nineties and was fortunate to study extensively with both Gabrielle and her son Jonathan Horan. Today, she carries on Gabrielle’s dream of bringing the 5Rhythms® Movement Meditation Practice to underserved communities.
Often in her classes and workshops, she is able to combine her gifts as a sound healer through viola with her skills as a movement facilitator. She is often referred to as the “Viola Shaman,” since she opens up her students to what is possible and helps them manifest their dreams into reality.