Kirsten Swanson

Applied Viola


The Classical Voice of North Carolina described violist Kirsten Swanson as a “stunning musician with flawless technique combined with that unique ‘viola’ sound that can melt your soul.”  Feeling equally at ease with “new” and “old” music, in an orchestra or solo, Dr. Swanson enjoys a diverse career that takes her all over the world.

As an orchestral musician, Dr. Swanson held the position of Assistant Principal viola with the Charlotte Symphony from 2005-2007. She has won positions in the Winston-Salem Symphony and Greensboro Symphonies, and is frequently invited to sit guest principal viola with the Amarillo Symphony in Amarillo, Texas.

An experienced chamber musician, Dr. Swanson has collaborated with such artists as Schlomo Mintz, Garth Knox, Jon Nakamatsu, and members of the the JACK, Pacifica, and Ciompi String Quartets. She is currently the violist of the Madison Park String Quartet, the quartet in residence at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Music has taken Kirsten across the United States, Europe, and South America as a guest violist in festivals in Holland, England, France, Italy, Austria, Spain, Peru, and Chile.  Nationally, she participated in the Garth Newel Chamber Festival, Kneisel Hall, and, as a New Horizons Fellow, the Aspen Music Festival in Aspen, Colorado.

She holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, the Longy School, and the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. Her teachers include John Graham, Roger Tapping, and Scott Rawls.

A committed teacher, Kirsten has studied Suzuki pedagogy with Joanne Martin, Betsy Stuen-Walker, James Hutchins, and Joanne Bath and holds a Graduate Certificate in Suzuki Pedagogy from East Carolina University. Currently, she is the adjunct viola professor at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and an acting section violist with the North Carolina Symphony.