Skip Navigation

Steven Dann

Steven Dann
Steven Dann photo
  • Orchestral Repertoire, The Glenn Gould School



Steven Dann’s career covers the gamut of violistic possibilities. As principal viola of some of the world’s leading orchestras, a veteran of the string quartet and chamber music world, a soloist, recitalist, and dedicated teacher, he enjoys all of what his instrument and his abilities can put in his path.

Steven's foremost teacher and mentor was the late Lorand Fenyves. In addition, he studied with William Primrose, Robert Pikler, and Bruno Giuranna. Steven spent six summers studying the string quartet repertoire with Zoltan Szekely and members of the Hungarian String Quartet.

Upon graduation from university, Steven was named principal viola of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, a position he has subsequently held with the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, the Vancouver Symphony, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He has also been a guest principal of the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle, and, in both performance and recordings, with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Paavo Berglund, and Pierre Boulez.

Steven has collaborated as a soloist with such Maestros as Sir Andrew Davis, Rudolph Barshai, Jiri Belohlavek, Sir John Elliott Gardiner, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, and Vladimir Ashkenazy. Since 1990, Steven has been a member of the Smithsonian Chamber Players in Washington, DC, and was a founding member of the Axelrod String Quartet, who are resident at the Smithsonian Institute. Steven has been a featured performer on the Smithsonian’s series of recordings for the Sony Classical Vivarte label. Two of these recordings have won the Diapasson d’Or in France. Solo recordings include A Portrait of the Viola, Winter Music for viola and orchestra by Alexina Louie (which was written for Steven and nominated for a Juno award), and Mega4 Meta4 by Christos Hatzis, all for CBC records, and Sequenza VI by Luciano Berio for the Naxos label. A recording of the viola music of Brahms with pianist Lambert Orkis and mezzo-soprano Susan Platts for ATMA Classique was released in June 2006.

Recent performances include concerti of Peter Lieberson, Giya Kancheli, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Alexina Louie, Mark-Anthony Turnage (with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Oliver Knussen conducting), and a world premiere of a new concerto by Christos Hatzis. Steven has also performed with the Tokyo String Quartet in Toronto and New York and, as guest principal viola, Wagner’s Ring Cycle with the Canadian Opera Company for the opening of Toronto's new opera house. He has recorded two more CDs for ATMA and the second disc in a series of the complete piano chamber music of Brahms and Schumann with the Smithsonian Chamber Players. Steven has commissioned many new works from such composers as Alexina Louie, Peter Lieberson, R. Murray Schafer, Frederick Schipitsky, and Christos Hatzis.

As both a performer and teacher, Steven is a regular guest at many international festivals including the National Arts Centre’s Young Artist Program, Le Domaine Forget in Charlevois, Québec, and the Banff School of Fine Arts. He teaches viola and chamber music at The Royal Conservatory's Glenn Gould School and plays a viola of Joseph Gagliano, circa 1780.

You can email Professor Dann at: [email protected]