Ethan Filner

Sessional Teaching Staff: Violist


Ethan Filner

Biographical Note

Violist of the San Francisco-based Cypress String Quartet (CSQ) from 2001 through to the group’s disbanding in June 2016, Ethan Filner has performed extensively in concert and on the radio throughout the U.S. and Europe; recorded nearly 20 albums including the complete String Quartets of Beethoven, the Schubert C Major Quintet with cellist Gary Hoffman, and the two Brahms String Sextets with Barry Shiffman and Zuill Bailey for Avie Records; commissioned or premiered nearly 40 new works; and presented hundreds of educational outreach programs reaching more than 150,000 students of all ages in the U.S. and Germany. From 2003-2009 the CSQ constituted the core string faculty as Quartet-in-Residence at San Jose State University.

Ethan has collaborated with a variety of today’s great chamber musicians including Zuill Bailey, Barry Shiffman, James Dunham, and Gary Hoffman, the Penderecki and Alexander String Quartets, and the Gryphon Trio; and has worked closely with renowned composers including Philippe Hersant, Jennifer Higdon, Benjamin Lees, Kevin Puts, Elena Ruehr, and George Tsontakis. He has been featured in numerous music festivals and workshops including Sitka, Aspen, IMS-Prussia Cove, the “Festival des Forets” in France, the 2014 Primrose International Viola Competition & Festival in Los Angeles, and several Chamber Musicians of Northern California workshops.

Mr. Filner led the Northern California Viola Society as its President from 2008-2013; worked as Associate Director of the Sequoia Chamber Music Workshop from 2010-13; and coordinated the String Chamber Music Program for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Pre-College Division during the 2015-16 school year. He has also served on string competition adjudication panels for the Irving M. Klein International String Competition, the Glenn Gould Chamber Music Competition in Toronto, the Mondavi Center Young Artists Competition, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Concerto Competition.

Ethan’s primary studies were at Indiana University-Bloomington with Atar Arad (viola) and Rostislav Dubinsky (chamber music); at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, England with Roger Chase (viola) and members of the Takacs and Endellion String Quartets (chamber music); and with James Dunham at New England Conservatory in Boston.

Mr. Filner currently teaches viola at the University of Toronto and performs periodically as an extra with (so far) the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Canadian Opera Company, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. He plays a 1947 viola made by Vittorio Bellarosa in Naples, Italy.

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