Joan DerHovsepian


Joan DerHovsepian is the newly appointed Principal Viola of the Houston Symphony after winning the international audition held in May 2023. She first joined the viola section of the Houston Symphony in 1999, hired by Christoph Eschenbach, won the audition for Associate Principal Viola in the fall of 2010 during the tenure of Hans Graf, and now begins serving as Principal with Music Director Juraj Valčuha. Recent solo performances with the Houston Symphony include Mozart Sinfonia Concertante with Concertmaster Yoonshin Song in October 2022 and Bruch Double Concerto with Principal 2nd Violin MuChen Hsieh in March 2022. Joan was formerly Principal Viola of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and has appeared as guest principal viola with the Chicago and Cincinnati symphonies.

Joan is Artist Teacher of Viola at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, instructing students in viola orchestral repertoire and independent study. Students who have come through her course have gone on to win positions in the Cincinnati Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, Houston Symphony, Metropolitan Opera, Minnesota Orchestra, National Arts Center Orchestra, National Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Pittsburgh Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Washington National Opera, among others. She is regular guest faculty for the New World Symphony and has given masterclasses in the study of orchestral excerpts for viola students of the Juilliard School, the New England Conservatory and the University of Melbourne Conservatorium.

Recent festival and chamber music appearances include the Seattle Chamber Music Society, Mainly Mozart Festival, Grand Teton Music Festival, Mimir Chamber Music Festival (Ft. Worth TX and Melbourne Australia), Music in Context, Peninsula Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute and Lake Lure Chamber Music Festival.

She was the violist of the award winning Everest Quartet, top prize winners at the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. Joan was the second prize recipient of the Primrose International Viola Competition. She attended the Eastman School of Music studying with violist James Dunham, and the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg Germany, with violist Kim Kashkashian.

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