Steven Dann’s career has covered a wealth of violistic possibilities. As principal viola of some of the world’s leading orchestras, as a veteran of the string quartet and chamber music world, as soloist and recitalist and as a dedicated teacher.
Mr. Dann was born in Vancouver, Canada. His foremost teacher and mentor was the late Lorand Fenyves. Other influences include William Primrose, Robert Pikler, Bruno Giuranna and five summers spent studying the string quartet repertoire with Zoltan Szekely and members of the Hungarian String Quartet.
Upon graduation from university he was named Principal Viola of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Canada, 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 served as guest principal of the Luzern Festival Orchestra, 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 and the Canadian Opera Company in performances of Wagner’s Ring Cycle.
Steven Dann has collaborated as a soloist with such Maestri as Sir Andrew Davis, Rudolph Barshai, Jiri Belohlavek, Sir John Elliott Gardiner, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Vladimir Ashkenazy.
Since 1990 Mr. Dann has been a member of the Smithsonian Chamber Players in Washington D.C. and was a founding member of the Axelrod String Quartet. He is currently violist of both the Zebra Trio (with violinist Ernst Kovacic and cellist Anssi Karttunen) and Toronto’s twice Grammy-nominated ARC Ensemble.
Mr. Dann has recorded for Sony, Naxos, CBC Records, Marquis Classics, Centrediscs, RCA Red Seal, Ondine, Kairos, Chandos and ATMA Classique. The Stereo Record Review described his 2006 recording of the viola works of Brahms (ATMA CLASSIQUE) as “without doubt, one of the most beautiful viola recordings I have ever heard”. A second CD for ATMA of French repertoire was released in March of 2013.
Recent performances include solo works/concerti by Peter Lieberson, Giya Kancheli, W.A. Mozart, Alexina Louie, Christos Hatzis (world premiere), Mark- Anthony Turnage, Jonathan Harvey, Peter Oesterle (world premiere), William Walton and Morton Feldman. Mr. Dann has himself commissioned and premiered many new works from such composers as Alexina Louie, Peter Lieberson, R. Murray Shafer, Frederick Schipitsky, Walter Buczyinski, Christos Hatzis and Michael Oesterle.
As both a performer and teacher, Mr. Dann is a regular guest at many international festivals and arts schools. He teaches viola and chamber music at the Glenn Gould School in Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music and is the Coordinator of the chamber music program at the Domaine Forget in Quebec. Beginning in September of 2015 he will teach viola at McGill University as the Catherine Thornhill Steele Chair in Viola.
Mr. Dann plays a viola of Joseph Gagliano, circa 1780.