Viola Concerto, 2nd and 3rd movement

Viola Concerto, 2nd and 3rd movement

Bela Bartok

Isabel Charisius's masterclasses

English 39 min Viola

In this alto masterclass, Isabel Charisius and her student Flore Merlin work on playing free of tension, strategies for effective practicing, and more.

Produced by the Saline royale Academy in February 2021 at Arc-et-Senans.

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The masterclass

About this viola masterclass

In this masterclass, Professor Isabel Charisius helps student Gregor Bugar navigate Bartok’s challenging Viola Concerto. The pair work together to find a full sound that will project into the hall, even against such a large orchestral accompaniment. She encourages him to release tension throughout his body, particularly in his wrist, which will not only improve the volume of sound but also make difficult shifts easier and avoid too much bouncing in the bow. 

In addition, Charisius offers sage advice on how to practice difficult passages and proper posture so that they become second nature. Some strategies include mirror practice, practicing slowly with great mindfulness, and building confidence over time so that unnecessary stress does not occur during a performance. Overall, she advocates for control of bow, technique, and phrasing to create a convincing onstage presence.

What we learn in this viola masterclass

  1. Generating a full, rich sound that projects over an orchestra.

  2. Relaxing the wrist and releasing tension in the body.

  3. Controlling the bow to avoid too much bouncing.

  4. Strategies for practicing.

  5. Conveying musical ideas with confidence.

  • Student:Gregor Bugar
  • Instruments: Viola
  • Date:16 February 2021
  • Academy:Academy Feb. 14 - Feb. 21, 2021
Isabel Charisius

Isabel Charisius

Many times we are a bit uncertain in our sound only because we are not absolutely certain what we want to say.

Isabel Charisius

Sheet music

Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this viola masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Isabel Charisius’s feedback and comments.

Isabel Charisius

Isabel Charisius

The prize winners were selected by a jury comprising (Alban Berg Quartet), 1983 to mark the 50th anniversary of Banff Centre.

Isabel Charisius is one of the finest violists and chamber musicians of her generation. As a member of the legendary Alban Berg Quartet, soloist and solo violist with leading orchestras, Isabel has appeared regularly at the most prestigious venues in Europe, the Americas and Asia.


She enjoys working in projects with distinguished string quartets, various ensembles and many renowned soloists at international venues and is frequently invited as a jury member on top international competitions.


For many years, Isabel has been dedicated to the development of new generations of musicians. She is an internationally recognised teacher of viola and chamber music. Her prolific teaching activity at the Universities of Cologne and Lucerne as well as a wide range of masterclasses at some of the most prestigious institutions gave rise to a large community of alumni. Students of Isabel can be found among the winners of international competitions and many of them are members of the world’s finest ensembles and orchestras. Isabel Charisius plays the extraordinary viola «ABQ» by Laurentius Storioni (1780).

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