Recognizing the Voices in your Instrument

Instructor: Donald Maurice
Duration: 6 x 60-min session
Course Schedule: Starting soon (Wednesdays, 1pm – 2pm SGT)

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This course for string players and teachers has a particular focus on the significance of string and fingering choices when in the formative stages of learning a new work or revising a familiar work. This careful consideration of fingering affects when you change position and when you change between strings and is based on treating the four strings as four distinct voices, each with its own pitch range. Sometimes we want to show the different character and colour of each string and sometimes we want to make them blend seamlessly as though they are all one voice. This course will explore these possibilities through a series of lecture style presentations and some practical hands-on-instrument workshops and masterclasses.

Having recently retired from Victoria University of Wellington and after 50 years of teaching, Donald Maurice is reflecting on the principles that have guided his pedagogical approach and the influences that have guided him since his student days. His teachers included Nannie Jamieson, and Max Rostal, both students of Carl Flesch, and Donald McInnes, a student of William Primrose, and in 1978 a summer course with William Primrose himself, at the Banff Centre in Canada.

Week 1: Introduction and Discussion
Week 2: Masterclasses (Intermediate)
Week 3: Case Study of Vocal Fingering in Bach
Week 4: Masterclasses (Advanced)
Week 5: Teaching voicing: strategies and recommendations
Week 6: Masterclasses

Donald Maurice recently retired as Professor of Music at Victoria University of Wellington. He has performed internationally for four decades as a solo violist and chamber musician and has given world premieres and New Zealand premieres of many works. He has presented at twenty International Viola Congresses and in 2014 he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM). He was awarded the Silver Alto Clef by the International Viola Society in 2001, was made an Honorary Life Member of the American Viola Society in 2007, and in 2009 he gave the William Primrose Memorial Concert in Provo, Utah. He has performed for New Zealand diplomatic missions in Washington DC, New York, Ottawa, Berlin, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Warsaw. Donald has books published on Béla Bartók and Alfred Hill. “Bartók’s Viola Concerto – The Remarkable Story of his Swansong” (Oxford) is recognized as an authoritative text. The award-winning CD of his live 2008 performance of Boris Pigovat’s “Holocaust Requiem” has received high acclaim in Europe and North America.

Donald Maurice’s performing career has been mainly as a soloist and chamber musician playing violin, viola and viola d’amore. In his early career he gained extensive experience as an orchestral player in the UK, USA and New Zealand. I have published two books, and released 19 CDs and three films. His website is at

Masterclasses and/or submitted videos

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