Robert Ashworth is Principal viola for the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.
He has been guest-principal viola for the Sydney Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, as well as assistant-principal for the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. He is violist with the Jade String Quartet in Auckland, and also plays with the Australian World Orchestra.
Robert has appeared as soloist and chamber musician throughout New Zealand, recorded for Atoll and Rattle labels, as well as many performances recorded for Radio New Zealand.
Robert is a twice recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts Award for Emerging Artists and has performed with various groups at international chamber music festivals in Europe, North America, and Japan. He has had the honour to study with violists Thomas Riebl and Veronika Hagen at the Universitaet Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria and with Gerald Stanick at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.
Robert plays a 1995 John Newton “cut-away” viola.
As a soloist, he has performed with leading orchestras in Vancouver, Montreal, New York, Boston and Catania (Sicily), with conductors including Joseph Silverstein, Gil Rose, Victor Feldbrill and Daisuke Soga. As a chamber musician, he has performed at the Banff, Orford, Domaine Forget, Tanglewood, Aspen, Music@Menlo and Prussia Cove festivals, and has appeared in concert with Midori and members of the Emerson String Quartet. Contemporary music has played a large role in Mr. Beer’s musical life, and he has worked closely with some of the leading composers of our time on their solo and chamber works , including Pierre Boulez, Mario Davidovsky, György Kurtág and Steve Reich.
Mr. Beer was the grand prize winner of concerto competitions at the New England Conservatory of Music and Stony Brook University, and is a laureate of the Monte Carlo “Violin Masters” international competition in Monaco, and the “Dr. Luis Sigall” competition in Chile. Humanitarian and outreach concerts have also played an important role in Mr. Beer’s musical output, and through such endeavours he was awarded a U.S. Congressional Commendation in 2006.
Also an accomplished composer and arranger, Mr. Beer has completed numerous works for solo, duo, chamber and orchestral ensemble. He has had four pieces published on the Lighthouse label: Introduction and March (2013, for symphony orchestra), Chanson Cramoisie (2012, for violin and piano) and arrangements of two complete Dvorak String Quartets for symphony orchestra (Op. 51 in E-flat major, 2011, and Op. 105 in A-flat major, 2013).
Born in Vancouver in 1982, Mr. Beer commenced his studies on violin at the age of five, and his principal teachers were Lawrie Hill, Gwen Thompson, Gerald Stanick, Ani Kavafian and Donald Weilerstein. He holds a BA magna cum laude from Stony Brook University, as well as an MM and GD from the New England Conservatory of Music. He served as a performing and teaching fellow at Carnegie Hall and the Juilliard School from 2007-2008, and from 2008 – 2013 he performed as he performed as an assistant principal of 2nd violins in the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, an ensemble that has won numerous Grammy, Juno and Gramophone awards and is considered Canada’s leading orchestra.
Andrew performs on a J.B. Vuillaume violin from 1845, and a J.J. Martin bow from 1880.