Tatjana Mead Chamis
Artist Lecturer in Viola
BioViolist Tatjana Mead Chamis has distinguished her career with successes as a principal violist, chamber musician, soloist, Latin Grammy-nominated recording artist, teacher and lecturer, as well as advocating for underheard or suppressed music and experimenting with new music.
Principal Violist of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for the 2018-2020 seasons, Mead Chamis held the title of Associate Principal Viola of the PSO since 2002. Mead Chamis joined the orchestra in 1993, under the directorship of Lorin Maazel, while still a student of the Curtis Institute of Music, at age 22. She has since been featured on numerous performances as soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Pittsburgh Symphony Chamber Orchestra, often premiering or introducing pieces not yet heard in Pittsburgh, such as the Lionel Tertis transcription of Elgar's Cello Concerto, Boris Pigovat’s Requiem for the Holocaust, and Alan Shulman’s Theme and Variations.
In the fall of 2015, Mead Chamis formed a string quartet of fellow Pittsburgh Symphony members, Jennifer Orchard, Marta Krechkovsky, and Bronwyn Banerdt included, which would lead to what is now the Clarion Quartet, an ensemble dedicated to performing the many works of suppressed and forgotten composers. While on a European tour with the PSO in 2016, Mead Chamis organized a concert for the quartet at the original stage of the barracks in the former Terezienstadt, now known as Terezin, in the Czech Republic. One of the pieces performed, by Viktor Ullmann, was written during his imprisonment at the camp. With this quartet, Mead Chamis hopes to bring to light the composers and the music that have suffered the injustice of years if not complete suppression, by having their works played and making it easier for students at music schools to have access to them, so that they will also perform and teach these works. The Clarion Quartet’s debut album, Breaking the Silence, was released in February of 2018 on the TYE/Naxos label.
Mead Chamis performs chamber music and solo recitals in the U.S. and internationally, including various appearances at the Caramoor International Music Festival, Vail's Bravo Festival, Halcyon Chamber Music Festival, Swananoa Chamber Festival, Teton Music Festival, Tanglewood Music Center, Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute, and Phoenix Phest Chamber Music seminars in Colorado and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Apart from her solo performances with the PSO, she has appeared as soloist with the Curtis Institute of Music Orchestra, Utah Symphony, Porto Alegre and Sao Paulo Symphony orchestras in Brazil.
In the fall of 2016, she joined the music faculty of the Carnegie Mellon University, teaching orchestral repertoire.
American born, Mead Chamis began her musical studies on the violin at age 7 while living in Germany. It was in Salt Lake City, Utah, that she switched to the viola while studying with Mikhail Boguslavsky, co-founder of the Moscow Chamber Orchestra. She continued her studies at the Curtis Institute of Music with Joseph dePasquale, former principal viola of the Philadelphia Orchestra, graduating in 1994.
In 2012, Mead Chamis spent a sabbatical year in Florianopolis, Brazil, with her daughter, twin boys, and husband, Brazilian composer/conductor Flavio Chamis. While in Brazil, she played several solo and chamber music recitals, collaborating with Brazilian musicians, and took the opportunity to research and collect a substantial amount of viola works by Brazilian composers, which are now part of her present and future projects for U.S. audiences. A recent addition to this collection is a new viola sonata written for Mead Chamis by Brazilian pianist and composer André Mehmari. They premiered the work at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh in 2015, and in 2017, won a Grammy nomination for the work.