The Australian-born viola professor at University of Texas at Austin, Butler School of Music died of cancer


Roger Myers

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The Australian-US violist Roger Elgin Myers died of cancer on 25 February 2024. He was a concert violist and a pedagogue, holding the position of fellow of the Florence Thelma Hall Centennial Chair in Music and professor of viola at the University of Texas at Austin, Butler School of Music.

Myers was born in Sydney to parents Hal and Leone Myers (née Stredwick), the latter of which was an Australian concert pianist. He was educated at Sydney Grammar School and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. At the age of 12, he was engaged professionally to sing as a boy soprano with Opera Australia in three productions.

Myers performed with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Conservatorium Quartet, which was invited to become the international quartet in residence at Michigan State University. After relocating to the US, he studied under Donald McInnes at the University of Southern California gaining his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in viola performance.

His concert career saw him collaborate with numerous artists including Lynn Harrell, Jorja Fleezanis, Daniel Heifetz, Alex Klein, Mark O’Connor, Ronald Leonard and Martin Lovett. He performed with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, as principal violist with the Santa Fe Pro Musica and played with the New West Symphony Orchestra in Los Angeles as principal viola on tour with Andrea Bocelli.

His notable performances include being a featured soloist on the 100th birthday tribute concert to the violist William Primrose at the 32nd International Viola Congress in 2004, his Carnegie Hall debut in 2005, and numerous world premieres. These included Kevin Puts’s Piano Quintet in 2006 and Michael McLean’s Suite for Viola and Orchestra in 2008. In 2011, he performed the world premiere of a viola concerto by Peter Askim at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and in 2017, performed as soloist in the world premiere of the newly orchestrated version of Robert Schumann’s Märchenbilder by Michael McLean with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

His recording Fantasy and Farewell of works by Schumann, Shostakovich and McLean on the Delos label with the London Symphony Orchestra was released in 2013 and acclaimed by the American Record Guide as ’a masterpiece’. The disc was awarded ’Best of Show’ at the 2014 Global Music Awards and won two Gold Medals for Solo Instrumental Performance and Best Album.

Myers became Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London in 2014. He performed on a G.B Guadagnini ‘Mischakoff’ viola made in 1763.

Watch a short film about the Fantasy and Farewell recording sessions at London’s Abbey Road Studios below:

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