Nikray Kowsar • Violin/Viola Instructor
Praised by audiences and critics for his tone production, Violinist and Violist Nikray Kowsar made his solo debut in October 2004 with The Diba Chamber Orchestra in his hometown of Shiraz, Iran. He earned his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees with honors in Violin and Viola Performance from the Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory in Armenia (class of Alexander Kosemyan). In 2015, he moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to continue his studies with David Harding at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) on a full scholarship. He also attended the Artist Diploma program at The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory in Toronto in the studio of Steven Dann.
During his time in Armenia, he served as a member of the violin section of the National Youth Orchestra of Armenia, as well as the third viola chair of The National Opera & Ballet Orchestra of Armenia. In Pennsylvania, he collaborated with the Erie Philharmonic, Westmoreland Symphony, Butler County Symphony and Pittsburgh Civic Orchestras. In Toronto, he performed with the Ontario Philharmonic, Toronto Chamber Players, Scarborough Philharmonic and The Royal Conservatory Orchestra. His passion for chamber music led him to participate with the Schubert Ensemble in the 2017 Silberman Chamber Music Competition in Pittsburgh, in which they received the first prize. As an avid performer of early music repertoire, he has performed and recorded with the CMU Baroque and Chatham Baroque ensembles in Pittsburgh. He has also participated in masterclasses given by Ilya Kaler, Misha Amory, Itzhak Schotten, Kim Kashkashian, Zakhar Bron, Daishin Kashimoto, Massimo Quarta, Cyrus Forough, and such ensembles as the Juilliard, Ebene, Penderecki, Khachaturian, Tokyo, Komitas, St. Lawrence and Pacifica string quartets.
Trained in the Russian and Franco-Belgian schools of violin playing, Nikray’s teaching philosophy emphasizes a natural approach to the instrument to cultivate ergonomic and fluid movement in every student. Drawing on his training in The Alexander Technique, he provides mental and physical tools for employing the body at maximum efficiency. Nikray believes that this organic approach enables the student to cultivate a direct link to their own unique, musical voice. His teaching experience spans across such countries as Armenia, Iran, and Canada, where he worked with students of different ages and cultural backgrounds. As a result, he has developed a deeper understanding of the individual needs of his students, allowing him to tailor his approach through a combination of European exercises and elements of the Suzuki method.
Besides music, Nikray is an active Luthier and has attended Chicago School of Violin making and in Toronto has studied with John Newton. In his free time, he studies foreign languages and bicycles around the city.