Stephanie Block is a first-year Viola Fellow at the New World Symphony. Praised by the Sarasota Observer as “exceptionally talented” and “a virtuosic performer,” she has performed as a soloist with several Chicago-area symphonies and gave the U.S. premiere of Alejandro Cardona’s Sweet Tijuana: Danzas Fronterizas for Viola and Orchestra with the New Juilliard Ensemble. Ms. Block was recently selected to participate in the inaugural Keston MAX London Symphony Orchestra Fellowship through the Music Academy of the West and performed with the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle.
Ms. Block has worked with several renowned chamber musicians, including Michael Tree, Shmuel Ashkenasi and Ralph Kirshbaum, as well as the Brentano, Borromeo and Miró quartets. She has worked under many renowned conductors including Gustavo Dudamel, Jaap van Zweden, Stéphane Denève, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Marin Alsop. She also has a passion for jazz music and performed with Wynton Marsalis at Dizzy’s Jazz Club: Coca-Cola in New York as part of Daniel Chmielinski’s group Four by Four.
Ms. Block is also an accomplished and passionate chamber musician. In addition to her Sarasota appearances, she performed in several chamber music concerts with the Taos School of Music as well as performances in Baltimore and New York. As a chamber musician, she has received numerous awards, including first place two consecutive years in the Rembrandt Chamber Players Chamber Music competition and the Gold Medal in the Junior Division of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. She has attended several chamber music summer festivals, including the Taos School of Music and Heifetz Institute’s Ashkenasi-Kirshbaum Chamber Music program. Ms. Block is also a faculty artist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chamber Music Workshop.
As an orchestral musician, Ms. Block has held several principal roles, including the Sarasota Music Festival and Music Academy of the West Festival Orchestra. She traveled to Helsinki and Stockholm as a member of the joint symphony of the Juilliard and Sibelius Academy orchestras under the direction of Esa-Pekka Salonen. She also performed frequently as a principal member of the Salomé Chamber Orchestra. In addition to her orchestral concerts at Juilliard, Stephanie has performed with the Æon Music Ensemble with whom she also soloed in a performance at Carnegie Weill Hall.
Born in Barrington, Illinois, Ms. Block began her initial studies with Deborah Inman and Desirée Ruhstrat. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School under Heidi Castleman, Hsin-Yun Huang, Misha Amory and Cynthia Phelps.
A survivor of the rare cancer Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis, Ms. Block is committed to using her art to promote awareness. Supported by the New World Symphony BLUE fund, she organized a chamber music concert at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center to fundraise for the Histiocytosis Association. She was also the headline speaker at the Miami Cancer Institute ‘Inspire You’ series.
Outside of music, Ms. Block is an accomplished runner and triathlete. She is an age group winner in the Girls’ Best Friend and Chicago Supersprint Triathlons and a top prizewinner in the Chicago Triathlon.