Cynthia Phelps, viola
Cynthia Phelps enjoys a versatile career as an established chamber musician, solo artist, and Principal Viola, The Mr. and Mrs. Frederick P. Rose Chair, of the New York Philharmonic, a position to which she was appointed in 1992. Her concerto appearances with the Philharmonic have taken her to the major concert halls of North America and Europe, including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, the Kennedy Center, Vienna’s Musikverein, London’s Royal Festival Hall, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. She has also been engaged as soloist with orchestras such as the Minnesota Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Orquesta Sinfonica de Bilbao, and Hong Kong Philharmonic.
Sought after by many chamber music organizations, Ms. Phelps regularly appears in New York with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, in Boston with the Boston Chamber Music Society, and as guest artist at 92nd Street Y. She has performed with the Guarneri, American, Brentano, St. Lawrence, and Prague string quartets, as well as The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio. She has appeared in the summer festivals of Marlboro, La Jolla, Santa Fe, Seattle, Mostly Mozart, Bridgehampton, Steamboat Springs, Vail, and Music@Menlo, as well was in Europe in Schleswig-Holstein, Naples, and Cremona. She is also a founding member of the chamber group Les Amies, a flute-harp-viola group recently formed with Philharmonic Principal Harp Nancy Allen and flutist Carol Wincenc.
Ms. Phelps is a first-prize winner of both the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition and the Washington International String Competition, and is the recipient of the Pro Musicis International award. Under the auspices of this philanthropic organization, she has appeared as soloist in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Rome, and Paris, as well as in jails, hospitals, and drug rehab centers worldwide. Her most recent recording, Air, for flute, viola, and harp on Arabesque, was nominated for a Grammy Award. Her television and radio credits include Live from Lincoln Center on PBS; St. Paul Sunday Morning on NPR; Radio France; Italy’s RAI; and WGBH in Boston.
A native of Southern California and the fourth of five girls, all of whom are musicians, Ms. Phelps has served on the faculties at The Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, and the Music Academy of the West, of which she is an alumna and which is now a partner in the New York Philharmonic Global Academy. She is married to cellist Ronald Thomas, with whom she has three daughters, Lili, Christina, and Caitlin.