BA, Harvard University
MM, The Juilliard School
Melinda Daetsch began playing the violin at the age of four at Ithaca Talent Education, where she also had the opportunity to play for Shinichi Suzuki and with his students from Japan. She discovered the viola at age 12 when her teachers started the Ithaca Chamber Music Summer Institute where she happily became "bilingual" with violin and viola and fell in love with chamber music in the process.
Daetsch holds a Master of Music degree in viola performance from The Juilliard School. While at Juilliard her quartet received acclaim from The New York Times for their performance of Arnold Schoenberg's seldom heard work Ode to Napoleon on the FOCUS! Festival of Contemporary Music. Daetsch has also studied chamber music with Felix Galamir, Paul Docktor, Raphael Hillyer, and Glen Dicterow. Her primary viola teachers were Karen Ritscher and Karen Tuttle. She also holds a BA with honors in comparative religion from Harvard University. During her four years at Harvard, she worked closely with composer and chamber music coach Leon Kirchner and taught 28 young Suzuki students in a program supported through the Massachusetts council of the Arts for low income families.
An avid performer, Daetsch has performed at numerous festivals such as the Yehudi Menuhin International Festival (Switz), Assisi Performing Arts (Italy), The Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada), the Rutger's SummerFest, the Strawberry Creek Festival (California), and the Luzerne Music Center (NY). She serves as the Principal violist for the Music at Penn's Woods Festival at Penn State University where she has also been the Penns Woods chamber music series coordinator and has been a frequent chamber music collaborator with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra at "Music from Gretna" and at the Luzerne Music Center where she was on the faculty for a decade. She has been guest violist with The Philadelphia Piano Quartet, the Claremont and Lions Gate Trios, and with the St. Petersburg, DePasquale, and Everest string quartets. In addition, Daetsch recently collaborated with members of the Louisville Orchestra at the annual New Music Festival, (University of Louisville, Ky.) celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Grawemeyer Award featuring the recently composed and rarely performed Sextet of Krzysztof Penderecki.
As guest artist at the 2015 National Flute Association conference, Daetsch performed in the Library of Congress chamber music discoveries concert, and she has also performed as guest artist in chamber music concerts at the International Society of Bassists convention and at the Double Reed national convention. She performs regularly with colleagues from The Hartt School on the faculty concert series, at the Simsbury Chamber Music Festival, and with colleagues from Ithaca College on the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra Chamber Music series. She has held titled chairs with the Pennsylvania Centre Chamber Orchestra and the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra (N.Y.), and has performed with the Riverside Symphony (N.Y.), Bern Sinfonietta and Orchestra Symphonique Neuchatelois (Switzerland), Syracuse Symphony, Charleston Symphony (S.C.), Key West Symphony (Fla.), and with the Hartford (Conn.) and Springfield (Mass.) Symphonies.
Prior to her position at The Hartt School, Daetsch was adjunct professor of violin and viola at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania and for many years served as the string director for the State College Suzuki Program and Central Pennsylvania Youth Chamber Orchestra. In addition to her college teaching, she currently teaches a full load of young violin and viola students in The Hartt School Community Division where she also coordinates the string chamber music program and Suzuki viola program.
Daetsch has a special interest in musical ambassadorship and since 1998 has led several successful European concert tours of young musicians from State College, Pa., and from The Hartt School. In 2002 she and her colleagues at the State College Suzuki Program organized a special concert at Ground Zero for the children of a New York City public school. She is very interested in developing fluency and musical literacy in her young students as well as discovering and encouraging untapped sources of creativity in students of all ages. Daetsch is passionate about teaching as well as performing and has served as a guest artist and clinician at string workshops and festivals both abroad and in the United States. In July 2016 she joined the faculty of the Music Academy International in Italy.
Daetsch is especially interested in using music as a tool to bring joy and to overcome difficulties in life and is very grateful to her mentors and to her parents for making it possible for her.
Every student is unique, having his or her own personal musical voice and creative instincts. I see it as my job to find the way for each student's unique artistic sensibility to awaken, thrive, and blossom. It is my hope and plan to chart a course which will foster in my students voracious hunger to learn, eagerness to embrace and not shy away from challenge, and most importantly a lifelong joyful habit of pursing the impossible yet worthy goal of perfection. Since we can only pursue this lofty goal by humbly acknowledging that we will never know it all and will always have something more to learn, I see music study as an important part of the journey towards becoming a mature and wise human being. For me, the study of music can (and should) be the process of becoming an admirable person of integrity.