CarlaMaria Rodrigues has been principal viola of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra since 1996. She won her first audition at the age of 23 with the Minnesota Orchestra, where she was later appointed assistant principal viola. Serving as the Minnesota Orchestra’s acting principal viola in 1995, she was a featured soloist in R. Strauss’s Don Quixote with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and conductor David Zinman in a performance that was recorded live on Minnesota Public Radio. After moving to San Francisco, she became a frequent guest principal of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, where she was later appointed principal viola. She served in that role until she left the ensemble in 2004.
Chamber music activities have taken Ms. Rodrigues around the world with such artists as Yehudi Menuhin, Hephzibah Menuhin, Rudolf Serkin, and Pinchas Zukerman. She’s toured in Europe, South America, Israel, and Australia as a member of the Zukerman and Friends Ensemble, and she’s been an active participant at numerous festivals, including the Marlboro Music Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Gstaad Menuhin Festival, IMS Prussia Cove, Aldeburgh Festival, Savannah Music Festival, Sangat Chamber Music Festival, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival, and Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival.
In 2012, Ms. Rodrigues traveled to Italy to work on a recording project that featured chamber music works by Koechlin, and later that year she collaborated with Menahem Pressler, Daniel Hope, Lorenza Borrani, and the Emerson String Quartet at the Savannah Music Festival. The following year, she performed songs by Loeffler with mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter at the Savannah Music Festival, and later that summer she served as principal viola with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in Graz, Austria, under the direction of Nikolaus Harnoncourt. In 2014, she performed with Anthony Marwood and Richard Lester at the Peasmarsh Chamber Music Festival, and in November she was invited to present a recital and master class at the 42nd International Viola Congress in Porto, Portugal, where she performed with Ms. Borrani and Simon Crawford-Phillips as a member of The Borrani Trio. In 2015, Ms. Rodrigues was again invited to play principal viola with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, appearing on a tour of Italy under the direction of Sir András Schiff, and later that summer she performed at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and the Bristol Proms with Mr. Hope. In 2016, at the Savannah Music Festival, she performed Mozart’s String Quintet in C minor, K. 406, with the Danish String Quartet and Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante with Ms. Borrani and l’arte del mondo.
Ms. Rodrigues has become a much-sought-after teacher, and she’s been a regular guest instructor at the Jerusalem Music Centre, where she coaches aspiring young musicians from all over Israel, including from the Young Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, in chamber music and orchestral studies. From 2016 to 2018, she was an adjunct professor of viola at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, and during that time she was invited to be a guest faculty artist at the Aspen Music Festival and School. In 2018, Ms. Rodrigues began her association as a lecturer with EUphony, a cooperative project of chamber music and orchestral training in association with the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz and the Anton Bruckner Privatuniversität in Linz (both in Austria). This project was also in collaboration with the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), the Franz-Liszt-Academy of Music in Budapest (Hungary), the University of Zagreb Academy of Music (Croatia), the University of Arts in Belgrade (Serbia), the Sarajevo Music Academy (Bosnia and Herzegovina), and the Orchesterzentrum NRW (Germany). Her commitment to EUphony continued in 2019 with a tour of Austria, Belgrade, and Zagreb and subsequently included a Kammermusik project in Montepulciano hosted by the Orchesterzentrum NRW. In the summer of 2019, Ms. Rodrigues performed at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the Sounds of the Dolomites festival in the Italian Alps, and the Brahms a Milano project in Milan, and she taught in Florence.
A native of London, Ms. Rodrigues enrolled at The Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey, England, at the age of 10. She studied violin and viola, and her instrumental and chamber music teachers included Robert Masters, Peter and Margaret Norris, Hans Keller, Felix Andrievsky, David Takeno and Nadia Boulanger. From an early age, she appeared as both a soloist and chamber musician in London’s major concert halls, and she’s been heard on the BBC radio and television network and Performance Today on American Public Media.