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Chicago Symphony Orchestra Appoints New Principal Violist

Teng Li will start as the principal viola of the CSO, effective September 15, 2024


At the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), violist Teng Li succeeds Charles Pikler, who served as principal viola from 1986 until 2017, and Li-Kuo Chang, who held the assistant principal viola chair from 1988 until 2023, also served as acting principal viola from 2017 until his retirement in 2023.

Named the Paul Hindemith Principal Viola Chair in 2015, the position is endowed by an anonymous benefactor and named for the renowned 20th-century composer and violist.  Paul Hindemith had previously appeared as conductor and soloist with the CSO.

Li performed with the CSO as guest principal viola on multiple occasions and was offered the position in September 2023 by Riccardo Muti, the CSO’s Music Director Emeritus for Life.

She is currently principal viola of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a position she has held since 2018. Prior to that, she was principal viola for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for 14 seasons.

As an educator, Li has taught at the Colburn School, University of Toronto, Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and Montreal’s Conservatoire de Musique — and will join the faculty of Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts in the 2024/25 academic year.

Li was the top prize winner at the Johansen International Competition, Primrose International Viola Competition, Klein International String Competition and the ARD International Music Competition in Munich, Germany. She was also a winner of the Astral Artistic Services’ 2003 National Auditions.

Originally from Nanjing, China, she is graduate of the Central Conservatory in Beijing and the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Michael Tree, Joseph de Pasquale and Karen Tuttle.

As a founding member of the Rosamunde Quartet, together with violinists Noah Bendix-Balgley and Shanshan Yao and cellist Nathan Vickery, she has given performances and masterclasses throughout the United States and Canada.

She has performed at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall and the 92nd Street “Y” Chamber Music Society in New York, and collaborated closely with the Guarneri Quartet, joining the ensemble in concerts during the quartet’s final season in 2008/09.

upcoming events

july 2024

16julAll Day27Johann Sebastian Bach International Cello & Baroque Cello Competition(All Day) Thomaskirche Leipzig, Thomaskirchhof, Thomaskirchhof 18, 04109 Leipzig, GermanyEvent Type :competitions Event TagsBaroque Cello Competition,Cello Competition,Johann Sebastian Bach International Cello Competition

august 2024

19augAll Day24Tibor Varga International Junior Violin Competition(All Day) Ferme-Asile, Promenade des Pêcheurs 10 1950 Sion SuisseEvent Type :competitions Event Tagscompetition,Tibor Varga

22augAll Day01sepKloster Schöntal International Violin Competition(All Day) Schöntal Monastery, Klosterhof 6, 74214 Schöntal, GermanyEvent Type :competitions Event TagsKloster Schöntal International Violin Competition

26augAll Day30London Classic Violin Competition(All Day) Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 2BS, United KingdomEvent Type :competitions Event TagsClassic Violin Olympus International Competition,violin competition

30augAll Day01sepBanff International String Quartet Festival(All Day) The Banff Centre, 107 Tunnel Mountain Drive Box 1020 Banff T1L 1H5 Canada Event Type :Other Event TagsBanff International String Quartet Festival,string quartet


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