Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Christopher Luther

Meet Dr. Christopher Luther

Degrees and Experience
  • DMA, Viola Performance (University of Texas, Austin)
  • M.M., Violin Performance (University of Southern California)
  • B.M., Violin Performance and Jazz Studies (Denver University)
Biography and Professional Achievements

Violist, violinist, conductor, arranger, mentor, and devoted pedagogue, Dr. Christopher Luther has established himself as a uniquely gifted performer and teacher through his diverse musical background and uncanny ability to reach and inspire students.

One of few teachers who can fully teach and perform classical and non-classical styles at the highest level, Luther combines both worlds for exciting, innovative performance, and to revolutionize the process of music education. Recent performance examples include a free-improvisation performance for the Showcase Concert at the 2016 American Viola Society National Festival, and as the only performer of non-classical styles (a composition for solo viola based on Well, You Needn’t by Thelonious Monk) at the 2017 International Viola Congress, in addition to the performance of his classical arrangements.

In Los Angeles, Luther played in many soundtracks with on-screen performances, most notably in The Soloist. He collaborated with artists including Burt Bacharach, Stevie Wonder, Natalie Cole, Patti Austin, Ruben Studdard, James Moody, Jon Faddis, Nancy Wilson, Richard Green, Andrea Bocelli, and many others including a performance on the Jay Leno Show with Sarah Barrielles.

Luther elevates his students with a tailored teaching approach to all ages and all abilities. Certified for the entire Suzuki Violin Method from the Suzuki Association of the Americas, Luther understands the importance of structure and thoughtful sequencing of technique and repertoire. More recently, Luther has used his abilities as a teacher and pedagogue to teach string teaching/pedagogy classes, and string literature classes for the graduate and undergraduate levels. With his vast experience in alternative styles, improvisation, and theory, Luther can teach and stimulate his students in a more comprehensive, complete, and modern approach.

As a master class clinician, recent visits include Peabody Conservatory, Temple University, University of Delaware, Colorado State University, Louisiana State University, Texas State University, Texas Lutheran University, Southwestern University, University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Delaware, Ball State University, Montgomery College, University of Tampico Mexico, University Nevada Las Vegas, most universities in Taiwan, the American Viola Society National Festival, and the International Viola Congress.

Luther is in demand as an all-state conductor as he can teach, perform, and connect classical and folk traditions to all ensemble sizes and instruments. Recent all-state engagements include Colorado, Alaska, and Wyoming.

Summer activities include artist-faculty at the Montecito International Music Festival, and Pepperdine University’s summer music program in Heidelberg, Germany. He is the co-founder and co-director of Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp, now entering its 20th season.

As a violist, Luther’s primary instructors were Roger Myers and Donald McInnes. He completed his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Viola Performance from the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas with a recruitment scholarship and the string teaching assistant appointment. He received his master’s degree from the Thornton School of Music at USC in violin performance under the tutelage of Eudice Shapiro and Martin Chalifour, concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Luther began his performance career at the age of eight, fiddling at the Colorado Renaissance Festival. Since then, he has continued his diverse musical training with an undergraduate degree in violin performance and jazz studies from the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver under the tutelage of James Maurer.

In addition to being certified for the entire Suzuki Violin Method, Luther is also certified through the Suzuki Association of Americas for Viola Book 9.