Vancouver-born violist Jethro Marks was appointed Principal viola of the National Arts Center Orchestra in Spring 2011. He has performed as soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, China, Mexico, Europe, and Canada, and is a frequent collaborator with many artists and ensembles. Jethro is first violist of the Zukerman ChamberPlayers, a string ensemble led by Pinchas Zukerman that has completed highly acclaimed tours of festivals in Canada, the U.S., Europe, China, South America and New Zealand. The ensemble released its fourth CD in 2008.
One of five brothers growing up in a musical family, Jethro first studied violin with his father, who played in the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. While attending Indiana University at Bloomington, he became intrigued by the rich, dark sound of the viola. He began to switch his focus and started studying with violist Atar Arad. Awards included first prize in the Kuttner Quartet Competition, first prize in the Concerto Competition, and receiving the prestigious Performers Certificate. In 1998, Jethro Marks was accepted into the Zukerman Program at the Manhattan School of Music as the only violist and he won first prize in the MSM Concerto Competition. Jethro first participated in the National Arts Centre’s Young Artists Program in 1999, returning the following summer. He returned to the NAC Summer Music Institute in 2000 and 2001 as a mentor and he made his CBC Radio debut in 2003 performing the Paganini 24th caprice on viola.
An avid chamber musician, Jethro has collaborated with some of the most illustrious artists and chamber groups of our day including Leon Fleisher, Lynn Harrell, Gary Hoffman, Jaime Laredo, Michael Tree, Itzhak Perlman, Yefim Bronfman, Emanual Ax, and the Orion Quartet, and has participated in festivals around the world including the Verbier Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Festival de musique de St. Barthelemy, Banff Festival of the Arts, Lanaudière Festival, Agassiz Festival, Ravinia Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Tanglewood Festival, Musica Mundi in Belgium, Schleswig-Holstein in Germany, and Mostly Mozart, as well as the 92nd St. Y, Jupiter and Lyric Chamber Music Societies in New York City. Jethro is frequently featured in chamber music concerts in the National Arts Centre MFASA series, as well as the Ottawa Chamber Music Festivals.
His solo debut with the National Arts Centre Orchestra was in 2004 playing Harold in Italy and in 2007 he premiered the Steven Gellman Viola Concerto with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra. In 2014 he performed the Malcolm Forsyth concerto with cellist Amanda Forsyth. He is a frequent collaborator with Ottawa pianist Mauro Bertoli, and play numerous recitals throughout Canada. He's joining the faculty of the University of Ottawa in Sept. 2015.
Jethro plays a Helmuth Keller viola and, in his free time, a Wilson Pro-Staff.