I teach viola at the wonderful Fredonia State University. Fredonia is located in the Western part of New York State, 1 hour from Buffalo, 2 hours from Cleveland, and 2 and a half hours from Toronto.
Fredonia has a few claims to fame. In the Marx Brothers movie "Duck Soup", Groucho becomes the leader of small, bankrupt nation called Freedonia. The actual residents of Fredonia were none too pleased and protested the simillarity to their town name, fearing the movie would hurt the town's dignity. The Marx Bros. suggested that the town of Fredonia change their name to keep from hurting the movie! All is well now, and the movie is frequently shown at the historic Opera House in town. I think the current town residents are now tickled about the Marx Bros. connection, and can now point to the better known movie when folks from afar don't recognize our town name.
Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) also had connections to Fredonia, and would write here during the summer.
Sunsets on Lake Erie are very beautiful.
Winters are amazing (lots of snow)
...but Fall in Western NY is sublime
Fredonia State University offers many degree options for violists - in Music Performance, Music Education, Music Therapy, Composition, Sound Recording, and also a Bachelor of Arts Applied (weekly lessons + recital, so that music can remain a big part of your life while you explore other disciplines).
Violists are kept busy at Fredonia with lessons (1 hour for Music Ed and Performance, and 30 minutes for all others), weekly studio/masterclass, orchestra, chamber music, and weekly technique class (If you don't like Shradiek now, you will learn to!)
We love chamber music here, and create many opportunites for the students to grow. We recently had the Shanghai String Quartet here for a 4 day residency. It was beyond amazing. We were all floating 4 feet off the ground after their concert. Here's a picture of Honggang Li, the violist of the Shanghai, with the 2015 viola studio - just after giving us a wonderful masterclass.
Jutta Puchhammer-Sedillot, from the University of Montreal, gave us a workshop on sound colours - how to draw interesting and varied tones from the viola. It was amazing to see the beauty of sound emerge when the viola is bowed with a loving touch. Violas need love too it seems.