Michael Tree

Visiting Artist-Faculty

Adjunct Professor

  • Program:
  • Division:
    Classical Performance and Composition
  • Instrument:


Acclaimed violist and teacher Michael Tree will join the faculty of the USC Thornton School of Music in fall 2014.

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A founding member of the Guarneri String Quartet, Tree has performed on virtually every concert series throughout the world and has recorded more than 80 chamber music works for the Columbia, RCA, Philips, Arabesque, Nonesuch, and Vanguard labels.

“We are thrilled to welcome Michael Tree to our Strings faculty,” said Robert Cutietta, Dean of the USC Thornton School of Music. “He will join two first-rate viola instructors in Karen Dreyfus and Che-Yen Chen. Both are former students of Michael, and the combined artistic excellence of the three is of the highest order.”

Tree received his first violin instruction from his father. He later studied with Efrem Zimbalist, Lea Luboshutz, and Veda Reynolds at the Curtis Institute. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1954 and has since appeared as both violinist and violist with many major orchestras. He has been awarded the New York City Seal of Recognition, and has participated in leading festivals, including Casals, Spoleto, Marlboro, Israel, Santa Fe, Tanglewood, and Aspen.

He is on the faculties of the Bard College Conservatory of Music, Curtis Institute, Juilliard, and Manhattan School of Music.

Tree’s appointment at USC Thornton begins in the 2014-2015 school year. In a multi-year commitment, he will work individually with a small studio of Thornton viola students.

Teaching Philosophy

“Someone once said, ‘Teaching is the art of assisting discovery.’ I think that is very true, and that puts the responsibility in our hands of not simply insisting that students do what the teacher says. My approach generally is to open up the various possibilities to students and teach them.” – Michael Tree