Karen Ritscher becomes the college's new associate professor of viola, and Webb Wiggins becomes associate professor of harpsichord in the historical-performance division. The positions were announced recently by David H. Stull, dean of the conservatory.
Ritscher, who earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees from the Eastman School of Music, is a member of the New York-based new-music ensemble Azure Ensemble and has been a member of the Aureus Piano Quartet. She has been principal violist for the Dallas Opera and Houston Grand Opera and assistant principal violist with the American Composers Orchestra, and has played for over 15 years with the Orchestra of St. Luke's and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
She has commissioned and premiered works by such composers as Bruce Adolphe, Linda Bouchard, Wendy Mae Chambers, Bright Sheng, Alice Shields, and Chen Yi; in addition, she is an advocate of early music.
Wiggins studied at Stetson University, the Eastman School, and the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam. He has been a faculty member of the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute since 1985. At Johns Hopkins University, he coordinated the early-music program and served as musical director for Baroque operas. He has also taught at Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and George Mason University.
He has performed with Apollo's Fire, Hesperus, Pomerium, the Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, Tempesta di Mare, and many other groups.