Dr. Jacob Tews is Assistant Professor of Strings and Orchestra at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. He has served previously as an educator at Wartburg College (Iowa), Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, and the University of Minnesota. He earned a DMA in viola performance, with a secondary emphasis in music theory, from the University of Minnesota.
As a soloist, he regularly performs recitals mixing standard and new repertoire. In March of 2020 he was joined by collaborative pianist Dr. Benjamin Corbin for the premiere of the first movement of Tews’s new sonata for viola and piano, a program that also included Ernest Bloch's Suite for Viola and Piano (1919) and Mozart's "Kegelstatt" trio. He also initiated a summer youtube series, dubbed "Solitary Soirées," for which he presents works primarily for solo viola, mostly by living or lesser-known composers, recorded in his living room.
Tews's present chamber music focus is on his contemporary music duo with violinist Erik Rohde, sonic apricity (sonicapricity.com); they regularly collaborate with living composers, and recently returned from a successful guest artist residency with the Alba Composition Program in Alba, Italy. Their recording of Elliott Miles McKinley’s String Quartet No. 8, written for the duo and their colleagues at Indiana State University, was released in 2019, and their debut album as a duo is slated for distribution in early 2022.
As a conductor, Tews currently leads the orchestra program at Christopher Newport University, conducting the CNU Orchestra in 4-6 concerts each year. Previously, he has served as Music Director of the Wartburg Community Symphony Orchestra, and as Assistant/Cover Conductor for the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Symphony and the Southern Illinois Music Festival. As a composer, he has had his works played around the world; his newest major orchestral work, a double concerto for violin, cello, and orchestra, was premiered by Kiril Laskarov, Eric Lenz, and the Southern Illinois Music Festival Orchestra in 2018.
When not teaching, rehearsing, performing, or composing music, Tews enjoys spending time outdoors with his family, just completed his fourth marathon with a personal-best time of 3:58:39, plays tennis well and golf poorly, and continues his pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee. He currently lives in Hampton, Virginia, with his wife, Leith, and their children.
My summer series of living room mini-concerts on youtube, Solitary Soireés, highlights mostly solo viola music, written primarily by living and lesser-known composers.
Click the link above to see the whole playlist,
or check out a sample here!
I perform regularly with my violin colleague, Dr. Erik Rohde, as the duo sonic apricity. Our work is focused primarily on pieces by living composers written for violin/viola duo.
Here's one that we commissioned and premiered, by American composer Christopher Walczak!