Kevin Nordstrom, D.M.A.

School of Fine and Performing Arts
Adjunct Faculty
Creative Arts Center 210L, 3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy, Dayton, OH 45435-0001

Kevin Nordstrom, D.M.A.

Adjunct Instructor, Applied viola
Faculty String Quartet, Viola

210L CAC

Dr. Kevin Nordstrom leads a busy career as a performer, teacher, and scholar. He has performed in Canada, Mexico, Italy, Austria, China, and given numerous recitals throughout the United States. In addition to live performance, Dr. Nordstrom is committed to his online performance presence and regularly posts videos of his recitals on his Vimeo page, found here. Tied into this is his participation in the recent trend of online music competitions. In the past several years, Dr. Nordstrom has won awards for his video recordings of Wild Purple by Joan Tower, Rachmaninoff's Cello Sonata arr. Viola, Bach's Third Suite for Solo Cello (Viola), and Ligeti's Viola Sonata. As a chamber musician Dr. Nordstrom performs regularly with university colleagues and as violist of the Aurelian Trio, a string group he co-founded in 2019.

Wearing his scholastic hat, Dr. Nordstrom often gives presentations and clinics at music conferences and writes articles for string journals. As a member of the College Music Society, Dr. Nordstrom has discussed and given performances of works by György Ligeti, Charles Koechlin, and Marion Bauer at several of their conferences. Dedicated to advancing discourse on string music education, specifically for the violin and viola, he has presented clinics for the Texas, Pennsylvania, and Ohio Music Educators Associations and at the American String Teachers Association National Conference, often in collaboration with his colleague and brother, Dr. Stephen Nordstrom. The brothers have worked closely on several articles published in the American String Teacher Journal. Other articles by Dr. Nordstrom alone have been published in the Journal of the American Viola Society including his analysis of Ligeti's viola sonata, as well as pedagogical studies on vibrato and advanced double-stopping. Dr. Nordstrom has served on editorial boards for both the American String Teacher Journal and the Journal of the American Viola Society.

Dr. Nordstrom is currently Lecturer of Viola at the University of Louisville and viola instructor at Wright State University. He has also served on the faculties of Earlham College, Indiana University East, Xavier University, and Miami University Hamilton. Additionally, Dr. Nordstrom is the creator/writer/producer of The Great Composers Podcast, found on iTunes (click here!) and across the web. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from The University of North Texas, and the degrees of Master of Music, Artist Diploma, and Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where his secondary studies were in music history. His teachers have included Dr. Catharine Carroll, Mr. Masao Kawasaki, Dr. Susan Dubois, and Dr. Kathryn Steely. He plays on a rare American viola from 1893 by Jerome Bonaparte Squier, the so-called “American Stradivari”, who made but a handful of violas, and bounces between various bows including ones crafted by Richard Grünke, Martin Devillers, and Jérôme Thibouville-Lamy.

Aside from all this, Dr. Nordstrom enjoys recreational studies in musicology and the history of violin and bow making, as well as composing and arranging. His non-musical life often sees him reading volumes on American and ancient history, golfing (probably too often), and spending time with his wife and two daughters.



Education History

BM - Univesrity of North Texas

MM - Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music

AD - Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music

DMA - Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music



In my role as a university viola instructor, I am responsible for students with diverse musical backgrounds who share a desire to pursue an education in music and apply it to their lives and careers. My aim as a studio and classroom teacher is to foster a supportive environment where learning is the primary objective of all students as well as myself. I continually seek new ways to communicate and engage with my students so that they learn and grow as people and musicians. I also lead by example, performing recitals and engaging in scholarship so that students can better understand my teaching through my work. By tailoring lesson objectives to each individual, and implementing group activities such as studio classes and a viola choir, I develop students into independent, self-motivated, and confident musicians, who work well with others and will thrive as professionals after graduation.
In lessons, I approach each student as an individual and in a manner which does not suppress their personal characteristics. The most effective way to improve skills is through the study of a wide variety of repertoire, ranging from concertos by Stamitz, Walton, and Bartok to sonatas by Vieuxtemps, Brahms, and Hindemith. Additionally, at every lesson my students are expected to play scales and technical exercises, as well as etudes by Kreutzer, Rode, and Lillian Fuchs among others. While studying this material, students begin to discover how their hands work and what the best way to execute technical challenges is. Even while using the same instructional material across an entire studio, a flexible and imaginative teacher can take into consideration a variety of different learning styles, and formulate new methods that are appropriate to each student in their care. For example, a student preparing for a concerto competition needs a different lesson framework than one getting ready for an orchestra audition. This is the basis for my upcoming OMEA clinic, “Structuring Lesson Plans for a Better Practice Routine,” which focuses on tailoring lesson plans to each student’s learning style and performance needs, providing them with a consistent framework to follow at home.
Weekly studio classes are an integral part of my university teaching. They often take the form of a group lesson, where students perform their current repertoire as well as etudes. Listening activities play an important role in the class as well. For example, I will ask a student to bring to class a recording of a viola work that they enjoy, which they will then describe and everyone will listen to. Often times students will bring recordings of pieces from outside the standard repertoire, which helps to broaden their appreciation for what is available for our instrument.
While playing in the viola choir, students collaborate with one another and establish themselves in leadership roles different from those in traditional chamber music and orchestral settings. Older students have the responsibility of running rehearsals and leading performances. They also serve as mentors to younger students, helping them grow as musicians within a collegial environment. This cooperative effort keeps my students driven both individually and collectively as they strive toward a common goal. Playing in the viola choir is not only a fun activity, but it provides students with additional avenues for performance and personal expression. The experience gained in the viola choir enhances what they learn during lessons, and increases their confidence as performers in a way that will be valuable throughout their careers.




Editoral Committee - American String Teacher, Journal of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA)

Ensemble Database Editor - American Viola Society 

Professional Affiliations/Memberships

American Viola Society

College Music Society 

American String Teachers Association 


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