Ethan Filner

Assistant Principal


Acclaimed for “gorgeous” viola playing by Gramophone and San Francisco Classical Voice, and praised for “wonderfully effective soft playing, full of subtle vibrato and graceful ornamentation” by the Strad, Ethan Filner - Assistant Principal Viola in the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra since 2019 - enjoys an active and varied musical career, as performer, teacher, and coach.

Violist of the Cypress String Quartet from 2001-16, Ethan has held positions of Sessional Teacher of Viola at the University of Toronto from 2016-19 and Assistant Principal Viola with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony from 2017-19. With the Cypress Quartet Ethan has toured and performed extensively in concert and on the radio, and led masterclasses and coached music students as a visiting faculty artist at colleges and universities, throughout North America and Europe. He has recorded nearly 20 albums, commissioned or premiered of dozens of new works, presented educational outreach programs for thousands of students of all ages, and collaborated with many of today’s leading classical artists. Highlights from the Cypress Quartet’s considerable discography include the complete String Quartets of Beethoven, the two String Sextets of Brahms with Barry Shiffman and Zuill Bailey, and the Schubert C Major Cello Quintet with Gary Hoffman.

Following the CSQ’s disbanding in 2016 and Ethan’s subsequent move with his family to Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, he quickly grew busy freelancing with the likes of the Toronto Symphony, National Arts Centre, Canadian Opera Company, National Ballet and Toronto Concert Orchestras. He has also been in-demand as a soloist and chamber musician, performing regularly throughout the GTA and for the K-W Chamber Music Society in Waterloo. Notable recent collaborators include pianists Jamie Parker, Alfred Oyaguez Montero, Patricia Tao, and Heather Taves; violinists Robert Uchida, Mark Fewer, Tim Ying, Aaron Schwebel, Marie Berard, and Helen Kim; and cellists Zuill Bailey, Joseph Johnson, and Britton Riley; clarinetist James Campbell; the Zemlinsky and Penderecki String Quartets, and the Gryphon Trio, and various members of the TSO, KWS, and ESO. Recent summers have seen Ethan a featured performer in the Summer Solstice Festival in Edmonton, the Elora and Niagara Music Festivals in Ontario, and El Paso Pro Musica’s Summerfest’19: “Spanish Nights” in Texas, and a section player in the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra in Wyoming.

Ethan’s primary viola studies were with Susan Bates in San Francisco, Atar Arad at Indiana University-Bloomington, Roger Chase at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London England, and James Dunham at the New England Conservatory in Boston. Among his chamber music influences he counts coaches Rostislav Dubinsky, Janos Starker, Menahem Pressler, Edward Auer, Susan Bates, members of the Takacs and Endellion String Quartets, and the whole of his experience as a teenage summer camper at the Sequoia Chamber Music Workshop in California..

Ethan plays on a viola made in 1947 in Naples, Italy by Vittorio Bellarosa, and a bow by Garner Wilson. Learn more at