Annissa Olsen

Viola, Violin Teacher

Annissa Olsen

SAA Member


Eugene, OR
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Raised in a family of musicians and music teachers, Annissa began studying violin and piano at age 5. By age 13, she discovered her true passion—the viola. Annissa received her Master’s degree in Viola Performance with an emphasis in Violin/Viola Pedagogy at the University of Oregon in 2015, where she studied with Leslie Straka. Additionally, she is working towards a second Master’s degree in Music Education specializing in K-12 music and strings, also at the University of Oregon. Currently Annissa serves as Director of the Douglas County Youth Orchestra (DCYO) in Roseburg, Oregon, where she conducts three levels of orchestra. In her capacity as a Graduate Teaching Fellow at the University of Oregon, she teaches a full studio of violin and viola students in UO’s Community Music Institute, violin group classes, Music Mind Games/Kodály (music theory and literacy methods), and coaches chamber music in the Chamber Players program. Annissa is a registered instructor in Suzuki violin/viola, Music Mind Games, and Kodály. She performs regularly with ensembles including the Eugene Ballet and the Salem Chamber Orchestra.

Before moving to Oregon, Annissa lived in Tempe, Arizona, where she received degrees in Viola Performance and French from Arizona State University, graduating summa cum laude from the Barrett Honor’s College. In Arizona, Annissa was in demand as a violist, violinist, and teacher, serving as the primary violist for the Desert Breeze Quartet, Sweetwater Strings Quartet, and sitting assistant principal viola for the Musica Nova Orchestra of Scottsdale. She also taught chamber music at Marcos de Niza High School and McKemy Middle School. Annissa has performed in master classes for renowned ensembles including the Brentano, St. Lawrence, Takács, and Orion String Quartets and for legendary violists including Doris Lederer, Geraldine Walther, and Helen Callus. She has been invited as a Guest Artist at music festivals around the world, including at the Ameropa Festival in Prague, Czech Republic (2011), the Astoria Music Festival in Astoria, Oregon (2012), the Mendocino Music Festival in Mendocino, California (2013), and, most recently, the Vianden Music Festival in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (2014).

In her free time, Annissa enjoys cooking big meals for friends, practicing yoga, and running, biking, and hiking in the lovely Oregon outdoors.