Heather Wittels

Heather Wittels headshot
Director, Chamber Music Program

Heather Wittels is co-Acting Assistant Concertmaster of the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra, Concertmaster of the AIMS Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria, and Associate Concertmaster of the Glimmerglass Festival Orchestra in Cooperstown, New York. She is an Artist Faculty member at Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts where she teaches violin excerpt class, audition class, and conducts and solos with the string ensemble. Starting in the fall of 2022, she is the newly appointed Director of the Chamber Music Program at the University of Chicago. In recent seasons she has performed the Brahms and Tchaikovsky violin concertos and the Beethoven Triple Concerto with orchestras in Chicago, where reviewers praised her “exquisite taste” and “immaculate technique.” In 2020-21 she was featured twice on Fourth Presbyterian Church’s popular Friday Noonday Concert series. Since 2012 she has appeared live in recital on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series at the Chicago Cultural Center, Wisconsin’s The Midday radio show, Live from WFMT on the radio in Chicago. Her chamber music projects have been presented by the Live from WFMT radio show, the Illinois Holocaust Museum, the Star Theater in Cherry Valley, NY, and the Glimmerglass Festival, which showcased her production of Stravinsky's A Soldier's Tale in August 2018.

During the summers of 2013-2019, while at the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, NY, Ms. Wittels has programed, produced, and performed in an annually sold-out drama and music collaboration in a local venue; themes have included a Schubertiade, Stravinsky's A Soldier's Tale, Brahms and the Schumanns, and Music and Letters from Russia. Ms. Wittels has a private violin studio in Chicago and teaches young violinists in collaboration with Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative, a program designed to support talented and motivated students from underrepresented backgrounds in classical music. 

Ms. Wittels was a Fellow of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida and a three time Tanglewood Music Center Fellow. Ms. Wittels made her solo debut in June 2001, performing the Khachaturian Violin Concerto with the NEC Youth Philharmonic Orchestra in Jordan Hall, Boston. The Boston Globe said she made a “dazzling impression.” In 2009, she gave the American premiere of the violin concerto Bulls of Bashan by Gavin Bryars at the Spoleto Festival USA, for which Strad Magazine praised her “pure, singing tone.”

Ms. Wittels graduated cum laude from Yale University with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry, with distinction. Subsequently she earned a Masters in Music and Graduate Diploma in violin performance in the studio of Malcolm Lowe at the New England Conservatory, as beneficiary of the 2007 Tourjée Alumni Award for graduate study. A native of Brookline, MA, Ms. Wittels began the violin at age three.