Remembering Roger Myers


April 15, 2024

Violist Roger Myers in a tuxedo playing as a soloist in front of an orchestra, beside a conductor.

When the news of renowned Sydney-born violist Roger Myers’s passing became public, social media channels were flooded with stories and memories from his students and colleagues around the world. Former students reminisced about Professor Myers’s knack for calming them before a big recital, or pushing them to play the viola as virtuosos, encouraging them not to blend in.

A love for Myers’s sharp intellect came through in many of the stories. “Roger was a challenging person . . . in a way that made you deeply consider your own reasoning, argument, or point-of-view,” said Tuba Professor Charles Villarrubia. “We had endless conversations over the years running the gamut from music, politics, human nature, family, and work. Roger had the single best mind that I’ve ever known.”  

Myers was a passionate pedagogue and pushed his students to pursue technical and artistic excellence. String Project Director and Associate Professor Laurie Scott noted that he never missed a commencement ceremony that she could remember. “Commencement was always a special event for Roger,“ Scott said. “One could sense his level of great satisfaction in guiding his students to the completion of their degrees. Roger took great pride in his studio.”  

Myers joined the Butler School of Music in 1993. Throughout his long tenure with the Butler School, Myers held many leadership roles. In 1997 he served as artistic director and host chairman of the XXV Silver Anniversary International Viola Congress, held at The University of Texas at Austin. Myers created and ran a chamber music series at the Blanton Museum of Art for several seasons. He served as the String division head from 2004-2014 and received the Butler School Teaching Excellence Award in 2007.  

Myers had a robust teaching and performing career outside of academia. He served on the faculty at Music Academy of the West, Bowdoin Summer Music Festival, Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, the International Festival Institute at Round Top, and many other summer programs.  

He performed with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and served as principal violist with both Santa Fe Pro Musica and the New West Symphony Orchestra in Los Angeles on tour with Andrea Bocelli. His chamber music performances are prolific; he played with the Camerata Pacifica in California, at the Niagara International Chamber Music Festival in Canada, the Da Camera of Houston, and with several renowned artists around the world, including the Butler School’s own Miró Quartet.  

Roger Myers released his debut album Fantasy and Farewell (Delos) in 2013 which features music for viola and orchestra by McLean, Schumann and Shostakovich, recorded with the London Symphony at Abbey Road Studios. In 2017, he recorded Viola Music of the Bach Family (Notos 001), which features the world premiere recording of a work by J. J. Quantz, discovered and realized by Myers.  

Myers became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London in 2014. He performed on a G.B Guadagnini ‘Mischakoff’ viola made in 1763.  

Roger Myers died of cancer on February 25 at the age of 57.  

“We know him well as a ravishing artist, but it is the man I will so miss,” said long-time friend and colleague Villarrubia. “I intend to honor him by remembering his wisdom, love, irreverent humor, and passion. [He was] an iconic figure in the music world, a brilliant individual, and a deeply cherished friend gone too soon.”

The Butler School will hold a memorial service for Professor Myers on Tuesday, May 7 at 7:30 p.m. in Bates Recital Hall. More details can be found on our calendar.  

Read More News

News Type

Faculty Strings Viola In Memoriam