College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Christina Placilla

Dr. Christina Placilla

Associate Professor of Strings and Music History

Dr. Placilla teaches the WSSU Chamber Orchestra (String Ensemble), String Chamber Music, String Majors and Minors, Music History Courses, Music General Education Courses and Non-Western Music. She is currently the research mentor for students in the Department of Fine Arts who participate in Research Symposium at WSSU and has been the research mentor for the North Carolina State Undergraduate Research Symposium. Dr. Placilla taught viola and chamber music during the summer session at North Carolina School for the Arts Intensive Chamber Music Institute for six years.

Dr. Placilla is a viola soloist, chamber musician, scholar and teacher. She earned her Bachelor of Music in performance at California State University, Long Beach, her Master of Music at the Hartt School in West Hartford, Connecticut and her Doctorate of Musical Arts in viola performance at the University of Colorado. Her major teachers have included Adriana Chirilov, Steven Larson, Lawrence Dutton, Erika Eckert and Barbara Hamilton. She has performed in masterclasses with Roberto Diaz, principle violist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Lawrence Dutton, violist of the Emerson String Quartet, Robert Vernon, principal violist of the Cleveland Orchestra, Roger Tapping, violist of the Takacs String Quartet and Paul Coletti, world-renowned viola soloist. 

Dr. Placilla has given solo and chamber music recitals in California, Colorado, Connecticut, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, South Carolina Sydney, Australia and Madrid, Spain.  She was invited to compete in the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition on the Isle of Man in 2000. Ms. Placilla is a former concerto winner in the La Primavera Concerto Competition. She was also the recipient of several scholarships and fellowships, such as the Gabor Ormai Scholarship at the University of Colorado and the Time/Warner Fellowship awarded at the Henry Mancini Institute. She has been a member of numerous chamber music ensembles including the Placilla-Cheng Duo, the Rothko Trio, Performance 20/20- The Honor’s Chamber Music Ensemble at the Hartt School, Hartt Contemporary Players and California State University, Long Beach University String Quartet.  While in Performance 20/20, Christina was an artist-in-residence at Bennington College in Vermont. She is currently a member of the Placilla-Rice duo with Dr. Karen Rice and Ensemble Argos. Her first solo CD Remembrances from Home has been released by the Centaur Record Label. Dr. Placilla was invited to be a guest artist with Madrid Chamber Music International to perform a series of concerts in March 2006 in Madrid, Spain. With Ensemble Argos, Dr. Placilla has twice been invited to perform at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. Dr. Placilla has played in professional symphony orchestras, ballet orchestras, and opera orchestras throughout the United States. Prior to moving to Winston-Salem, she was also a founding member of the Paul Turner Pops Orchestra (Hollywood, California) and has served as one of the principle arrangers for the band, as well as leader of the string section. She has also been invited as guest artist to perform with faculty at Salem College, Wake Forest University, Radford University and Converse College.

Besides being an active performer, Ms. Placilla is also a musicology scholar. She was the second prizewinner of the David Dalton Research Competition in 2000 for her article on Romanian Nationalism and the Viola Works of Enescu and Golestan that was subsequently published by the Journal of the American Viola Society. She was a recipient of the Beverly Sears Research Grant in 2001 that allowed her to travel to Ireland and do research on Arnold Bax at the Boole Library at University College, Cork where a repository of the composer’s works are held. Her doctoral dissertation was a historical, theoretical and ethnomusicological analysis of the viola and piano works of Arnold Bax.  She was able to publish part of her dissertation as an article in the Journal of the American Viola Society in 2007. She has recently been invited to give a lecture recital of George Enescu’s Concertstücke for viola and piano in December 2005 at the Festival commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of George Enescu in New York City.

As a string pedagogue, Christina has currently co-written and published the book We Are the Music Makers, Vol. 1 String Quartets. This book, along with other string and chamber music pedagogical research, grades literature from the classical canon by instrument and movement to create a systematic approach to the programming of chamber music for students of all levels. Current research is being conducted and prepared for publication and presentation on String Trios, Piano Quartets, Piano Trios and Woodwind/String/Piano Chamber Music. Dr. Placilla has been able to engage students in this research and has been awarded grants by the WSSU Professional Development Committee in the form of research assistantships for undergraduates. She is known for her research on pedagogy in Chamber Music and has been invited to present lectures on this topic and give chamber music masterclasses at the 2009 American String Teachers Association Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, the 2010 American String Teachers Association Conference in Santa Clara, California, the 2011 American String Teachers Association Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, the 2012 American String Teachers Association Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, the 2013 American String Teachers Association Conference in Providence, Rhode Island and the 2009 North Carolina Music Teachers Association Conference in Greensboro, North Carolina.

An active clinician, Dr. Placilla has given masterclasses and orchestral clinics in Colorado, California, Connecticut, Texas, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina. She has also served as a competition judge for Wake Forest University, the Rosen-Schaffel Competition and the North Carolina Music Teachers Association Competitions. Christina frequently donates time to the local school districts and the Greensboro Youth Symphony to give sectionals.

Dr. Placilla currently serves on the boards of the North Carolina Chapter of the American String Teachers Association as the NC Coordinator of the National Honors Orchestra. She has previously served on the board of the North Carolina Music Teachers Association as the Coordinator of the Senior Division Competition.


Contact Information

Office: (336) 750-2531

Winston-Salem State University

601 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive

Winston-Salem, NC 27110

Phone: (336) 750-2000

Copyright © 2013 Winston-Salem State University