Elizabeth Oka


Assistant Principal Viola, Kennedy Center Orchestra

Elizabeth Oka

Elizabeth Oka is Assistant Principal Violist of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra/Washington National Opera. She also performs as Principal Viola of the Des Moines Metro Opera Orchestra in the summers and has played with several orchestras including the New World Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra, and the Charleston Symphony.

Hailing from Monrovia, California, Oka began her musical studies on violin, but quickly realized her true calling. She switched to viola at The Colburn School of Performing Arts before moving to the east coast, where she graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University with a double major in English literature and music. Oka subsequently completed her master’s degree in viola performance at the New England Conservatory. She then served as the Associate Instructor in Viola while pursuing a performance diploma at Indiana University. Most recently, she spent two years as a fellow at the New World Symphony.

Oka has spent summers as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Round Top Festival-Institute. She has also performed at the Artosphere Festival for several seasons. Her many wonderful teachers include Michael Klotz, Ed Gazouleas, Martha Katz, and Lenny Matczynski.

In addition to orchestral playing, Oka loves the intimacy of chamber music. She has premiered new works in Jordan Hall, attended the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music as part of a fellowship quartet, performed with Sodam and the All-Stars throughout Miami Beach, and appeared in living rooms across Boston at various Groupmuses.

Outside of the viola, Oka enjoys reading, hiking, and finding new things to eat.