Heather Wittels is a member of the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra first violin section and the Associate Concertmaster of the Glimmerglass Festival Opera Orchestra. In recent seasons she gave her Chicago recital debut on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series at the Chicago Cultural Center, where she appeared again in 2014, and her Wisconsin recital debut on The Midday radio show. She has performed with several different chamber music groups on the radio show Live from WFMT in Chicago and in 2015, her string quartet was presented by the Lyric Opera of Chicago in a performance at the Illinois Holocaust Museum. For the past four summers, while at the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, NY, Heather has produced and performed in dramatic musical collaborations in local theaters and museums.
Heather was a Fellow of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida and a three time Tanglewood Music Center Fellow. She has performed music from the Baroque to the contemporary era in every format from soloist and recital partner to chamber musician and orchestra member. She has served as concertmaster of many orchestras, including the New World Symphony, the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra, the Chicago Beethoven Festival Orchestra, New England Conservatory’s Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia and Symphony - where she won a school-wide competition to lead Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben -, and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra - where she led Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier Suite and Don Juan under the direction of Raphael Frübeck de Burgos.
Heather 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 the Strad Magazine praised her “pure, singing tone”. In 2015, she performed the Tchaikovsky violin concerto with the Chicago Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.
Heather 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, Heather began the violin at age three.