Erika Pierce attended Oberlin conservatory as a viola performance major and holds two Masters Degrees from Chatham College. Erika’s past teachers include violists Thomas Dumm, former principal violist of the St. Louis Symphony, and Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, as well as Jeffrey Irvine, former violist in the New World String Quartet and the principal violist in the Wichita Symphony.
Erika has also played under the baton of Leonard Slatkin, David Lobel, and Kirk Muspratt. She was a National Solo Competition Semi-Finalist on viola in 1992 and has soloed with the Pittsburgh Philharmonic Orchestra several times. She formerly served as principal violist with the Pittsburgh Philharmonic Orchestra and has performed with the Washington Symphony Orchestra, Butler Symphony, Undercroft Opera, Chautauqua Choir, St. Louis Opera and the St. Louis Philharmonic. Erika has performed on viola for the Berkman Festival, the Surreal Ethereal Realists, Drywall Macbeth and was a featured performing artist on Tony Buba’s film Playing to an Empty House. She also has performed as a violist with the Three Rivers String Quartet for over a decade.
Erika was formerly on the music faculty of the Oberlin Community Music School, Sweetwater Center for the Arts, Seton Center School of Music, and several local Montessori schools. Erika is the founder and director of the Pittsburgh Youth Philharmonic Orchestra’s Prelude Strings Ensemble and also serves as PYPO’s Executive Director. Erika enjoys working with her extensive studio of private Violin and Viola students. Erika and her husband Steve are proud parents of a PYPO student, as well as twin girls who enjoy watching their big brother perform.