Man in leather jacket holding a violin, smiling at the camera with foliage in the background.

Brett Walfish

Violist Dr. Brett Walfish, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Rushmore Music Festival, is a distinguished figure in the realm of classical music. Known for his expressive and charismatic performances, Conductor David Effron has praised his warm sound, describing it as full of a “myriad of colors.” Dr. Walfish has captivated audiences throughout the United States, Canada, China, Ireland, Italy, and Israel. Notable venues include the Tel Aviv Opera House, the National Music Museum, Carnegie Hall, and Mount Rushmore.

Dr. Walfish’s commitment to music extends beyond his performances; he is also a dedicated teacher of violin, viola, and chamber music. During his time at Indiana University, he gained valuable insights into string pedagogy from the renowned Mimi Zweig and completed a two-year Suzuki teacher training certification at the School for Strings in New York City. These experiences served as the foundation for establishing the Walfish Music School. As the founder of this school in Rapid City, Dr. Walfish passionately imparts his musical knowledge through guest masterclasses and private instruction across the United States. His dedication to nurturing talent is evident in the remarkable success of his students, many of whom have earned placements in prestigious institutions such as the Juilliard School, New England Conservatory, Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Harvard University, and Cornell University. Numerous graduates have gone on to secure positions in major symphonies globally.

Dr. Walfish’s membership in the Valencia Baryton Project highlights his dedication to both classical and contemporary repertoire. Through this project, he champions some of Haydn’s least-known yet most prolific musical output while featuring modern compositions written for the ensemble. These concerts have resonated across the continental United States and Canada, showcasing Dr. Walfish’s versatility and deep musical insight.

Passionate about both classical and modern genres, Dr. Walfish invests significant time delving into the contemporary Tango culture through extensive research and collaboration with leading Tango musicians of our modern era. His Tango performances not only showcase his artistic prowess but also establish connections between Baroque and Classical Historically Informed Performance and the Golden Age of Tango. Dr. Walfish adeptly bridges the gap between scholarly research and live performance by directly engaging with modern-day Tangueros who played alongside legends, including Osvaldo Pugliese and Astor Piazzolla, thus enriching and preserving the vibrant heritage of Tango.

Dr. Walfish’s primary mentors include Carol Cole, Michael Klotz, Atar Arad, Martha Katz, Lawrence Dutton, and Nicholas Cords, as well as the Emerson String Quartet.