Olga Goija was born in Daugavpils and grew up Riga, Latvia, where she began studying violin at the age of eight. She received her pre-conservatory training at the E. Darzins music school in Riga, where she became passionate about the viola. After graduating from E. Darzins in 2000, Ms. Goija moved to Los Angeles, where she studied with Evan Wilson (Los Angeles Philharmonic), Robert Becker (Pacific Symphony Orchestra), and Donald McInnes (Primrose Chair at the USC Thornton School of Music). She has also played in master classes with Roland Vamos, Nokuthula Ngwenyama, the Ysaye String Quartet, and the Takacs String Quartet, as well as in the Corwin master classes with Evan Wilson. During that time, Ms. Goija was awarded scholarships by Chapman University and the USC Thorton School of Music, as well as for the Chautauqua Summer Festival (New York) and the Crested Butte Summer Viola Workshops (Colorado). Ms. Goija has participated in the W. Primrose International Viola Competition (2005) and the L. Tertis International Viola Competition (2006).
I've tried the viola before; it's bigger & slightly more difficult to handle compared to a violin, but Ms. Olga certainly has no problem with that. She plays with such spirit & determination, it's hard not to enjoy & adore the deep mellow voice of the viola. I certainly hope to catch her live in concert, she's truly a talented violist ;)