From the first minute I held a treble viola da gamba as a fifteen-year-old high school student, I knew I was meant to play this instrument. As a former violinist, my preference for the treble end of the spectrum led me to favor the treble viol and pardessus de viole. And, a music history class research paper in university led me to teach myself to play the lirone, which I absolutely adore.
The viol has offered me many wonderful opportunities to travel, meet interesting people, and create special bonds of friendship through music. I have found my voice with this instrument and am able to express myself in new and exciting ways. The viol hasenabled me to combine my love of reading and scholarship with my enjoyment of creating things. As a child, I was always organizing the neighborhood kids to put on shows for our families. I still remember performing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” as a kid, dressed up in a gaudy yellow satin-like dress, a terrible black wig, and silver sequin-encrusted high heel shoes – thinking I must have been just like Marilyn Monroe...
I have been privileged to be able to incorporate a knack for envisioning exciting programs, a love for developing a relationship with my audience, and a passion for the viola da gamba in my ensemble, the Catacoustic Consort. When I decided to devote my life to the viol, I had no illusions that this would be an easy life choice or a career path. I knew that if I wanted work as a viol player, I must create the work. Fortunately, along the way I learned skills in running a non-profit organization that have enabled music to be the focal point of my life.
Several years ago, Catacoustic received donations of eight violas da gamba to use as rental instruments. This made it possible for people in Cincinnati to learn to play the viol and find their own voice through this magnificent instrument. One early music group was started as a result – the Noyse Merchants. Additionally, this is my second year teaching viola da gamba at the prestigious University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
My daily life as a professional viol player is varied: teaching, practicing, and rehearsing for concerts. In addition, for Catacoustic much of my time is spent writing program notes for our concerts, writing grants proposals and blog entries, working on budgets, and meeting with our board of directors. I have been honored to have the viol in my life and to be able to share it with others.