Member of the Week – Anne Black

Every Wednesday, we feature one Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra member to answer some fun questions about themselves. Today we will be hearing from Anne Black, our principal violist.

Photo by Michael Lutch

Photo by Michael Lutch

How did you first get involved in music?

I sang in the children’s choir at a local church in Ann Arbor, Michigan; my mother also gave me a few piano lessons since I seemed interested.  I first heard the sound of a violin at age 7 or 8, when a family friend was visiting and took out his violin later in the evening – I was supposed to be asleep, but I had never heard this sound before and tip-toed to the bottom of the stairs to listen.  Later, after my family moved to California, I was mesmerized by Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts on TV.  I signed up for violin in the school music program in Long Beach, California and benefited from the wonderful music program in the Long Beach Public Schools all the way through high school.

What is your favorite memory from performing with Pro Arte?

There are several, but I have very fond memories of performing Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with Kristina Nilsson and Pro Arte many years ago.  It meant a lot to both of us to have a chance to perform this piece together, and we had a great time!

We are looking forward to your art exhibit on October 17th.  Can you tell us a little bit about your art?

I have always loved making art of various kinds since I was a child.  I took photos for the high school yearbook and became interested in nature photography during many family camping trips.  I began pursuing photography seriously when I started touring all over the country and internationally with the Boston Pops, Boston Symphony, and the Handel & Haydn Society.  While I work in many media, photography is a constant – I wander off to painting or jewelry or mixed media, but almost always have a photography project in the works.  I am especially drawn to details of everyday life that are often overlooked – unexpected patterns and reflections, water drops on flowers, insects in my garden, fleeting changes in the light.  I also love abstract images I see in cityscapes.  More recently, I have begun creating photographic montages from elements of two or more of my photographs – in this way, moving closer to painting.  My show at the Salon Concert will include a variety of my photographs and montages.

Who is your musical hero?

Wow, so many possible choices…Bach would be one – his music simply transcends time and is always an inspiration to me.  A more “modern” hero for me is Paul Hindemith – When I heard his Viola Sonata Op. 11, #4 performed by a fellow student at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, I knew that I wanted to be a violist.  Many years later, I finally realized my dream and began studying viola as a graduate student with Walter Trampler at Boston University.  The first piece I studied with him was, of course, Hindemith’s Sonata Op.11, #4!  I also performed Hindemith’s Konzertmusik for Viola and Large Chamber Orchestra, Op.48, with Pro Arte during Larry Hill’s tenure, and that was a thrilling experience.  I admire Hindemith’s wealth of interests – he listened to many kinds of music, he mastered several instruments, he was an educator and composer of works intended for students and amateurs, and of course, he wrote a wealth of amazing music for viola, most of which he performed himself in venues that included Sanders Theater at Harvard! 

Do you have questions for the musicians?  E-mail your questions to