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Louise Elder Chestnut

Viola

Louise ChestnutWhat city are you living in now? I am a current resident of Arnold, MD; although much of my life has been spent in Annapolis, MD where I grew up. All seven members of my family played at least two instruments and sang, so I was headed toward music at the age of three on piano(required for everyone in our family). At age 7 I was attempting to write music for piano.

Where did you study? In 3rd grade, I began studying viola with Virginia Benac in a classroom situation. Later, I studied private viola with Michael Kimber, Noah Chaves, and Miles Hoffmann. I studied music composition with my mother, Sylvia Elder, and later with Dr. Theldon Myers at Towson University for my B.A.

What is your favorite piece of music? Trying to pick a favorite piece is well nigh impossible-so many great ones out there!!! Telemann’s Viola Concerto in G is what made me enthusiastic about the viola. I tend to lean toward Baroque & Romantic era German (like Bach chorales, suites/Telemann chamber music (4violins #2 in D!) and solo works/Max Bruch Romance for Viola & Orch/ Schumann chamber and symphonic/Mendelssohn Symphony #4 & #5); Romantic era Russian (like Borodin chamber music/Shostakovich Symphony #6); 20th century British & American (like Ralph Vaughn Williams Symphony #6/Geoffrey Bush Chamber Suite for Strings/Gustav Holst Suite #2/Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue/Bernstein Overture to Candid). Also, I love much of Edvard Grieg’s music.

What do you enjoy in your spare time? In my spare time, if there is any, I work on pieces I don’t have much time to work on during the season; or play some of my other instruments like classical guitar, and keep up my embouchure on the baritone horn for the British Style brass band my husband & I are involved in. This season I had enough time to plant a garden as well for fresh food and herbs. 

What is your fondest Annapolis Symphony memory? I guess over 26 seasons of playing with ASO, it’s hard to choose the fondest memory of Annapolis Symphony. I love the depth and breadth of styles of music, as well as most of the soloists!
Leon Fleischer conducted and played a Mozart piano concerto one season that was enjoyable. When Manuel Barrueco played Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, I had been listening to that piece in the summer months on YouTube with various guitarists and decided I liked him best, only to find out we were playing that piece with him as a soloist (Sultans of String were fun, learning how to play Turkish style stringed music. When we played under Gisele Ben-Dur, Stravinsky’s Petrushka was memorable. It’s too hard to pick just one!