Lisa Mattson, assistant principal viola, chose the viola as her instrument in fourth grade as part of a public school music program. She completed two years as a public policy major at Duke University before transferring to The Juilliard School where she earned a B.M. degree as a recipient of the Victor Herbert Scholarship, Mattson received her M.M. degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music as a student of Heidi Castleman and Lynne Ramsey. She has studied chamber music with the members of the Juilliard String Quartet and was selected to perform as part of the Juilliard Quartet Seminar, the Blossom Festival and the Music Academy of the West.
Active as a teacher, Mattson served for several years on the music faculty of Community School of Naples and the Stringendo Summer Academy. Currently she maintains a private violin/viola studio and is on the music faculty of Florida Gulf Coast University. She has been a member of the Naples Philharmonic since 1990.
Lisa Mattson is underwritten by Leo & Susie Montgomery.
Name: Lisa Mattson
Hometown: Ardmore, PA
At what age did you begin playing your instrument? 9
Who have been your greatest musical influences? Violist Heidi Castleman, the Cleveland Orchestra.
Who are your favorite composers? Dvorak, Brahms.
What career path would you have taken had you not chosen music? Architectural historian.
What's currently playing on your iPod or CD player? Music of the ‘80s! (The most ridiculous musical decade ever.)
Your hobbies and interests: I teach a lot so that keeps me busy, but I love to work on my house, changing the colors, rearranging furniture.
Some little-known, yet interesting facts about you: I lived for two years at the YMCA (it's not as fun as the song says) while a student at Juilliard. There was no dorm at the time and that was where they housed students. It was a whole different kind of education .... While at Duke University I was a member of the Chi Omega sorority (have the pin to prove it and also know the secret handshake) and was, for a brief period, a math major.
Funniest concert moment:It's hard to pick. There have been a lot of laughs. The story that gets retold the most was one that was not at all funny at the time, but it makes everyone laugh now. In the early '90s, we were playing a concert and the order of the music got changed. Our titles were in one language and the conductor's scores were in another. Not everyone got the message about the change and we started. Everyone was playing a different piece. It sounded horrendous. There was no choice but for the conductor to stop. He whispered the name of the correct piece but since the language was different, we still weren't sure what it was. There was nervous shuffling of music and we tried again. It sounded worse. We stopped again. He whispered again, louder this time. More shuffling of music, again cacophony. Red-faced conductor, nervous musicians. This process must have repeated five times before we miraculously landed on the same page.
Daily practice rituals: Boring stuff – double stops, scales.
The question you're asked most often about your instrument (and your answer): "Is that a violin?" My answer: "No, it's a viola." "What's a viola?" My answer: "It's like a big violin."
Your favorite part about playing in the Naples Philharmonic: My colleagues. We have shared a lot together, not just musically. It is a wonderful thing to do something you love for your job and work with people who feel the same way.