Lisa Mattson, Assistant Principal Viola
Leo Montgomery Family Chair
Lisa Mattson 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.
I grew up in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. After attending Duke University for two years, I decided to pursue music as a career and transferred to The Juilliard School where I got my bachelor’s degree. Then I went to Cleveland Institute of Music for my master’s. Right before I graduated, I took an audition for an orchestra which was hiring a full-time group for the first time. I won that audition and became a member of the Naples Philharmonic in the fall of 1990.
What has been your most memorable moment with the orchestra?
After almost three decades(!) in the orchestra, it is hard to come up with just one or two moments. I think the most memorable aspect has been witnessing and participating in the incredible growth of the Naples Philharmonic and the cultural scene in Naples.
What inspired you to become a musician?
It was always a secret dream of mine to be a musician, but I didn’t have the natural confidence to pursue it. Along the way, I had a couple of teachers who encouraged me, and their confidence in me inspired me to go for it.
What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
I would have to say that is a two-part answer.
The first part is my incredible colleagues! Many of us have been in the orchestra for a long time and have shared so many life events that we basically have become like family. I also feel happy to meet and welcome new members to the orchestra—they bring fresh energy to the group.
My other favorite thing about the job is the variety of music we play. I really like switching between all the different genres of music the way we do. It’s never dull!
What’s challenging about playing your instrument?
This might sound silly, but the viola is kind of heavy and, during long pieces, when you don’t get to put your arms down, it can be painful!
Are there other musicians in your immediate family?
My Great-Aunt Jane was a violinist in the Philadelphia Women’s Symphony (in her day, women were not allowed in an orchestra with men). All of my siblings played instruments for a while as part of our school music program, but I am the only one who stuck with it!