The viola d’amore is an instrument that has long fascinated me. Two years ago I finally had the opportunity to borrow one for two months and was hooked. In 2013 I then commissioned well-known d’amore luthier Martin Biller to build one, which arrived at the end of the year. What a thrill to get to know it! The viola d’amore is at once familiar & alien: familiar in that it is played with a Baroque or modern bow & has strings of roughly the same length as my viola, alien in its number of playing strings (7), tuning, and sound palette. 

Baroque repertoire, written when the instrument first appeared in Europe, was my first interest- but the chance to play Martin’s d’amore inspired wider exploration. Fellow violist and d’amore player Garth Knox was, and is, a great inspiration. 

In 2016-17 I look forward to performing my first viola d'amore-only recital with David Korevaar in Fort Collins, Vivaldi Concerto RV394 with BCOC,  and creating/premiering new solo works with composers Conor Brown and Marcus Maroney.

Backstage with Xiu Ying Li (Cio Cio San) and Maestro Ari Pelto for Opera Colorado's production of Madame Butterfly, Nov 2014.


Matthew Dane

Martin Biller Viola d'Amore 2013, Op. 102- steps along the way