Katherine Greene, Viola

The New York Philharmonic

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Biography
Katherine Greene

Violist Katherine Greene, a native New Yorker, holds a master’s degree in performance from The Juilliard School, where she studied with Mr. William Lincer (former Principal Viola of the New York Philharmonic). Over the years Ms. Greene has held various positions, including that of Assistant Principal Violist of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, a position she held for three years until she joined the New York Philharmonic in 1990.

Ms. Greene began her musical studies at the age of five on piano. Later, as an accomplished pianist, she enjoyed an extensive career as a soloist, teacher, and accompanist. After entering college she began to play the viola and eventually decided to pursue a career as a violist.

Ms. Greene’s professional background included several seasons with the New York City and Santa Fe Opera companies, and she regularly participates in studio recordings for film and television scores. As an active recitalist, chamber musician, and teacher she has been a member of the Rosewood Chamber Ensemble, which won the Artists International Competition, and has recorded for CRI and Musical Heritage Society with the Soviet Emigre Orchestra and the Orchestra of the 20th Century.

While serving on the faculty of the Westchester Conservatory of Music, Ms. Greene developed a successful chamber music program for adult amateurs. She specializes in orchestral coaching and performance psychology, and her students have won positions in various orchestras, music festivals, and conservatories.

Katherine Greene produced Strings in Swingtime, an album of American string quartet music with her colleagues from the Orchestra, released in January on the Bridge Records label.

“My instrument has a glorious quality that reminds me of the human voice. I played only three notes on my viola, and it was like meeting the man of your dreams!”

Q&A with Katherine Greene

THE FACTS: Born in New York City. Attended the High School of Music and Art. Received a bachelor of music degree with honors from Queens College and a master’s in performance from The Juilliard School. Prior to the Philharmonic: assistant principal viola, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. At the Philharmonic: Joined in 1990. Most recent recording: Strings in Swingtime, with Philharmonic colleagues, on Bridge Records.

EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY: My parents listening to opera, and my father playing the piano. I began studying piano at five and viola in high school. I played both for a while and finally chose viola. Its warm sound provides the inner voices of a piece with the richness of harmony. My viola is a 1750 Obici — it has a glorious quality that reminds me of the human voice. I played only three notes and it was like meeting the man of your dreams! I still play the piano and have a Steinway at home.

WHO WAS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCE? My teacher William Lincer. He made me believe that anything is possible.

WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU WANTED TO BE A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN? Music always filled my life, my dreams. I never thought about doing anything else.

WHAT WOULD YOU BE IF NOT A MUSICIAN? A psychotherapist — and I still may be; life is long!

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT WITH THE ORCHESTRA: Since Alan became Music Director I have thoroughly enjoyed playing new music in many interesting venues: Park Avenue Armory, SubCulture, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Volkswagen Transparent Factory in Dresden, to name a few. It’s fun and exciting to get out of the concert hall and perform something fresh and new.

WHAT ARE YOU ESPECIALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO? Traveling for our exciting residencies in Shanghai, at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, and at the University of Michigan. I feel our international presence is very important as the oldest orchestra in the United States — we spread goodwill and joy wherever we go in the world.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING WHILE TRAVELING WITH THE ORCHESTRA? I love to learn anything I can about the culture of the country I'm visiting. I go to museums, talk to local orchestra colleagues, and, of course, sample all the local food. Sometimes I rent a bicycle to see the sights like a native.

DO YOU EVER PERFORM IN OTHER GROUPS? I play a lot of chamber music. It’s the most intimate of musical expressions.

ARE THERE MUSICIANS IN YOUR FAMILY? My father was an avid amateur pianist and a music fanatic. My mother is an artist.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? I’m a hiker, I ran my first marathon in 2003, and I’m an organic gardener. I also love teaching and inspiring people about music.

As of May 2015

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