Lisa Marie Lawson, Violin and Viola
Lisa Marie Lawson, Music Director, violinist and violist, co-founded Sacramento Baroque Soloists in 2001, and led the ensemble for twenty-one seasons, creating programs extolled for their interest and diversity.
A native of Portland, Oregon, Lisa credits much of her baroque music intuition to her early studies of Bach with Portland organist Valerian Fox, on the piano, and to many evenings of hearing her mother practicing Bach inventions. Following in the tradition of musicians for all time, Lisa's early development was heightened with studies of counterpoint and harmony, and regular participation in musical performance with her family. Her leadership skills had a rare developmental opportunity when at the age of 15, as Principal Violist of the Portland Youth Philharmonic she led weekly sectionals for her peers for three years.
Lisa received her music performance degrees from Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and University of Southern California, where she studied viola with Paul Coletti and Donald McInnes. Lisa has performed at festivals in the United States and Europe, including the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Italy, where she received the Diplome D'Honore and the Guido Chigi Prize, and the Music Academy Lenk in Switzerland. She received fellowships to both the Tanglewood Music Festival and the Aspen Music Festival, where she performed under such great conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, David Zinman, Eiji Oue, Leon Fleisher, and James DePriest. Chamber music coaches were Eugene Lehner, Sylvia Rosenberg, Earl Carlyss, and Berl Senofsky. She performed as a member of Concert Artists of Baltimore from 1990-92.
Her interest in baroque music was sparked at USC in a baroque repertoire class taught by lutenist James Tyler. Lisa continued her studies, on violin, with Elizabeth Field and coachings with Michael Sand.
Lisa's decision to settle near Sacramento was influenced most by her love of the West Coast and choice to be close to family. She and her husband Michael created the concert series "Music at the White Bird Gallery" in Sutter Creek, which produced monthly concerts for three years. She became a first violinist in the Sacramento Philharmonic and the Sacramento Opera Orchestra, in which she performed for ten years.
Lisa's love of baroque music led to the founding of Sacramento Baroque Soloists in 2001, with her husband Michael, to provide the Sacramento region the opportunity to experience the exquisite beauty and expression of this music. She served the organization as Music Director and led the ensemble until 2023. She occasionally performs with other baroque groups in California including Bach Collegium San Diego, San Francisco Bach Society, and Jubilate.
For 27 years, Lisa maintained a teaching studio of violinists and violists at Pease Conservatory of Music in downtown Sacramento. She continues to teach at her home near Ione. She enjoys writing and performing music for her family's Celtic band Lady of the Lake and for her Unity Spiritual Community, Kundalini yoga, stand-up paddleboarding and boating.