Meet the Players

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Pedro Funes: 

Why Early Music?

Ever since high school I was interested in early music. We always played Concerto grossi by Corelli and I found those pieces very interesting. In my undergrad working on the Bach Cello Suites on Bass was a spark to learn more repertoire.  I wanted to join the Collegium Musicum at my school and was told to learn viola da gamba before I can join. 

Why Viola Da Gamba?

I was a double bass player and I wanted to play an instrument that had more solo repertoire and more chamber music. This instrument was perfect choice to meet both expectations.

Do you play any other instruments?

I play the baroque bass, violone, vielle, rebec, and all sizes of viol (including the alto viol).

Any other styles of music you do or enjoy?

Another style of music I am interested is medieval music which gives you a chance to improvise and figure out what instrumentation works for certain repertoire. There are no specific rules when it comes to playing instrumental music.

 I also enjoy playing chamber music on the double bass.

Any other activities you like and/or participate in?

 I am currently the Assistant Orchestra Director at Oak Ridge HS. I enjoy reading books on politics, philosophy and Medieval Spain. 

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Stephanie Raby:

Why Early Music?

I grew up playing early repertoire, though not with an authentic aesthetic, and fell in love with the music. It wasn’t until I was in my bachelors degree that I actually realized there was an entire field of study devoted historical performance practice and I was instantly drawn in! The first thing that spoke to me was the high degree of creativity needed to perform the repertoire not only because it requires you to improvise quite a lot,  but because there is so much music that people have never heard or never has been recorded so it is like you are the first one to discover it. Sometimes, your performance will be the first hearing people will have had in the 21st century and even sometimes since the times in which it was written!  The second thing that always makes me come back to early repertoire is that I have a passion for chamber music and most of the music in my scope of study is chamber based. Even when you play in an orchestra you don’t really need a conductor and so it becomes like a large chamber ensemble. It is exhilarating to play and connect with others and this is a wonderful outlet for that.

Why Viola da Gamba?

I must admit, the first thing that made me want to play the Gamba was that I desperately wanted to play a bass instrument! Mainly I am a violin player and I realized that to learn the cello would be too much work and I would probably only ever be mediocre. However, when I was introduced to the gamba I knew it was the instrument for me. I would get to play bass, the instrument is just gorgeous sounding, and I would actually have a chance to be halfway decent! I finally got the nerve to take it up after I watched a friend of mine switch back and forward from viola to gamba and then at my first BEMF experience, Laura Jeppeson did that in an opera. I felt if they could do it so could I and as they say the rest is history.

Do you play any other instruments?

Modern and baroque violin and viola, voice, mandolin, flute, and some harpsichord and piano.

Any other styles of music you enjoy?

Oh gosh! I like a LOT of things. Some other styles I am fluent in include Scottish, Irish, and Texas country fiddling. I have also studied a  bit of jazz.

When I’m listening to music it includes all the aforementioned genres plus R&B, Pop, World, Soft Rock, Oldies and more. If a song is good it is good no matter the genre and I’ll add it to my ever expanding playlist!

 Any other activities you like and/or participate in?

I really like to do art – painting, drawing, whatever! You name it I’ll do it. I like all manner of crafts. I love to knit and crochet as well and have constantly got projects going. I like to design clothes. I enjoy playing football/soccer and field hockey and hiking and cycling are regular pastimes! I’ve really been getting into photography as well! Travelling and visiting old places and museums is equally entertaining! Also eating good food… mmmmm I’m a bit of a foodie so cooking is a given! 

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