Lisa Marie Lawson, Music Director, violinist and soprano, co-founded Sacramento Baroque Soloists in 2001. 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. 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 went on to receive 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. 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 classes were with Eugene Lehner, Sylvia Rosenberg, Earl Carlyss, and Berl Senofsky. She performed with Concert Artists of Baltimore from 1990-92.
Lisa’s baroque studies began at USC with a baroque repertoire class taught by lutenist James Tyler. She discovered her love for early music and 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 performance in the 1998 Sacramento Area Bach Festival of the Bach Chaconne was praised as “delivered with a wonderfully personal feeling...remarkable for the amount of expression she conveyed.” (William Glackin, Sacramento Bee) Her love of baroque music led to the founding of Sacramento Baroque Soloists in 2001.
Lisa has been teaching privately since 1994. She currently teaches a select group of 20 students at the Pease Conservatory in Sacramento and at her straw bale home near Ione.
A diverse musician, Lisa is proficient at playing jazz violin as well as singing. Her current musical passion is reserved for her baroque group, Sacramento Baroque Soloists, for Celtic music. She and Michael, her cellist husband, played in the Celtic band Keeva from 1998 to 2001 and 2010 to present and continue to perform Celtic music in their band Lady of the Lake.
Lisa performs on a 1727 Celoniatus violin.