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Elisabeth Reed

Elisabeth Reed headshot


Office 509

Courses Taught

Baroque Ensemble

Baroque Cello


MM, Indiana University, Early Music Institute

MM, Eastman School of Music

BM, Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music

Guild-certified Feldenkrais Method Practitioner


Jamason/Reed Duo

Smithsonian Chamber Players

Voices of Music

Archetti Baroque Strings

Pacific Musicworks

Wildcat Viols

Byron Schenkman and Friends

American Bach Soloists

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

Portland Baroque Orchestra

Seattle Baroque Orchestra

Pacific Baroque Orchestra

Early Music Vancouver

Novello String Quartet

Notable Studio Wins

Adam Young - finalist Bach Abel International Viola da Gamba competition

Distinguished Alumni

Gretchen Claassen - Principal cello of American Bach Soloists, Ars Minerva

Adaiha MacAdam-Somer - Portland Baroque Orchestra member

Laura Gaynon - American Bach Soloists, California Bach Society, Oregon Bach Festival

Her playing was intense, graceful, suffused with heat and vigor."

— Seattle Post-Intelligencer


What is your hometown?

Chapel Hill, NC

What is your favorite recording?

Anything by Tragicomedia.

What are you passionate about outside of music?

Feldenkrais Method of Awareness Through Movement, reading, and family.

Who were your major teachers?

Steven Doane, Norman Fischer, Robert Marsh, Margriet Tindemans, Catharina Meints, Wendy Gillespie, Christel Thielman, Paul O'Dette, and Stanley Ritchie.

What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?

“If you know what you are doing, you can do what you want.”

What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?

"What am I trying to express and how can I use my body to express that?"

What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?

My mother, who is a pianist, took me to hear a solo cello concert in a beautiful, old stone church in England, where we were living at the time. I fell in love with the sound and I told her, "That's the instrument I want to play!"

What was a turning point in your career?

As a teenager, I went to a performance of the St. Matthew Passion directed by Joshua Rifkin and performed on original instruments. This was the beginning of my interest in historical performance.

If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?

I originally wanted to be a classicist or a historian, so perhaps that. I am also currently a Feldenkrais practitioner and I'd be interested in doing more work in that area.

If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?

Monteverdi, Bach, and Purcell.

From a music history perspective, what year and city are most important to you?

1717–1723 Kothen.

What are your academic publications?

Using the Feldenkrais Method to Heighten Musical Awareness and Skill, SenseAbility, The Feldenkrais Journal

What recordings can we hear you on?

Fairest Isle, Magnatunes

Haydn Opus 50 String Quartets, Magnatunes

Bach Sonatas for Flute and Continuo, Focus Recordings

Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante with Monica Huggett, violin, Virgin Classics

Buxtehude Trio Sonatas, Magnatunes

Purcell: The Four-Part Fantasias with Wildcat Viols and Couperin Concerts Royaux, Plectra Records

What is your unrealized project?

Currently, I am working on organizing a recording of the Bach Sonatas for Viola da Gamba and harpsichord with my colleague, Corey Jamason.


Elisabeth Reed teaches viola da gamba and Baroque cello at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she is co-director of the Baroque Ensemble.  Recent teaching highlights include master classes at the Juilliard School, the Shanghai Middle School, the Royal Academy of Music and the National Viola da gamba Society Conclave.  Her playing has been described as, “intense, graceful, suffused with heat and vigor” and “delicately nuanced and powerful” (Seattle Times).  A soloist and chamber musician with Voices of Music, Archetti, Pacific Musicworks, and Wildcat Viols, she has also appeared with the Smithsonian Chamber Players, American Bach Soloists and  the Seattle, Portland, Pacific, and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestras,.  She has performed at the Boston Early Music Festival, the Berkeley Early Music Festival, the Ohai Festival, the Whidbey Island Music Festival, and the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival. She can be heard on the Virgin Classics, Naxos, Focus, Plectra, and Magnatunes recording labels and has many HD videos on the Voices of Music Youtube channel.   She also teaches viola da gamba and Baroque cello at the University of California at Berkeley.  She is a Guild- certified practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method of Awareness Through Movement, with a focus on working with musicians and performers.