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Introducing Katie Carrington!

Ruth 8-3-07 013

What’s your name?

I go by Katie Carrington.  My full name is Kathleen Riley Magill Carrington, and is a bit much.  I think I have almost every UK island represented, which is impressive, as I’ve never been to the UK.

Where are you from?

I was born in a suburb of Chicago.  I lived for two years in Germany in a suburb of a suburb of Hamburg.  My dad is a physicist and was working at a lab over there.  I’m still not entirely clear why, but instead of attending the international school, I went to first and second grade at the local elementary school, where everything was in German.  I picked up the language fairly quickly, which led to some weird encounters where people thought I was a native while my parents were clearly foreigners.

How did you come to the viola?

I started on the viola in fourth grade because I thought the violin was just way too high pitched (if I’m being honest, I still do).  I only took instrument study through the public school until I was 16, then somehow found my way to a great teacher and practiced up a storm.  I was a biology major for one year at Illinois Wesleyan University before I dropped out, took a year off to practice, and then started at Juilliard.

Are you a Juilliard student?  Were you?  Or do you now work as part of the studio?

I studied with Heidi Castleman and Hsin-Yun Huang at Juilliard from 2005-2009.  Still one of my best decisions ever.

Tell us about one of your favorite performances?

This past summer I played in Chicago for my former teacher Michael Hining’s 25 teaching anniversary.  A close friend of his and principal violist of the Lyric Opera in Chicago, Keith Conant, had passed away suddenly the year before.  Keith was also a big support to me when I was just starting to think I’d like to play the viola for a career.  The concert featured Mr. Hining’s chamber orchestra, the Windy City String Ensemble,  playing the Telemann Viola Concerto with a different soloist for each movement.  I played the final movement in Keith’s memorial.  This movement had additional meaning for me as I played it with the WCSE in Carnegie Hall in 2003.

If you could perform any viola piece, what would it be?

I’d love to do the Ligeti Sonata, especially the last movement!

If you could play any non-viola piece, what would it be?

I not so secretly want to learn to play the bagpipes.  My dark side just likes the idea that people are forced to listen to you, even from miles away.

Who made your viola and how did you get to be the one playing it?

My instrument is a 2007 viola by Nathaniel Rowan.  Heidi introduced me to Nathaniel my last year at Juilliard.  I actually have his first viola!  I’ve been really happy with it and with how the sound is developing.  It’s rather small and very easy to play and has a lot of personality.  My husband is actually commissioning a viola from Nathaniel right now because he’s jealous!

Do you have any secret skills?

I realized a few years ago that my only real skill was playing viola and that wouldn’t make me very useful if I ended up stranded on an island.  So, I taught myself to sew.  I’ve made lots of stuff, although I always end up with more patterns and fabric than I could possibly use.  Baking helps me deal with life, as I have never found a better therapist than carbohydrates.  I also used to ride horses (dressage) a lot and worked on a horse farm.

You are forced by the United States Government to not practice for a day.  What do you do with yourself?

This won’t be very inspiring, but I’d sleep in, spend lots of time harassing my dog and cat, drink coffee slowly and take forever to get dressed, and, since I live in New Orleans, go out to eat for every meal.

Do you have a website?

The website for the GNO Suzuki Forum is gnosuzukiforum.com.


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