Anna Womack, Viola

Question and Answer


Photo courtesy: Duane Padilla

What is your favorite Hawaii Symphony moment?

When I’m in the middle of a performance and realize I don’t want to be anywhere else doing anything else!

How did you choose your instrument?

My mom told me one day that I was going to start lessons. It didn’t sound so great at the time (I was 8 years old), but over the years learning music has become very important to me. I’m thankful she gave me the opportunity.

What would you consider to be the perfect classical concert program?

Anything that gives the audience a meaningful experience.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a musician?

My fantasy profession has never changed over the years. If I weren’t a musician, I’d want to be a secret agent. I like making a difference while staying in the shadows — kind of like being a violist in an orchestra.

What was the first piece of music you fell in love with?

It could have been the music on my dad’s 8-track tape of contemporary tunes with the Joe Reisman Orchestra, or the 3 record album set of 70s tunes that belonged to my older sister, or Chopin’s Prelude in E minor, Op. 28 No. 4. When I was young I used to bang that piece out on the piano way too dramatically. My family would yell down from upstairs, “Stop that!” I thought I was just emoting, but evidently my interpretation as a 11 year old wasn’t done in the best of taste.

Who is your favorite composer?

My husband is my favorite composer for many reasons. He has a very individual way of looking at music and at most things in life. I admire that. Also, I never get tired to listening to J.S. Bach’s music.

Who were your major teachers?

My most influential teacher was my mom. She taught me that every single note has a role in a phrase or piece of music and must be thought about carefully. She was also there to remind me to practice.

What’s best about living in Hawaii?

The wonderful people and the beautiful scenery. I love my drive home, surrounded by ocean and mountains. I also appreciate having friends with all kinds of different backgrounds.

What are your activities, hobbies, interests, outside of music?

Tennis and hiking. I can’t get enough of either!

What are your professional goals?

To enjoy making music with my colleagues and to relay something meaningful to the audience.

Do you have a guilty pleasure?

Watching professional tennis on TV. I’m so tempted to buy the “Tennis Channel” on cable.

What famous figure, living or dead, would you like to invite to dinner, and why?

This person is certainly not famous, but I’d like to have dinner with my future self and find out what really matters in the long run.


Anna Womack with her family on a hiking trip to Glacier National Park.

More about Anna Womack

Anna Womack is a member of the Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra and a core performer with Pacific International Concert Artists. Her career as an orchestral player began at the age of 12 with the Rome Symphony (Rome, Georgia, that is). While at Furman University in South Carolina, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and served as concertmaster of the school’s orchestra. After switching from violin to viola she received a Master’s degree in Viola Performance from Northwestern University studying with Peter Slowik and performing with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and Civic Chamber Program. Anna began her first professional appointment with the Shreveport Symphony, but soon moved to Hawaii with her husband, composer Donald Reid Womack. While in the islands she has dabbled in Taiko (Japanese Drumming) with the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble, concertized with PICA, Chamber Music Hawaii, and the Red Hot Lava Chamber Music Festival, and performed as soloist with the University of Hawaii Chamber Orchestra and the Lutheran Church of Honolulu’s Abendmusiken Concert Series.