Colin Belisle

Instrument

Viola

Colin Belisle currently lives in Honolulu where he is a member of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra and member of Chamber Music Hawaii’s Galliard String Quartet. Colin Belisle received both a Master of Music degree and Graduate Diploma from the New England Conservatory, and a Bachelor of Music degree from Lawrence University Conservatory of Music. His teachers include Carol Rodland, Matthew Michelic, Kim Kashkashian, and Simon Rowland-Jones at the Royal College of Music in London, where he studied additionally. Outside of the Hawaii Symphony, Colin has performed regularly with the Rhode Island Philharmonic, New World Symphony in Miami, and Portland Symphony. He was a fellow at festivals such as Aspen Music Festival, Banff, National Orchestral Institute, and Bowdoin. As a chamber musician he has performed solo and chamber works in New York City’s Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Symphony Space, Boston’s Jordan Hall, Boston Symphony Hall, and has collaborated professionally with members of the Borromeo, Cleveland, Fine Arts, New Hellenic, Bryant Park, and Turtle Island string quartets, as well as members of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. An enthusiast of contemporary music, he has performed the world-premiere of Augusta Read-Thomas’ Incantation for solo viola, as well as premiering works by Michael Gandolfi, Kenji Bunch, Martin Bresnick, Mohammed Fairouz, Pozzi Escot, Halim El-Dabh, and Jennifer Higdon. He has recorded works of the Pulitzer-Prize-winning composer, Yehudi Wyner, on his album Commedia, which is available on Naxos and Albany labels.

How I got started playing my instrument

While growing up as a singer, I started on viola in private lessons and through the public school system. My siblings played horn, percussion, and viola. My love for strings and harmony especially made me gravitate towards that. I was more interested in the inner workings of the ensemble, as well as the vocal and earthy quality of the viola. Violin always catches my attention, but I love the dark contrast viola has to the violin’s soprano voice.   

Favorite composer

This is too difficult to narrow down because I love them for different reasons: Schubert, Mozart, Prokofiev, and Hindemith

Favorite solo piece

Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto no. 3, Mozart Sinfonia Concertante, Hindemith Op. 31 No. 4 Solo Sonata

Other than classical music, ____ is on my phone/iPod:

Beatles, The Who, The Kinks, Velvet Underground, Tame Impala, Muse, Brad Mehldau, Nina Simone 

Activities, hobbies, interests, outside of music:

Studying History, Reading, Singing, Hiking, Going to the Beach, Traveling, Playing with my awesome Guinea Pigs  

Guilty pleasure:

Great Scotch Whiskey, TV/Films from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s