Period violinist/violist Emma Alter is described by Paul McCreesh as 'one of the finest players of her generation,' and has been saluted by Music and Vision for her "beautifully rich tone, and an almost gypsy earthiness".
Emma enjoys all the different periods of the vast repertoire of period music, in solo, chamber and orchestral formats, and loves the variety this has given her musical life.
Renaissance: Emma has performed and recorded renaissance repertoire with: I Fagiolini, His Majesties Sacbutts and Cornetts, Gabrieli Consort, New London Consort (including her first Prom in 1997) and Braccio! a renaissance violin band based in Holland.
Baroque: playing baroque music is the standard repertoire of period instrument orchestras, and Emma has worked with nearly all of the top Early Music groups in Britain.
She is principal viola for Simon Standage's CM90 ensemble (for over six years); principal viola of La Nuova Maniera (2007-2012), and has been guest principal for many groups including: Academy of Ancient Music, Gabrieli Consort and Players, and the Sixteen. She is/has been a regular member of the AAM, Gabrieli Consort and Players, the Early Opera Company, English Baroque Soloists, the Sixteen, amongst many others.
Classical, Romantic and Modern: Emma has been fortunate to play not only the classical greats of Haydn Mozart and Beethoven, but later repertoire with period groups, including that of Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn and Britten. This has included Arcangelo, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Hanover Band, Classical Opera, and Orchestre Romantique et Revolutionnaire. She is a founder member of the period group Constanze Quartet, performing music spanning from the 17th to 20th century.
She has performed in prestigious music venues around the globe: including the Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, Albert Hall, Musikverein, Concertgebouw, Shakespeare's the Globe, to name a few. She has been fortunate to have travelled worldwide, performing in the spice markets of Damascus, Roman amplitheatres of Jordan, Arafat's hotel complex in Gaza, to concert halls in North America and the Far East; as well as most countries in her home continent of Europe. She has also worked in France, Holland, and in North America.
Teaching: Emma has been teaching violin and viola for twenty years, and is currently a senior violin tutor at Hill House International School in London. She specialises in teaching beginners (5-14 year olds) and period performance practise.
She is a qualified Feldenkrais Method teacher, The Feldenkrais Method is based on sound principles of neuroplasticity, physics, anatomy, bio-mechanics, and the neurological conditions under which the brain/nervous system learns.
Emma specialises in working with performers playing through physical discomfort, and pain. Emma has helped musicians with:
performance anxiety ; increasing artistic expression; postural issues; restricted movement; chronic tension (including back pain; shoulder pain; frozen shoulders); RSI.
Emma helps clients find out which movement habits are holding them back, and works with them to find and explore new ways of moving more freely: facilitating change in their posture and how they use their physical selves. This process encourages new patterns of moving, sensing, and thinking: allowing greater and freer artistic expression to emerge.
She runs regular Feldenkrais for Musicians workshops in London.
Emma is a polymath: not only a performer. She is a bow-maker (an expert in period bows), designer of leather mutes, and bespoke ergonomic chin rests for the violin family.
Find out more about Emma's mutes here