This is Jess’s Facebook page.
Jess Wyatt was another of my early guest interviewees who I burdened with writing out answers to my ignorant amateur questions about her instrument, the viola. We talk about it in the podcast episode, so just go listen, but some of her explanations and responses from that article were used when she was featured recently by the British Viola Society, of which I apparently need to be a member to access the content. The original (long) article is here.
I’m not sure Jess Wyatt would describe herself as such, but aside from being a violist, violinist and cellist (more about that in our discussion) as well as a teacher, I’d describe her above all as an ambassador for the viola. There are your viola player jokes, jokes about the instrument, its repertoire, etc., but Jess speaks (obviously) intelligently and convincingly about the charms and strengths of the viola, and shares a number of things the average listener might not know about what is really a ubiquitous part of string quartets, trios, symphonies. They all need at least one of them. “We’re there,” as she says. “It’s just, not a lot of people talk to us.”
So what’s in the viola repertoire? What’s Jess working on? In this first of two episodes with Jess, we speak about the charms of chamber music, Shostakovich, York Bowen, Eddie McGuire, viola concertos, Berlioz and the viola, recitals and a master class.
Jess is an excellent example of how enjoyable it is to listen to someone speak about what they know and love. As a result, we chatted quite a bit, ultimately resulting in two parts. (Even in a quick test call chat we had when Jess had an awful cold, we ended up chatting for almost an hour.) Go listen to the first part now, share with everyone you know, subscribe, and stay tuned for the second half of our chat in a few weeks (including details of the differences among violas as well as horrifying viola surgery and what it takes to get the instrument on planes).
Find Jess Wyatt at A Viola Player Writes and on Facebook, and her friends at Cambridge Violin Makers here or also on Facebook. There will be more links for the second half, where we discuss Jess’s upcoming performances at the Byre Theatre. Stay tuned and enjoy!