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James Stecker Reviews the Arts: An Interview with Joëlle Morton,
December 28, 2014

Joëlle Morton is a widely sought performer and teacher, specializing in period instruments - renaissance and baroque violas da gamba, violoni and double basses. Active primarily as a soloist and chamber musician, Joëlle directs the Scaramella chamber music series in Toronto, and is also a regular guest for workshop teaching and early music projects, the world over. She has appeared as guest soloist or continuo player with many period ensembles in North America, including Tafelmusik, the New York Collegium, les Voix Humaines, Early Music Alberta, Rosa Barocca, Early Music Voices, Pegasus Early Music, New York State Baroque, I Furiosi, La Monica, Parthenia Consort of Viols, the Catacoustic Consort, Artek, Philomel, Concert Royal, Brandywine Baroque, Ensemble Soleil, Los Angeles Baroque, Musica Angelica and the Toronto Masque Theatre. She teaches viol and historical double basses at the University of Toronto, serves as curator for the spectacular Hart House collection of antique viols and in 2005, she designed and oversaw the implementation of the Consort Coop, a highly successful program for young professionals that is now a regular part of the annual summer Conclave for the Viola da Gamba Society of America.

Joëlle is much in demand as a musicologist and clinician. Recent scholarly work lays out and in fact, redefines, the full history and repertoire for the viola bastarda. She has published a great number of scholarly musical editions, including pieces for the lyra viol, the complete works of Orazio Bassani, and of Vincenzo Bonizzi, the complete solo and duo pieces by Bartolomeo de Selma e Salaverde, and Viennese cassations by J.B.Vanhal and Josef Mannl. For many years, she was the editor for the International Society of Bassists, and during her tenure as such, she established and oversaw their Online Journal of Bass Research. In 2017 she received the ISB's Special Recognition Award for Historical Performance and in 2005 she received its Special Recognition Award for Scholarship.

'Gioella dal Violon' studied viola da gamba with James Tyler, Wendy Gillespie and Mary Springfels and music history (especially of the renaissance) with Giulio Ongaro, earning her doctorate in Early Music Performance in 1997 at the University of Southern California. Prior to that, she was a modern double bassist, studying with Joel Quarrington, John Gowen, Thomas Martin, František Pošta and Ludwig Streicher, and earning a BM at the Curtis Institute of Music for work with Roger Scott, and a MM at USC working with Paul Ellison. She was briefly a member of the bass section in the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, before 'discovering' early music. When not playing, teaching or researching, Joëlle loves to cook (and eat, and drink), to be outside (with creatures, all kinds of creatures), gardening, designing websites (more than 20 of them, this one included), doing calligraphy (old-school with pen, ink and paper) and travelling/experiencing the world.

Bass viol after Henry Jaye 1619 by John Pringle, SL 76 cm

Joëlle with bass viol