Viols? In New Jersey?

The Cisraritanian Consort of Viols, March 2012. Left to right: Annette James, Douglas Hardin, Roland Hutchinson, Sheryl Reed, Ilizabeth Cabrera. (Photo: Don Riemer)

What?  You gotta problem with that?

As our name suggests, we are a chamber-music ensemble of viols (violas da gamba) of various sizes based “on this side of” (“cis-,” as in “Cisalpine Gaul” in Caesar and “cis-isomers” in chemistry) the Raritan River, in northern New Jersey, USA. If you head directly west from the Lincoln Tunnel, you’ll pass directly through our home territory on your way to the rest of America.

We play music from at least six or seven centuries, spanning a period from the late Middle Ages to the present day. There is a notable gap in our repertoire during the 19th century, when viols were not regularly played or composed for—but watch out for the occasional surprise.