About us

The Cisraritanian Consort of Viols was established in 2010 as an outgrowth of the performing and teaching activities of Roland Hutchinson, a California-born, American-trained early-string specialist who has long hung out his shingle as the Garden State’s foremost exponent of the viola da gamba. (This, as the Star-Ledger has observed, is “comparable to being ruler of an exceptionally small duchy.”)

 We take our name from the region we fondly and whimsically call “Cisraritania”—“the land this side of the Raritan River.”

In addition to presenting its performing ensemble of New Jersey-based violists da gamba, the consort is developing projects to promote the viol and early music generally throughout metro New Jersey. In summer 2011 the consort was invited to present two lecture-recitals for the Chamber Music Institute of the American String Teachers Association (New Jersey Chapter), a two-week residential course for young string players held on the campus of Kean University. This resulted in an invitation for Roland to return and teach two week-long classes the following summer, which introduced nearly forty young area string players to viol playing.

The consort particularly invites inquiries from New Jersey amateur and professional string players who are interested in learning more about, or learning to play, the violas da gamba.

Members of the Consort

Consort founder Roland Hutchinson has performed on viola da gamba with groups including Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (San Francisco), the Bach Aria Group, and the Boston Camerata; taught viola da gamba at Stanford University, at Sarah Lawrence College, and at Montclair State University; demonstrated the viola da gamba and historical string technique for the Juilliard School and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; lectured on the baryton and on early tuning systems for the Viola da Gamba Society of America; and taught at workshops for the Society and its regional chapters, for Viols West, and for Amherst Early Music. In addition to broadcast performances on public radio in the USA and on Dutch television, his recording credits include discs on the Erato and Centaur labels as well as the Hauschka Ensemble’s CD of the complete music for two barytons by Joseph Haydn on Esoteric Binaural.

Mr. Hutchinson studied viola da gamba with the noted American teachers Sarah Cunningham and John Hsu, and musicology and early-music performance at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at Stanford University. In his modern-instrument life in New Jersey, in addition to doing a bit of conducting and composing when he can, he has served as principal viola and/or acting concertmaster of the Livingston, Ridgewood,and Metropolitan symphony orchestras, the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey, the August Symphony Orchestra, the Garden State Sinfonia, and the orchestras of New Jersey Concert Opera, the Essex County Summer Players, and the Society of Musical Arts. He has been profiled in “I am New Jersey,” the Star-Ledger series “about New Jerseyans who make the Garden State a better place.”

Ilizabeth Cabrera has a Bachelors in Music from Hartt School of Music (Hartford, CT) and a Master of Music Degree from Mason Gross School of the Arts of Rutgers University. She studied cello with David Finckel, Paul Olefsky, David Wells, Stephen Kates, and Yehuda Hanani, and participated in master classes with Raya Garbousova and Mstislav Rostropovich. She studied viola da gamba with Mary Ann Ballard. Ms. Cabrera maintains an active teaching studio in Whippany and performs professionally with a number of area ensembles. She also performs as a freelance cellist with orchestras and choral groups throughout the tri-state area.

Douglas Hardin is a native New Jerseyan who has played in numerous local orchestras and chamber groups as a cellist and a gambist for over fifty years. As gambist his local credits include work with The Madrigal Singers, the Sine Nomine Consort, and the Nicolai Consort. During four years in England while studying molecular physics as a Churchill Scholar at the University of Cambridge he was a member of the Cambridge Consort of Viols. He was a cello student of Mary Gili, Laszlo Varga, and Janos Starker, and a viola da gamba student of Jane Ryan and Laura Jeppesen.

Annette James graduated with a BA in music from Florida State University, where she played in the Collegium Musicum under Jeffery Kite-Powell; she was subsequently a member of Cecil Adkins’s University of North Texas Collegium. Ms. James has been a musician with the Utah Shakespearean Festival, the California Shakespeare Festival, and Zorzal, a New Jersey and Pennsylvania-based vocal and instrumental ensemble dedicated to the performance of Spanish and Latin American music from the 12th century to the present. Before moving to New Jersey to raise a family she lived in the San Francisco Bay area for twelve years, where she studied viola da gamba with John Dornenburg. Her early instrumental training was as a violinist.

Sheryl Reed studied cello and music education at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and fashion buying, merchandising, and design at Fashion Institute of Technology. A former principal cellist of the Livingston Symphony Orchestra, Ms. Reed started playing the tenor viol a few years ago as a participant in the Cisraritanian Consort of Viols outreach program to local string players. She has also performed locally with the Ridgewood and South Orange symphony orchestras and in the orchestras of numerous musical theater productions. A recent project was a recital on cello of music by Bach, Gershwin, and Piazzolla in collaboration with pianist Greg Dlugos. She enjoys teaching cello privately to both children and adults.