Emily Chatham began her violin studies at age 5 at the University of Louisville School of Music. She graduated from NCSA with a degree in Violin Performance. She is founder of Carolina Chamber Players, a string quartet playing events throughout the Charlotte area. Chatham is also a Baroque violinist and won an Arts & Science Council grant to study baroque violin at the Longy Music School in Cambridge, MA. She has also studied and performed with Tafelmusik Baroque Institute in Toronto, Canada; Vancouver Early Music Festival; Oberlin Baroque Music Fest; and Amherst Early Music Institute. She loves to cook and stuff people she loves with food. She is the proud mom of Alexandra, Gabriel, and Sophia, and too many cats!
Hometown: Shelbyville, KY
I also played piano and did not like it, probably because my mom was a professional pianist and I needed to break away.
Does your instrument have a special story?
My violin was made by Kurt Widenhouse of Belmont, NC, and was made specially for me.
What would most surprise people about you?
I studied belly dance for seven years and have now studied Flamenco dance for seven years. I was also featured on the front page of The Charlotte Observer on Thanksgiving Day in 2012 for my Thanksgiving dinner for friends and musicians I have been doing for 20 years.
If you could meet one composer, who would it be and what would you ask him/her?
Bach. I'd ask him how he managed to write such a quantity of timeless, moving music and still make time to have so many kids! Did he have a nanny or two?
I always enjoy playing Orff's Carmina Burana. It ranges from movements of this great, powerful wall of sound to movements of quiet peace and utter tenderness. Such a cool piece.
Any pre-performance rituals?
I come very early to the hall before a concert--sometimes 2 hours beforehand--and practice, not only to warm up my fingers but to "get my head in the game." I usually have a cup of tea and chocolate or wonton soup!
Other than your instrument, what would we find in your instrument case?
A photo of my husband and three kids, a postcard of a housewife that says "Housework is evil and must be stopped," tea bags and chocolate--lots of chocolat. I also seem to be the Charlotte Symphony pharmacy: If you need a Band-Aid, aspirin, contact solution, dental floss, stop by my case.
What do you love most about being a professional musician?
I love being able to connect with people in a visceral way, whether to make them smile playing at a happy event like a wedding or even to bring them comfort at something sad, like playing a funeral.