Principal Viola in the Dallas Opera Orchestra and teacher of strings to young people, Liesl-Ann deVilliers knew she wanted music to be her career the moment that a string orchestra visited her grade school in South Africa so many years ago. Born in New York City, Liesl lived most of her early years in South Africa. One of six children, all of whom played an instrument when they were young, Liesl would be the only one to become a professional musician and musical teacher. She was first introduced to the piano at about age 5. When she was 11 she saw and heard the orchestra visiting her school, her career path was set in her mind. After immigrating back to the U.S. in 1998, Liesl began studying viola under Susan Dubois, acquiring a Master’s Degree in Viola Performance from the University of North Texas. Since then, she has attended the National Repertory Orchestra in Colorado where she was principal viola and was featured as a soloist, and was selected as a Substitute player for the New World Symphony (Florida). In Texas, where she has lived for the past 14 years, she has played in numerous symphonies, including the Fort Worth Symphony, Dallas Symphony, and Richardson Symphony. In 2009, she got her first orchestral job with the Dallas Opera Orchestra, with which she has advanced to Principal Viola.
Katrina leads a dual life in both Dallas and her home in Connecticut: in addition to her position with the Dallas Opera Orchestra, she is Assistant Principal Violist of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, joined the Rhode Island Philharmonic's viola section in 2013 and, during the summers, is Principal Violist of the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, NY (where she has never visited the Baseball Hall of Fame). She performs as a substitute with the Albany Symphony, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra (as a former core member), and many other groups around New England, and was an original member of Chamber Music Charleston during a five-year residency in the Holy City. Holding degrees from the Peabody Conservatory and the Yale School of Music, her principal teachers were Karen Tuttle, Jesse Levine and Burton Kaplan, and she also received a Fulbright Grant to study baroque music in The Netherlands with Sigiswald Kuijken. On period instruments, she has performed with Texas Camerata, the Dallas Bach Society, Musicians of the Old Post Road, Arcadia Players, and Concerto Köln. When in Dallas, Katrina enjoys yoga and riding to work from Oak Cliff on her bike (ask her about getting places on DART!); at home in Connecticut, she tends her neglected garden and reconnects with her husband, bassist Ed Allman.
Donna Hall has been performing with the Dallas Opera Orchestra and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra since 1989 and 1990, respectively. She also performs in various ensembles in the metroplex, including Texas Camerata and Spectrum Chamber Music Ensemble. Summer music festivals she has participated in include two years with the Colorado Conservatory in Colorado Springs and three years with the Breckenridge Music Institute in Colorado. She will also be performing for her third year this summer in a collaboration concert with Texas Camerata and Queens Baroque Ensemble at the Eglise Saint-Louis-en-l'lle in Paris, France. Donna is also involved in private teaching as an adjunct faculty member at Southwestern Adventist University, in Keene.
Paul has accompanied artists as varied as Joan Sutherland, Ray Charles, Alicia de Larrocha, Van Cliburn, Luciano Pavarotti, Asleep at the Wheel, Andrea Bocelli, and Peter, Paul, and Mary. He also teaches privately at his studio in Fort Worth when he's not roasting his own coffee. He is the father of four musically inclined sons who play in tune most of the time.
A native of Denver, Colorado, Colin Garner is currently a tenured member of the Dallas Opera Orchestra viola section, a position he has held since May, 2008. His previous orchestral positions include Principal Violist of the Midland/Odessa Symphony and string quartet, Principal Violist of the Abilene Philharmonic, and Associate Principal Violist of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic. In addition to working in the Dallas Opera, he is a regular extra violist with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and plays in the Crested Butte (CO) Music Festival during the summer season. He attended numerous summer music festivals including the National Repertory Orchestra, and Tanglewood Music Center. Colin received a Masters degree in viola performance from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, and Bachelor degrees in music performance and education from the University of Colorado at Boulder. His primary teachers were Donald McInnes, Ralph Fielding, and Erika Eckert. Colin is an avid runner, and enjoys hiking, cooking, and sharing life's many adventures with his wife Keira, and 2 year old son Morgan.
Originally from Overland Park, Kansas, Meghan Birmingham has been a member of the Dallas Opera orchestra since 2010. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Wichita State University and a Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School. In addition to her musical interests, Ms. Birmingham is a Certified Public Accountant, earning the third highest score in Texas on the CPA exam in November 2000. In what little spare time she has, she enjoys running and riding her bike. She and her husband live near White Rock Lake with their two dogs.