Born in Tampa (Florida) in 1950, Geraldine Walther joined the Takács Quartet in 2005. She was principal violist of the San Francisco Symphony from 1976 through 2005 and won first prize at the Primrose International Viola Competition in 1979. She currently teaches at the University of Colorado.

Geraldine Walther © Sarah Rose
Geraldine Walther
© Sarah Rose

What is your idea of chamber music heaven?

My idea of chamber music heaven would be having chamber music available and accessible to children as they grow. Then people would know what it is and love it as much as we all do.

Of what kinds of errors are you the most tolerant?

All errors – at least I try to be because that’s how I would want to be treated when I make a mistake. We are only human.

What makes an ideal partner in quartet?

Someone with whom you want to make music! If he or she is a kind person, with a good listening ability and a fun attitude, then I am game! Hope then that they want to play with ME!

What's your most notable characteristic when you're playing?

I try to be present and responsive to my colleagues in the moment.

What's your greatest defect?

Being too serious!

What's your favourite occupation (when you're not playing viola, of course)?

Going on my little morning jogs and reading, but not at the same time… Also talking to my husband who is a really nice guy.

If you could be any person in the history of music, who would you wish to have been?

Someone who didn’t suffer too much – so could be Haydn.

What is your favourite quartet (or individual quartet movement)?

The one I am playing now.

What has been your most beautiful concert?

It still has yet to be played.

Takács Quartet © Amanda Tipton
Takács Quartet
© Amanda Tipton

What has been your greatest musical disappointment?

I haven’t been disappointed in anything musical – I have been incredibly blessed and lucky to have had this career.

If you were to be reincarnated as a musical instrument (not a viola), which would you choose?

Bagpipes – I love the sound of them!

What's your violist's motto?

Enjoy what you are doing right now.