By Bryan Joseph Lee


Starting a new job can be tricky. But it didn’t take long for newly-appointed Principal Viola Lisa Steltenpohl to get her feet wet. Two weeks after joining the BSO, she makes her solo debut this weekend performing in Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos.


1. How are you enjoying your time with the BSO?

It’s been a whirlwind! I was with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra for around five years, and just started with the BSO a little over two weeks ago. Now, I have a solo in the Brandenburgs this week and a solo in the Vaughan Williams piece next week. I don’t know how I’m keeping it together!



2. What excites you most about your solo debut with the Orchestra?

Performing the viola solo in the Brandenburgs is a lifelong dream of mine. And it’s only my second week! It’s a little surreal. And playing with such awesome musicians! I’m so thrilled to call them my colleagues now.


3. Bach wrote six Brandenburgs, each with its own flair. What are the six things you can’t live without?

  • Family My dad is coming to the performance at Strathmore on Saturday night, so that should be fun. Mom is following the BSO on Facebook from outside Chicago. I also have a twin sister who plays oboe with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and a younger sister who lives in Virginia.
  • Music
  • Coffee My favorite coffee comes from this shop in Philadelphia called La Colombe, and I just found a bag of their coffee at Whole Foods!
  • CatsDoes that make me sound like a crazy cat lady?!
  • Chocolate
  • NutellaBecause Nutella deserves its own bullet point.


4. If you could give viola lessons to anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?

Ina Garten. In exchange for lessons, I would like to live with her and her husband Jeffrey in the Hamptons!



5. Finish this sentence: Baltimore is great because…

… it has the perfect location on the east coast – and an amazing orchestra!



You can see Principal Viola Lisa Steltenpohl this weekend performing Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos. CLICK HERE for more information.