Musician Spotlight: Katherine Williamson

By: Kendall Carwile

Katherine Williamson is in her seventh season with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, where she spent six seasons as an Arts Partner with the Rockefeller Quartet. She is now in her first season as Assistant Concertmaster and Director of the ASO String Academy. The Academy will have put violins and cellos in the hands of just under 400 Pulaski County schoolchildren by the end of the 19/20 season.

How old were you when you started to play the Violin?

I started taking violin lessons when I was 3 years old.

When did you start playing with the ASO?

I have been with the ASO since the fall of 2013.

How did you know that you wanted to pursue a career in music?

Both of my parents are orchestral musicians; I spent a lot of my childhood backstage. I knew that I wanted to pursue music after my first experience as part of a string quartet. I just fell in love with that repertoire.

What has been your favorite ASO concert?

One of my favorite concerts that I have participated in would be our opening concert this season with JoAnn Falletta.

If you could play any other instrument other than your own, what would it be? 

I would love to learn to play the cello or horn.

Who is your favorite composer? 

Picking a favorite composer is impossible, so I'll name three. Prokofiev, Beethoven, and Bach.

What advice would you give someone who is wanting to pursue a career in music? 

Ask yourself if you enjoy the process. Professional musicians spend the most time practicing and rehearsing, not performing. All of it must be loved to have a successful, happy career.

Do you have any pre-concert rituals?

Whenever I can, I walk to work. I don't drink caffeine if I am about to play a big concert, and I like to cook a piece of salmon a couple of hours before performing.

What has been a favorite moment you’ve had while being and ASO musician?

There have been too many enjoyable moments as a member of this orchestra to pick just one. My favorite part of working here is absolutely the fact that we have such a supportive work family. I felt welcomed on my first day, and still feel this way many seasons later. I will say that I always love the moment before the music starts. My stand partner has just walked out to tune the orchestra. Smiles are exchanged and it's just the musicians, waiting to begin together.

Katherine Williamson