Meet Jenny Douglass, Principal Viola

Jenny Douglass, Principal Viola

Season Chair Sponsor: Steven & Sally Schroeder
Chair Endowment: The Elsie Rigney Carr Chair

Jenny began her musical life at age four as a Suzuki violinist in Chapel Hill, NC. She was introduced to the viola at age thirteen during a summer music camp in the Berkshires and has never looked back. She earned degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Juilliard School. She is grateful to have studied with extraordinary teachers: Eugene Lehner, Louis Krasner, Felix Galimir, Robert Mann, Leon Fleisher, Lynne Ramsey, and Karen Tuttle.

Since 1999, Jenny has been the Principal Violist of the Marin Symphony, where she has appeared as featured soloist in Walton’s Viola Concerto, Bruch’s Double Concerto for Clarinet and Viola with Richard Stoltzman, and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with Jeremy Constant. Ms. Douglass is also a frequent substitute with the San Francisco Symphony. She joined the New Century Chamber Orchestra in 2010, and was featured alongside Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg in Lera Auerbach’s Sogno di Stabat Mater. She has been a regular performer with the NYC-based Orpheus Chamber Orchestra since 1992.

Jenny enjoys the challenge of balancing a busy concert schedule with an active family life. She lives in Mill Valley, CA with her husband and two sons, ages 14 and 16. She can usually be found chauffeuring, cooking, or cheering at her sons’ baseball games.

Interview: With Concertmaster, Jeremy Constant, for Masterworks 2, 2020

How did you get started with your instrument?

Jeremy: According to my parents, when I was six, I asked for violin lessons. They found a local violin teacher who said, “Six is too young—get him piano lessons for the first year.” I played both piano and violin all through school until I went to Juilliard. By that time, I had played violin in orchestras and I knew that was what I wanted to do. I was just astonished that I could be part of this huge sound, with that great repertoire.

Jenny: I started violin when I was four in a Suzuki program. I kept going with violin and started playing in youth orchestras, and it became more and more fun. I switched to viola the summer before 9th grade at a summer music camp. There were no violas there that year. It was raining, and my violin teacher said, “I will give you a violin lesson outside, or a viola lesson inside.” Basically, they needed someone to play viola that summer and I got picked. I never looked back. The viola is way better than the violin! We get all the juicy harmonies.
(Read entire interview)