Violist Amelia Hollander Ames is passionate about bringing music to all audiences via performance, education and collaboration. She is the founder of the musicians’ collective Con Vivo Music, which presents adventurous, accessible and free chamber music concerts in her hometown of Jersey City, NJ. Since moving to Massachusetts in 2013, Amelia has performed with many local ensembles, including A Far Cry, Antico Moderno, BMOP, Boston Philharmonic, Orchestra of Indian Hill (where she plays Principal Viola), Monadnock Festival String Quartet, Music at Eden’s Edge, the Portland Symphony, Radius Ensemble and the Rhode Island Philharmonic. She was part of the American Repertory Theater’s productions of “Crossing,” an opera by Matt Aucoin, and “Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812,” and has made guest appearances at the BEMF, Monadnock, and Rockport Festivals. Amelia is violist of the Craft Ensemble, a flexible chamber group (though usually a string quartet) comprised of good friends.
From 2004– 2007, Amelia was violist of the Israel Contemporary String Quartet and a member of Tel Aviv Soloists (“Solanei Tel Aviv”). With the Solanei, Amelia toured Austria and Switzerland, and performed with bassoonist Sergio Azzolini, countertenor Andreas Scholl, and violist Tabea Zimmermann. The ICSQ, meanwhile, was a mainstay of the Israeli new music scene, and collaborated with dozens of Israeli and American composers, premiering works by Tzvi Avni, Josef Bardanashvili, and Judd Greenstein, and crossing genre boundaries with pop music, theater and dance performances. They were featured regularly on Israeli TV, radio and in printed press, and internationally at the Singapore Arts Festival, Vancouver Jewish Music Festival, and on San Diego’s KPBS.
Amelia continues to devote a lot of her musical headspace to new music. Since moving back to the states from Israel, she has collaborated with numerous composers, including John Altieri, Lembit Beecher, Elliot Cooper Cole, Judd Greenstein, Rob Honstein, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Emily Koh, Lansing McLoskey, Matana Roberts, Erin Rogers, Betsy Schram, Caroline Shaw, and Mazz Swift.
Amelia can be heard on recordings released by the Naïve, New Amsterdam, Nonesuch, and Tzadik record labels, as well as on Con Vivo Music’s self-released debut CD, made possible due to the support of 135 Kickstarter donors.
As a teacher, Amelia has worked for over a decade with students of all ages. Currently she teaches strings in the Somerville Public School System. She has held teaching and conducting posts at Conservatory Lab in Boston; the Third Street Music School Settlement, City and Country School, and Interschool Orchestras in New York City (whom she conducted in Carnegie Hall in 2012); New Jersey City University in Jersey City; and at Hasadna Conservatory in Jerusalem. Amelia has led workshops and master classes all over Mexico with Cultures in Harmony and is a co-founder of Cuerdas Oaxaca, an intensive strings program, with cellist Michal Shein and violinist Shaw Pong Liu. Currently, Amelia maintains a private violin and viola studio at her home.
A graduate of the Eastman School of Music and New England Conservatory, Amelia owes a ton to her teachers/heroes: Martha Katz, Karen Ritscher, George Taylor, and Lisa Whitfield on viola; and Dominique Eade, Joe Maneri, Joe Morris and Hankus Netsky for improvisation.
Amelia lives in Arlington, MA with her husband Christopher, two young sons, and two catahoula leopard dogs (yes, that’s a real breed!).