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Who is Brandi Berry?

I'm a baroque violinist and bluegrass fiddler from deep in the heart of Texas :)  I grew up learning classical and folk music side by side, and have always been interested in playing multiple genres of music--from country, to avant-world rock, to jazz, to new music, and of course, classical.  Piano was actually my first instrument, and in college I learned the double bass as my secondary instrument.  Outside of music, I love fishing, long distance running, and salsa and flamenco dancing.

What turned you on to early music?

My undergraduate was at the University of North Texas, which had a large collegium directed by Lyle Nordstrom at the time.  I went to a baroque orchestra concert not knowing what to expect and instantly fell in love with the sound.  I approached Lyle afterwards to ask how I could get in the orchestra, got hold of a baroque violin and the rest is history!

What makes your instrument so special?

My instrument is actually a commission.  It just so happens that a period instrument maker (Tim Johnson) lives only an hour and half from my home town.  I had met him several times before and played for him, and he was able to construct an instrument that really fit me.  I even was able to hold the neck before it was attached to the mold for the ribs and rest of the body.  

What is your favorite piece of early music and why?

There are truly so many that I could point to, but I think hearing Monteverdi for the first time blew me away.  I can't remember which I heard first, but certainly the Vespers, Orfeo, and his 8th book of madrigals left a deep impression.  If it weren't for him and his genius, music would be very different as we know it today.  The way he moves harmonically, and the expression he can create within the movement of one note to the next has such passion and meaning that no note is taken for granted in his writing.

What are you most looking forward to about touring?

I am most looking forward to making music and spending some great times with Thomas, Phil, and Matt.  The music is sublime, and even more so, the honor to get to play it with these fantastic musicians and colleagues will make this tour more than worthwhile!