Player Spotlight ~ Helen Gray-Bauer ~ Violist, Athlete, Scientist

Opus 73, 16” Viola, 1986

“Thank you again for this beautiful instrument! I just finished a 2-week workshop with the Portland String Quartet and everyone there loved my viola. It has an amazing tone and blends well with the other instruments in my quartet. I have so much fun playing the viola, and it is really helping me further my music career. Thank you!"

National Anthem before Basketball Playoffs

Helen has loved playing a Douglas Cox instrument for nearly half of her musical career. Having played viola since the age of seven she has studied both classical and bluegrass fiddle music. Helen joined the Portland Youth Ensembles when she was nine years old, and is currently the principal violist of the Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra for the third year. She has also played with the Maine All-State Honors Orchestra and the All-Eastern Honors Orchestra. Although Helen enjoys playing in an orchestral setting, she favors chamber music. She has been playing in various chamber groups through the Portland Conservatory of Music and the Portland String Quartet’s Summer Workshops for several years.

Helen is studying music and neuroscience at Skidmore College to become a Music Therapist, with a focus on researching the effects of music on neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

National Anthem before soccer game.

Helen was very inspired by her instrument’s history. Doug explained that the viola’s previous owner, Marylou Speaker Churchill for whom it was made, was a close friend of his who played violin with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. After her passing, her family returned it to Doug hopeful that he would find a young musician to carry on her legacy of inspiring the next music generation. Helen is very honored and excited to have the opportunity to play such a wonderful instrument.

While she very much enjoys music, Helen also likes to participate in sports. She is a tri-varsity athlete playing soccer, basketball, and lacrosse. She is also the leader of the Community Service activity at school. Helen has loved living on the coast of Maine, but she is very excited to move on to New York to continue her music career.

Photos © Brian Beard, Creative Images Photography
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