Even though Garden Strings was officially formed in 2004, three of us have been playing chamber music together for over 20 years! We are a group of friends who enjoy playing music together, exploring new arrangements and musical styles, and want to share our music with others. We have traveled and performed internationally, teach music, and perform in orchestras from San Francisco to Walnut Creek to Napa. Almost every weekend, you will find us performing for Bay Area weddings, parties, and special events. We look forward to sharing our music with you!
Icelandic violinist Hrabba Atladottir studied in Berlin, Germany with professor Axel Gerhardt. After finishing her studies, she worked as a freelancing violinist in Berlin for five years, regularly playing with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Deutsche Oper, and Deutsche Symphonieorchester. Hrabba also participated in a world tour with the Icelandic pop artist Björk, and a Germany tour with violinist Nigel Kennedy.
In 2004, Hrabba moved to New York, where she played on a regular basis with the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Orchestra of St. Luke’s and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra among other orchestras.
Since August 2008, Hrabba is based in Berkeley, California, where she has been performing as a soloist as well as with various ensembles, such as The Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, The Empyrean Ensemble, The ECO ensemble and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players to name a few. Hrabba is a violin lecturer at UC Berkeley.
Sharon Wood, violinist, began playing the violin at the age of nine. She received her Bachelors Degree in music from California State University, Hayward, and furthered her studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She plays with many local groups, including the California Symphony, Modesto Symphony, and the Sacramento philharmonic. Sharon enjoys playing chamber music with the Avalon String Quartet as well as the Garden String Quartet. In addition to her large home teaching studio, Sharon teaches violin and orchestra at Black Pine Circle and the Crowden School of Music in Berkeley.
Violinist Liz Rivard, a Colorado native, earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University, where she studied with Yuval Yaron and Franco Gulli. She continued her studies in Violin Performance at The Longy School of Music in Boston, MA where she studied with Joseph Silverstein. She is a former member of The Phoenix Symphony and The Florida Orchestra and has also performed with the Colorado Symphony, Utah Symphony and Santa Fe Opera Orchestra. She has participated in many music festivals such as Tanglewood Music Center, Aspen Music Festival, Spoleto USA Festival, Interlochen Arts Festival, Crested Butte Music Festival and Mendocino Music Festival. An active Symphonic and Chamber musician, Liz performs throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Ilana Blumberg Thomas, violin, has been featured as soloist with the San Francisco and Albany (NY) Symphonies and appeared nationwide at festivals including the Marlboro Music Festival, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and the Tanglewood Music Center. As an orchestral musician, Ms. Thomas served as the associate concertmaster of the Albany Symphony Orchestra in New York for seven seasons. She now holds the Associate Concertmaster chair with the Modesto Symphony Orchestra and the Principal Second Violin chair in Symphony Napa Valley and the Merced Symphony. She also appears frequently throughout the Bay Area with the Marin Symphony, Symphony Silicon Valley, the Berkeley Symphony, the Sacramento Philharmonic and the California Symphony.
On five-string electric violin, she has recorded and performed with independent rock, blues, and country bands, and recently toured with indie vocalist Doe Eye. She has supported internationally renowned headline acts such as Luciano Pavarotti, Sarah Brightman, Third Eye Blind, and Eric Clapton and appeared on Bob Weir’s live national webcast from Tri Studios in Marin.
Pauline Metzgar, violist and native of the East Bay, was a music major at UC Berkeley before accepting a full scholarship to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She received her Bachelor of Music from the Conservatory and studied viola with Paul Hersh and Isadore Tinkleman. Pauline has played in numerous professional orchestras and toured Europe with Leonard Bernstein and Christoph Eshenbach. Pauline is a member of the Modesto Symphony and also plays with the Sacramento Philharmonic.
Dina Weinshelbaum, received her B.A. in Music from UC Berkeley, where she studied with Colin Hampton. She currently teaches at Black Pine Circle School in Berkeley and maintains a private teaching studio from her home. In addition to teaching cello, Dina plays with many Bay Area groups, including San Francisco Opera Center Orchestra, Berkeley Symphony, California Symphony, Modesto Symphony, and Oakland East Bay Symphony. She enjoys performing with Parlor Tango as well as with Garden Strings.
Anne Lerner-Wright has been performing as a cellist in the Bay Area since 1989, when she moved from her native Chicago to study with Irene Sharp as a Masters student in cello performance at the San Francisco Conservatory. Previously, she studied at Bryn Mawr College as a Spanish Literature major and completed her Bachelor of Arts in Music at Northwestern University. Anne has performed with many Bay Area orchestras and is a sought-after chamber musician and performer of contemporary music. An equally important part of Anne’s musical life is music education. Having just finished an eleven year tenure as a music teacher at San Rafael High, Anne is focusing her teaching energy on conducting, teaching private cello lessons and working with Enriching Lives Through Music, an El Sistema-inspired program that serves San Rafael’s Canal community. She is the conductor of the Crescendo Orchestra, the training orchestra for the Marin Symphony Youth Orchestra, and is on the faculty of the Marin Community Music School. Besides performing as a cellist and conductor, Anne also has a passion for singing and participated in the Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute where she performed the role of the Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.