Simon Ertz - viola

Simon Ertz - viola

Today we’re going to start a series of interviews with classical musicians – instrumentalists and composers – which will give some interesting insights into life as a professional musician, and give us an opportunity to learn about their background, goals, and the projects they’re currently working on.

I’m delighted to start out this series with an interview with Simon Ertz, who plays viola with the Degas Quartet, a critically acclaimed string quartet based in North Carolina.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself – where you’re from and how you got started in music?

I grew up in Scotland, and after a late start, moved to Manchester at 17 to have regular lessons. I did my undergrad at the Royal Northern College of Music, freelanced in NW England for a couple of years before moving to the USA.

What are you doing these days? What ensembles do you play with, who do you collaborate with?

I’m playing with the Degas Quartet, but also fit in freelancing with orchestras in North Carolina and play with the Sarasota Opera Orchestra.

When’s your next concert and what will you be playing?

Our next quartet concert is October 3 in Fearrengton, NC (near Raleigh) – a traditional program of Haydn Op 20#2, Barber Quartet, and Beethoven Op 59#2, all fantastic music.

When you’re preparing a piece for the first time how do you select an edition of sheet music to play from? How do you go about creating your interpretation of a piece?

When there is a choice of editions like for Haydn and Beethoven we are pretty lucky there are some very good urtext editions available, I think creating an interpretation requires a pretty long answer! Its a collaboration between the four of us and our collective past experience and vision of the music.

What music do you most enjoy listening to? Who do you most admire?

I always enjoy hearing new groups and of course there are so many fantastic established groups and musicians around: Takacs, Brentano, and Fry Street Quartets to name a few.

Thank you to Simon Ertz from the Degas Quartet for taking time for this interview. You can read more about the Degas String Quartet on their website at

Simon mentioned three pieces that the Degas Quartet will be playing on their upcoming concert – follow the links below to find string quartet sheet music for each of them at

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