Meet the Musicians

Anita Perkins


Anita Perkins


Anita began her musical studies with Betty Alexander at the age of six, studying piano, music theory, and composition.  At age 9, she added violin to the mix, and added viola at 15, studying with John Spence and Joyce Ramee.  She won a full scholarship to the Northwest School in Seattle, WA, and served for two years as principal violist of their award-winning International Chamber Orchestra.  Anita spent time in high school playing in various area youth symphonies, and was in 1991-1992 the principal violist and student soloist in the Tacoma Youth Symphony.

After taking a gap year to pursue viola lessons and composition, she began studying viola performance at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with Don Ehrlich, and was a member of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra during their 1994-1995 season, accompanying the group on  their four-country European tour, where she got the opportunity to perform in such historic concert halls such as the Gewandhaus in Leipzig and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

Battling playing-related overuse injuries, Anita returned home to pursue her studies in Music Composition and Philosophy;  but after finding the experience somewhat less than rewarding, she dropped out of college to join a rock band.  Touring with Sub Pop artist Jeremy Enigk on the "Return of the Frog Queen" tour opened the doors for her musically in the Seattle rock scene, and soon she was in demand as a string arranger and recording artist, as well as roving music teacher.  In May of 2000, she founded a band with friends Josh Cowart and Michael Treacy called Hourglass Lake, whose debut album from 2002 prompted Seattle music notable and "The Stranger" staff writer Sean Nelson to write, "With... a musical stride that keeps one foot planted in NW indie pop and the other in early '80's U.K. wave, Hourglass Lake has just made Calliope, the most amazing out-of-nowhere debut CD I've heard in ages."  That same year, she released a 5-song EP collaboration "The Hush Hush" with singer-songwriter Amy Carlsen on Lujo records.

In 2002-2003, she started an after-school orchestra program at an underserved Middle School in Seattle's Central District.  The program was so popular that the school decided to bring orchestra back into the curriculum.  Having just taught herself out of a job, Anita decided to return to school, this time to Central Washington University for a degree in Music Education, but got sidelined by a need to perform.  In 2005, her quartet with cellist Bruce Walker and violinists Joel Thoreson and Lydia Tang won the Washington State MTNA Chamber Music Senior Division, and went on to compete in regionals.  She became a regularly appearing sub in the Yakima Symphony, and formally auditioned to join the orchestra in 2007.  

Having dropped out of college to pursue her financial health, Anita soon got heavily involved in the Eastern Washington "Freeway Philharmonic" symphony scene, performing as a regular member in the Yakima, Walla Walla, and Oregon East Symphonies.  She won a seat in Spokane in June of 2008 and moved to become a regular member of the symphony, holding down the 8th chair position for 10 years.

Anita has served on the faculty of EWU, appears regularly as a coach for the Spokane Youth Symphony, and is in demand in the region as a contest adjudicator, coach, summer camp instructor, and educator.  Currently, she teaches in the Spokane area and at Bella Note Music Studios in Sandpoint, Idaho.  She currently serves as an Executive Board member of Local 105 of the American Federation of Musicians in Spokane.  

Anita's favorite activities include reading, gardening, knitting, and teaching children the power of their own creativity.

About Anita Perkins:

With the Symphony since:  



Kent, WA

Schools attended:  

The Northwest School, San Francisco Conservatory, CWU

I first started to play music when:  

My sisters taught me chopsticks on the piano at age 4

Musical inspirations:  

Too many to enumerate.  The world is full of musical events that inspire

Favorite Composers:  

Bach, Brahms, Vaughan Williams, Shostakovich, Bartok, Britten, Walton, Ravel, Prokofiev, Stravinsky


Favorite works featuring my instrument:  

Does the viola ever get featured?  Faure Requiem, by default



reading, gardening, knitting, arguing about politics

Volunteer activities include:  

Performing, teaching, and mentoring

Books I like:  

Classics, because they're free on the Kindle; mysteries; anything else good.  Salinger, Hesse, Coelho

Favorite things to do in Spokane:  

Stay home with my cats.

<September 2021>
View All Events