Violist Ames Asbell has performed classical, tango, and popular music in over 30 countries around the world, in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to universities to clubs. She appears on dozens of internationally released CDs, film scores and broadcasts, including the Dixie Chicks’ Grammy-winning Home, Richard Linklater’s arthouse hit film Waking Life (in which she also appears onscreen), and six appearances on PBS television staple Austin City Limits. From 2001 to 2005, she toured globally with rock legend David Byrne (of Talking Heads), appearing with him on broadcasts such as Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Late Show with David Letterman and Later...with Jools Holland (BBC) as well as two international DVD releases.
After earning the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The University of Texas, Ames put down roots in Austin, where she is currently violist of the classical crossover Tosca String Quartet, Principal Violist of the Austin Opera Orchestra and a member of the Austin Symphony Orchestra. She appears regularly with the Victoria Bach Festival, Conspirare and Arizona Musicfest, and is also in great demand as a chamber musician throughout the area.
Ames has performed with artists in a wide variety of musical styles, such as Andrea Bocelli, Stevie Wonder, Bernadette Peters, John Cale, Gilberto Gil, Bonnie Raitt, and Harry Connick, Jr. She has played tango in Argentina, most notably at the Fifth World Tango Summit in Rosario in 2000 with Tosca Tango Orchestra performing the Nuevo tango chamber compositions of Glover Gill. Her orchestral experience includes the San Antonio Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, and regional orchestras around the state of Texas, and she has also performed on Baroque viola with La Follia Austin Baroque and the St. Cecilia Baroque Festival. She has recorded for labels such as Nonesuch, Harmonia Mundi, Naxos, Sony and Merge, as well as a multitude of smaller and independent labels.
A passionate teacher, Dr. Asbell has twice had the honor of teaching the top high school violist in the state of Texas, and her former students have gone on to study at prestigious schools of music such Eastman, Rice, Oberlin, Peabody and others. She has served on Texas State University faculty since 2005, teaching viola and chamber music as well as theory and music literature courses and performing with faculty ensembles. In fall 2010, she launched the Texas State String Project, a Suzuki-based community outreach program which offers string instruction to San Marcos-area elementary-school students.