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Hille Perl

Viola da gamba

Hille Perl is widely regarded as one of the leading exponents of the seductive arts of viola da gamba performance. Born in Bremen Germany into a musical family already predisposed to early music, her decision to play the gamba after attending a Wieland Kuijken concert when she was 5 years old is hardly surprising.

She studied with Niklas Trüstedt (Berlin) and with Pere Ros and Ingrid Stampa (Hamburg), earning her degree in 1990 at Bremen’s Academy for Early Music, where she studied with Sarah Cunningham and Jaap ter Linden.
Following her graduation, Perl steadily built her career and reputation throughout Europe, and soon began appearing on recordings. Among the earliest was a 1997 Deutsche Harmonia Mundi CD, “Retrouvé & Changé”, a program of works by the mysterious Sieur de Sainte-Colombe. Perl’s rich, warm tone and attention to “rhythmic interest on an instrument whose deep sonorous voice can result in rather monochromatic listening” set her apart from many of her gifted colleagues. Around this time Perl and Lee Santana (who plays the lute, theorbo, chitarrone, and Baroque guitar) released several projects as part of harpist Andrew Lawrence-King’s Harp Consort, including the classic “Spanish Dances.” Inspired by the opportunity to explore Latin aspects of early music performance, Hille and Santana formed their own performing unit “Los Otros” (The Others) in 2001. Their first recording, “Tinto”, a collection of works by Kapsberger, Corbetta, and others, appeared on RCA Special Imports in 2003. In 2004 Perl released one of her most acclaimed recordings, “Marais’ Pour La Violle”, with Santana, on Deutsche Harmonia Mundi (DHM). Perl and Santana also formed another ensemble, the Age of Passions with violinist/conductor Petra Müllejans and flutist Karl Kaiser joining them. She has made two recordings of gamba concertos with the Freiburger Barockorchester and recorded two solo CDs of the Sonatas by Johann Sebastian Bach. The adventurous Perl has also recorded on an electric viol featured on the 2014 album “Born To Be Mild” in 2014 and two CDs of ancient and contemporary music about the “Elements” in 2015 and “The Four Season” in 2016 with her daughter Marthe, a talented gambist in her own right.
Hille Perl’s busy concert schedule includes appearances at many of Europe’s major Music festivals. Her recordings for DHM Sony have earned wide critical acclaim and many prizes, including 4 German ECHO Klassik Awards and a Deutsche Schallplattenpreis. In 2017, Perl had her on-screen acting debut in Academy Award-winning Austrian director’s grim family drama/social commentary film, “Happy End.”
Since 2002, Hille Perl has taught viola da gamba at the Hochschule für Künste in Bremen.
When not on tour Perl lives on a farm in northern Germany with her family and some sheep, geese, chickens, three cats and two dogs, lots of trees and also grows vegetables.