Photo by Ted Copper
from Christopher Simpson: The Division-Violist 1659
Alison Crum is one of the best-known British exponents of the viol. As teacher, performer, and moving spirit behind several well-known early music groups, she has travelled all over the world giving recitals and lectures and teaching on summer schools and workshops.
After considering a career in meteorology, she decided to read music at Reading university as a French horn player. While there she started playing the viol, and later went on to study it with Wieland Kuijken in Brussels and Jordi Savall in Basle. She has made well over one hundred recordings with some of Britain's finest ensembles, including the Consort of Musicke, the Dowland Consort and Musica Antiqua of London. With the Rose Consort of Viols, Alison has made numerous CDs of English and continental consort music, and, as a soloist, she features on discs of Marais, Bach, and virtuoso Italian divisions. An increasing interest in earlier repertoire for the viol led her to make a duo recording, A Spagna in the Works, with her husband Roy Marks.
Alison is President of the Viola da Gamba Society of Great Britain, and was Professor of Viol at Trinity Laban Conservatoire in London where she trained many of today’s younger professionals over a period of more than 30 years. She is a visiting teacher at several colleges and universities in both Europe and the USA, and continues to direct many courses for amateur viol players. Alison is also the author of two highly acclaimed books on playing the viol, as well as a series of graded music books. She has been called the doyenne of British viol teachers.
Over the years her continuing interest in weather has led her to experience first-hand several exotic parts of the world—from dog sledging in Greenland to driving a Toyota Land Cruiser in Eritrea; and from climbing the more modest summits of the Himalayas to descending the depths of Death Valley.
Alison Crum, doyenne of British viol teachers, has a genius for explaining techniques and solving physical problems in terms of the simplest practical logic, without dogmatism or the least penchant for professional mystique.
Musical Times, England