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Esha Neogy is a viola da gamba (viol) player and event organiser who lives in London and makes regular visits to her hometown of Honolulu. In addition to Ensemble Tramontana, the groups and individuals she has performed with include Musica Antica Rotherhithe, Musicke in the Ayre, Lutesinger (Helen Atkinson), Chelys Consort of Viols, Echoing Air, the Hastings Philharmonic, the Hawaii-based group Europa Early Music Consort, and various other ensembles and theatre groups. The first syllable of Esha’s name is pronounced like saying the name of the letter A, to rhyme with ‘may’.

Esha is developing a practice in teaching early music, particularly to adult beginners who would like to make music for fun. She has served as a deputy teacher of the adult viol class at Morley College; led numerous Artists-in-the-Schools programmes in Hawaii on early music; assisted with beginners’ classes for the Viola da Gamba Society (Great Britain) and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance; demonstrated the different sizes of viol and held ‘try a viol’ sessions for various schools and choirs; and hosted relaxed ‘discomfort zone’ viol sessions at her house for competent musicians who would like to get out of their ‘comfort zone’ by learning a new instrument socially along with their peers.

The events Esha has directed or organised include the international Pan-Pacific Gamba Gathering, which was held in Honolulu in 2007 on the theme of the viol as a ‘world’ instrument and included sessions on crossover and new music as well as the viol’s core history and repertoire. She has volunteered for numerous charities/non-profit organisations including the Viola da Gamba Society (Great Britain), Katherine McGillivray’s Get a Life Fund, Early Music Hawaii (as a founding member), and Children’s Literature Hawaii (as conference director). She has also served or worked as a writer, editor, deafness services provider, and mediator.

Esha did postgraduate studies in early music at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, in which she specialised in the viola da gamba under the tutelage of Alison Crum and worked toward a Master of Arts in Music Education and Performance. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from the University of Hawaii. Most recently, Esha is learning the vielle/medieval fiddle and the lira da braccio, with her eye on the lirone. She has also joined a weaving class – yet another use for strings!