Published: Oct. 9, 2014


Geraldine Walther

By Joshua Kosman | Houston Chronicle

It's been nearly a decade since Geraldine Walther packed up her viola and left the ranks of the San Francisco SympCalifornia drought: Major cutbacks by many Northern Californians

hony in favor of the life of a chamber musician. It doesn't sound like she regrets the decision for a moment.

“It’s been great,” she said recently, her trademark ebullience coming through the phone line from central Pennsylvania. “It's been an education, and it’s still an education.”

Walther left San Francisco in 2005 after nearly 30 years as the Symphony’s principal violist to join the Takács Quartet, the brilliant Hungarian-English-American ensemble that is in residence at the University of Colorado Boulder. It meant giving up a comfortable post — and a reputation as one of the orchestra’s most admired and beloved musicians — for a grueling touring schedule and a whole new body of music.