Meet violist, composer and teaching artist Kathryn Cobbler

Kathryn Cobbler © Fangliang Xu

“Arts Alive will serve as a catalyst for creativity and for artist engagement in the community.”

Kathryn Cobbler is a loop pedal violist who has performed in some of the most notable concert series in Canada’s capital region, including Music & Beyond, the Shenkman Arts Centre, Music at Southminster, and Ottawa New Music Creators’ Analogue Series, to name a few. She’s also a composer and teaching artist who has shared her expertise and experience to help support the development of Arts Alive.

Q. How did you start out as an artist when you were a kid?

I started piano at age six but switched to violin when I was seven. I couldn’t handle melody with two hands! I also began as a visual artist and still work in visual arts today when I’m teaching and giving workshops.

Q. What did music bring you as a child?

The biggest thing was the sense of community that it built. The group classes, chamber music, music making in community. To this day my favourite places to play are community spaces.

Q. You are a loop pedal violist. What does that mean?

It’s a tool that helps me record my sound. It’s like an effects pedal that makes it sound like there are two, or three, or five of me! I think of it as an extension of my solo practice. I actually don’t use a lot of effects and try to keep my sound as acoustic as possible.

Q. How have you been involved with Arts Alive?

I’ve been supporting the development of the project. It’s been great to work with everyone at the National Arts Centre. We all have different points of view and perspectives. It’s been wonderful as a teaching artist to see the other side of things, how the support work is being crafted.

Q. What do you think Arts Alive will do for schools and home learning?

My hope is that Arts Alive will serve as a catalyst for creativity and for artist engagement in the community. It can be a place where you can access arts resources and videos, but it can also serve as inspiration for communities to start their own artistic projects. It’s also a great way to showcase the amazing work and artists right across the country.

Q. How do the arts spark creativity in children and young people?

The arts are an expressive tool for kids to fuel their own artistic expression, which is so important at a time like this. It helps keep a sense of normalcy and serves as a framework to process many different emotions.

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