Redwood Symphony paid tribute to Margaret Elliott, longtime musician and Los Altos resident, at its Feb. 11 concert at Cañada College in Redwood City.
Before the concert began, Eric Kujawsky, Redwood Symphony’s founder and conductor, honored Elliott as an original orchestra member, performing with the ensemble since 1985. After playing viola with the orchestra for 31 years, she is retiring at age 95.
Kujawsky noted that Elliott has been an inspiration to him and many of the orchestra’s musicians for her lifelong dedication to the pursuit of making music. She received a standing ovation from the audience and the orchestra members on stage.
Elliott grew up in a musical family in Omaha, Neb. Both of her parents were musicians. She and her three sisters sang and played piano from an early age. The four siblings learned string instruments in their early teens, performed in string quartets together and played in their high school and college orchestras. Elliott’s musical studies in high school and college focused mainly on vocal training, and she sang in many vocal ensembles over the years.
Since the 1960s, Elliott has played viola with numerous Bay Area orchestras and Santa Clara Valley musical theater companies, as well as chamber music in her home, at workshops and in the homes of her musician friends. She continues to play piano and viola most days, declaring that music has been one of the most meaningful activities of her life.