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Roslyn Green with ViolaViolin and Viola Mentor Roslyn Green is certainly keeping busy! She’s starting her second season as the Principal Viola of the Des Moines Symphony, a position which has helped her to model the all-important skill of time management for her mentees. She’s reduced her teaching, administrative, and freelance loads to manage the extra prep and travel time. She also plays as a substitute with the Elgin Symphony, rejoins the Civic Orchestra Fellows on occasion to lead songwriting projects, and plays frequently with the Milwaukee Symphony. In the past she has served as Associate Principal Viola of the Illinois Symphony, Chamber Music Institute Director of the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestras, and Section Viola of Orchestra Iowa.

Like so many CMPI mentors and staff members, Roslyn came to CMPI through her connections with another CMPI staff member, specifically James Hall. Roslyn was nearing the completion of a viola fellowship with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, which at the time was overseen by James, and followed him to CMPI as a mentor. It’s a reminder to all of us just how important the classical music network always is.

Roslyn’s path to music and the viola was quite the winding road, but it was mentorship that helped her to realize her dream. “Mentorship played a huge role in my development as a musician. I went to university to study English and Drama but wanted to return to music as a career after I finished (on violin at the time). I reached out to a former chamber music coach for advice, and he helped me for years, advising on teachers, next steps, and navigating difficult professional situations. Eventually, he even showed me enough viola to get me into an Artist Diploma program. I didn’t have family in music who understood how the industry worked, so having someone who understood how to build the right skills and career moves was absolutely essential for me – I’m still grateful to him every day!”

She finds one of the most important things she can provide her mentees is validation. “Sometimes the most rewarding moments are just being able to validate a problem. Knowing that something is difficult, not because you’re doing something wrong, but because it’s just… difficult!”

The lack of insider knowledge that plagued her early years is what she sees as one of the most important aspects of CMPI. “CMPI provides a network of insiders to help with the resources and strategy of building a musical career early on. It is amazing! Things that are ‘normal’ or expected for young musicians on a career track (like going to major summer festivals or choosing the right music school) are not obvious to families who aren’t already ‘in the game.’ I grew up with non-musician parents, so we relied entirely on advice from private teachers, who may not always have the big picture in mind.”

Outside of music, Roslyn enjoys spending time with her sister. Previously, she had no family around since she came from Canada. “But not long ago, my sister moved to Chicago! I’ve been so happy to take her to the Art Institute, and as the seasons change, I can’t wait to go to the Christkindlmarket together.”

Most of all, Roslyn loves to see her mentees “getting opportunities and getting the support and guidance to make the most of them. I can’t wait for CMPI Fellows to start popping up as my colleagues in professional orchestras!”


Roslyn Green, Photo Credit SpiderMeka portraits

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