Dr. Phillip Serna

Viola da Gamba Faculty
Viola da Gamba
Program Area: 
Group Lessons
Private Instruction
With Music Institute of Chicago since: 

Phillip received his Doctor of Music from Northwestern University School of Music in 2007, his Master of Music from Northwestern University School of Music in 2001, and his Bachelor of Music from San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 1998.

Significant teachers and mentors: 

Over the years, Mr. Serna has had many qualified teachers and mentors, but among them all those that have truly impacted his career are: Catherina Meints, Wieland Kuijken, and Mary Springfels with whom he studied viola de gamba. et al

Awards and achievements: 

Dr. Phillip Serna is instructor of double bass and viola de gamba at Valparaiso University. He is also director of the Music Institute of Chicago Early Music Department's viola de gamba education and outreach program, 'Viols in Our Schools'. For his work through this program, he received the 2010 Early Music America Outreach Award, which honors ensembles or individual artists for excellence in early music outreach and educational projects for children or adults. He has also appeared as double bass faculty at the Chicago Bass Festival, the Butler Midwest Bass Day, and the Whitewater Winter Bassfest. In 2007, his article, 'Early Strings in the Classroom/Introducing Students to Renaissance and Baroque String Repertoire on Period Instruments' was published in the American String Teachers Association String Teacher's Cookbook- Creative Recipes for a Successful Program.

Professional affiliations & activities: 

Phillip has had the opportunity to perform on viols with Ars Antigua, the Bach Collegium of Fort Wayne, Black Tulip, Burning River Baroque, the Chicago Early Music Consort, Duo fantaisie en Echo, the Madison Bach Musicians, the Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra, New Comma Baroque, the Newberry Consort of Viols, the Second City Musick, the Spirit of Gambo - a Chicago Consort of Viols and many others. He has also contributed articles to the Bass World- the Official Magazine of International Society of Bassists, the American String Teacher, Illinois ASTA's the Scroll, and is an active contributor to the Arts Addict Blog, the Contrabass Conversations podcast, and the online bass resource.

Additionally, Dr. Serna is a member of the ISB (International Society of Bassists), the ASTA (American String Teachers Association), the EMA (Early Music America), the SSCM (Society for Seventeenth-Century Music), and is president of the VdGSA (Viola de Gamba Society of America) Chicago chapter.

Interests outside of music: 

Aside from his musical interests, he also enjoys art, film, and literature.

Favorite quote: 

"If it is for art, it is not for all, and if it is for all, it is not for art." - Arnold Schoenberg

Favorite composer or piece to play: 

Viol Concerti: Johann Gottlieb Graun’s Concerto for Violin, Viola da Gamba, Strings & Continuo; Rudolph Dolmetsch’s Concertino for Viola da Gamba and Small Orchestra; Various Concerti by Johann Pfeiffer, Georg Philipp Telemann & others! Contemporary Viol Works: Martha Bishop, Eliza Brown, Geoffrey Gordon, Lynn Gumert, David Loeb & many others! Viol Solos: Assorted works by Carl Friedrich Abel, C.P.E. Bach, J.S. Bach, Dietrich Buxtehude, Le Sieur Dubuisson, Carolus Hacquart, Georg Friedrich Händel, Tobias Hume, Marin Marais, Diego Ortiz, Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe, Johannes Schenck, Christopher Simpson & many others! Viol Consorts: William Byrd, Alfonso Ferrabosco I & II, Orlando Gibbons, John Jenkins, William Lawes, Henry Purcell & many others!

Research and presentations / publications: 

2013 Historically Informed Performance Summit at the International Society of Bassists Convention at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY: 'Making Your Baroque Solos More H.I.P.' in conjunction with Jessica Powell Eig's performance 'The Cuckoo’s Egg …or Just Plain Cuckoo? Transcriptions of Early Music for Double Basses' 2007 American String Teachers Association String Teacher's Cookbook - Creative Recipes for a Successful Program: ‘Early Strings in the Classroom/ Introducing Students to Renaissance and Baroque String Repertoire on Period Instruments’ Contributor to Bass World - the Official Magazine of the International Society of Bassists, the American String Teacher, Early Music America Magazine & the VdGSA News - the Newsletter of the Viola da Gamba Society of America