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Rebekah Atkinson is an active performer and professional harpist on the Gulf Coast. She is passionate about collaborating with other musicians to bring timeless musical treasures to communities across the Southeastern states. In keeping with this goal, she enjoys a full and rewarding schedule playing with professional orchestras such as the Gulf Coast Symphony (Biloxi, MS), Sinfonia Gulf Coast (Destin, FL) and Pensacola Symphony (Pensacola, FL), participating in ensembles like the Tulane Chamber Orchestra (New Orleans, LA) and the Gulf Coast Harp Ensemble (Pensacola, FL), performing with opera companies and musical theaters, joining in services with churches and choral groups, and frequently appearing in concerts and recitals around the Mobile, Alabama area. Highlights from her last season include performing with the Irish Tenors and soloing with the Magnolia Chamber Orchestra in Debussy’s Sacred & Profane Dances.
Rebekah has a great love for chamber music and has both organized and participated in musical galas to benefit charities. She gets excited about starting new instrumental ensembles, experimenting with new arrangements of great pieces, and trying to design programs that make people happy, from the retirement home to the concert hall! Her favorite chamber group in which to play is undoubtedly the Atkinson Duo, a group which she founded over a decade ago with her brother Matthew, a professional violinist. In addition to making concert tours, the Atkinson Duo provides music each year for scores of weddings, church services, large corporate events, hotels such as the Grand Hotel, and the Mobile Ballet. When not busy with her performing career, Rebekah works as a vocalist, maintains a private studio, and is on the planning committee for the 2014 American Harp Society National Conference.
Rebekah grew up in a large musical family where all the siblings played an instrument. She began her musical training on the piano with her mother at an early age, but later focused most of her formal studies on the harp. She studied the French school of playing with Catherine Anderson (Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra) in the legacy of Henriette Renie and Susann McDonald. While earning her college degree, Rebekah concentrated on harp performance with the University of New Orleans and voice at the University of South Alabama with Linda Zoghby (Metropolitan Opera). Rebekah also participated in master classes with notable harpists such as Delaine Fedson (Dallas Opera/Austin Symphony), and Heidi Van Hoesen Gorton (Toronto Symphony). Presently, Rebekah plays an Italian-made Salvi Aurora harp.
Matthew Atkinson is an active soloist, orchestral player, and chamber musician in the Gulf Coast area. He specializes in music from the Romantic Era, and is known throughout the region for his distinct, deeply resonant and passionate style of playing. Matthew places a great emphasis on tone production, agreeing with Maximilian Pilzer that, "There must be an inner, emotional instinct, an electric spark within the player himself that sets the vibrato current in motion… in order to give fluent expression to emotion…….warmth, rounded fullness, the truly beautiful violin tone…."
Quickly emerging as a leader on the Gulf Coast musical scene, Matthew can be found soloing both in concerts and with many diverse, local groups like the Mobile Singing Children, the Joe Jefferson Theater, and the Singing River Chorale. He has been a member of local professional symphonies, such as the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra in Biloxi, MS, and has had many other opportunities for orchestral and opera experience. Besides appearing as a soloist, Matthew's other passion is chamber music. He travels widely and performs in a duo with his sister, a harpist, always enjoys leading chamber orchestras in worship services along with organists & choirs (St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Government St. Presbyterian Church, etc...), and is a founding member and first violin of the Gulf Coast String Quartet. When Matthew is not making music, he works as a professional computer technician on networking, IT support, laptop repair, & website design, and he also enjoys flying as an aircraft pilot.
Matthew has studied with the finest violinists on the Gulf Coast, including Jenny Gregoire, concertmaster of the Mobile Symphony, Leonid Yanovskiy, concertmaster of the Pensacola Symphony, and Joseph Meyer, concertmaster of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also studied with teachers and artists of international acclaim, such as Michel Boris Zaitzeff of the Conservatoire National de Musique (Roubaix, France), accessing the legacy of the great violin virtuosos of the past- Ivan Galamian, Josef Gingold, and Zakhar Bron. Matthew received instruction as well, from foremost performers of our day, such as Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, through master-classes during his college studies of violin performance.