Lisa received a Bachelor of Music Degree in Viola Performance from Peabody Conservatory, where she studied with Paul Coletti, and a Master of Music Degree from University of Southern California, as a student of Don McInnes. A native of Portland, Oregon, Lisa received a comprehensive music education as a child in piano lessons with organist Valerian Fox and pianist Sylvia Killman, music theory and ensemble classes in Portland's Community Music Center, and many years in the Portland Youth Philharmonic, where she led sectionals for her peers as Principal Violist.
In her teens and in college, Lisa performed concerts in the United States,and Italy, Spain, and Switzerland, under conductors including Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, Eiji Oue, David Zinman, Leon Fleischer, and James DePriest. She performed as principal violist at festivals including the Tanglewood Institute, Aspen Music Festival, and Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Italy, where she received the Guido Chigi prize.
A resident of the Sacramento region since 1994, Lisa performed for many years as first violinist with the Sacramento Philharmonic and the Sacramento Opera.
A diverse musician, Lisa also sings, plays the piano and the harp, and writes music. She has been teaching privately since 1994, currently teaching a select group of 20 students at the Pease Conservatory in Sacramento, and at her home near Ione.
In 1999 and 2000 the Lawsons received an Artists in the Schools grant to teach strings to 80 string students at John Morse School in Sacramento, where they pioneered the school’s string program for three years. They continue educating students in the schools with their dynamic musical program Music Journey, which they have performed in schools throughout the Sacramento region.
Michael received his Bachelor of Music Degree from California State University, Sacramento, where he studied cello performance with Lubomir Georgiev, then Principal Cellist with the Sacramento Symphony. While completing his degree, Michael performed with the Aspen Music Festival in 1990 and 1991, where he met his wife, Lisa.
In 1992, Michael’s interest in jazz and original music led him to perform in masterclasses with Mark Summer, cellist of the Turtle Island String Quartet. Shortly thereafter the Lawsons constructed a quartet of electric instruments, working with Stanley Marquiss of American Power and Light (www.americanpowerlight.com), with which they performed all classical concerts. At this time, from 1996-98, the Lawsons created and performed in a monthly concert series, Music at the White Bird Gallery, in Sutter Creek, California.
In 1999 and 2000 the Lawsons were awarded an Artist in the Schools Grant by the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, to teach strings to 80 students at John Morse Waldorf Methods Magnet School. Michael is a devoted teacher, currently teaching cello at the Pease Conservatory of music in Sacramento. The Lawsons continue to educate school children by performing the original production Music Journey at school assemblies throughout California and the Northwest.
Michael decided to pursue continuo playing on Baroque cello in the late 1990s, studying the style with Pheobe Carrai, Michael Sand, Richard Webb, and Elizabeth Field. Michael co -founded the baroque music ensemble Sacramento Baroque Soloists in 2001 and continues to lead as Continuo soloist.
The Lawsons live near Ione, California, with their two sons, Cameron and Liam. They live in a passive-solar straw-bale house, which they built. They enjoy sailing their 26 ft. Balboa when time allows.