15. Hille Perl

Hille Perl was the first viol player I became a fan of, buying her recordings, looking for information online. In those early days there was not much to find, but thankfully that situation has changed. She remains for me the most soulful of gambists, and if you have not listened to her playing before, I encourage you start with some of the following videos, and then seek out her albums – they are all beautiful, moving and interesting.

For starters, here is the an extract from the first album of Hille’s that I bought:

The whole album is like a dream, with superb playing by the whole ensemble, and deeply poetic throughout. Soon after I actually met Hille and her then husband, Lee Santana, while they were visiting my friend, Stephen Player, himself a great baroque guitar player and also expert in historical dance. Steve and I had played a few concerts together, but sadly I never hooked up with Hille and Lee for a concert.

Her latest recording at time of writing is of Bach’s flute sonatas, in trio with the great Michala Petri, recorder, and Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord. It will be released in November, but here Hille gives a spoken introduction in English to her part in the recording:

I can’t wait for that album to be released. It is not the first time Hille has devoted an album to Bach:


Like Robin Pharo, https://violwords.art/2019/06/24/8-robin-pharo/, Hille has enjoyed playing contemporary music, sometimes composed by Lee Santana, sometimes by her daughter, Martha, as seen in the following beautiful video:


Well, Hille has many videos on youtube, and here website is well worth a visit: https://www.hillenet.net

I trust Hille will keep bringing beauty to the world – a world that needs beauty more than ever before – for it can be a revolutionary force, and the time is ripe for such a revolution. But then, it always is.




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