Concert and recording artist, teacher, and concert producer, cellist Liz Byrd leads Free-Improvisation workshops, “Improvising Chamber Music”, for classically trained and novice musicians.
Founder and member of the performing improvisation group Beyond the Wood, Liz also performs with Symphony of the Americas and with the chamber group, Cantilena. Liz has been involved with Music For People, an improvisation training organization since 1997 leading several workshops since that time.
Formal classical training took her through UNC – Chapel Hill, North Carolina School of the Arts and ultimately, The Juilliard School. Her teachers include Martha Gershefski, Robert Marsh, and Lynn Harrell. While at Chapel Hill, she played in an improvisation master class by maverick concert cellist, David Darling, co-founder of Music for People. At the time, Darling was touring with the Paul Winter Consort. This experience validated her instinct to blend her cello’s voice with instruments outside of the limits of traditional “classical” instrumentation.
Her orchestra career started in high school with the Atlanta Youth Orchestra under Robert Shaw and led ultimately to the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the Naples Philharmonic. She has toured with several Broadway shows and toured the orient several times with the Mantovani Orchestra. While playing in New York on Broadway shows Liz held tenure as principal cellist with the Palm Beach Pops. As a ‘pops’ cellist, she has performed with James Taylor, Bernadette Peters, Eartha Kitt, Harry Connick, Jr., Marc Anthony and many others. She has been on the faculty of Florida International University and SUNY-Stony Brook. For five years, Liz played with the Dominican Republic Orchestra and was a professor of cello at the National Conservatory. While there she helped publish the first recorded book on Dominican folksongs.
Liz and her cello entered the world of alternative medicine in 1998 when she was invited to play, at the invitation of Dr. John Upledger, the originator of Craniosacral Therapy, for the International Society of Subtle Energy convention in Boulder, Colorado. Dr. Upledger subsequently invited Liz to join his Upledger Institute Clinic in Palm Beach, where she developed her techniques of vibration and tonal therapy. Her recordings of ‘The Healing Cello” CD Series are currently available at www.TheHealingCello.com.
Liz and her husband, baritone Douglas Webster, along with their two dogs, Lucky and Muttilda, now call Oregon home.