Photo by Catharina Meints
  • Associate Professor of Viola da Gamba and Cello


  • BM, Performer's Certificate, Eastman School of Music, 1996
  • Cello study with Ronald Leonard
  • Viola da gamba study with August Wenzinger, Basel, Switzerland, 1968-71 


During her distinguished career as a performer, Catharina Meints has played and recorded on five instruments, including bass and treble viols, modern and baroque cello, and pardessus de viole. After completing a cello performance degree at the Eastman School of Music, she became assistant principal with the Chamber Symphony of Philadelphia.

In Philadelphia, she met her future husband and collaborator, oboist and viol enthusiast James Caldwell. It was the beginning of a 40-year partnership during which Meints and Caldwell became leaders in a revival of the viol. They spent their first summers in Europe studying the instrument together with August Wenzinger, the Swiss virtuoso and viola da gamba pioneer.

In 1971, they moved to northern Ohio, where Caldwell was appointed professor of oboe at Oberlin Conservatory of Music; Meints joined the Cleveland Orchestra. That year, they also established the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute to build a new generation of players. That program still thrives to this day.

Meints’ career on early instruments has included playing bass viol in the Oberlin Baroque Ensemble and with the Cleveland Baroque Soloists. As their collection of antique viols grew, Caldwell and Meints formed and recorded with the Oberlin Consort of Viols, in which Meints plays treble viol exclusively.

Meints retired from a 35-year career with the Cleveland Orchestra in 2006. She continues teaching as associate professor of viola da gamba, baroque cello, and cello at Oberlin Conservatory. She plays frequently with Apollo’s Fire, as well as in solo and chamber music concerts.

In 2012, she authored a book, The Caldwell Collection of Viols: A Life Together in the Pursuit of Beauty, a catalog and memoir of the large and important collection of antique viols that she and husband James Caldwell collected together.


  • Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute Awarded EMA's 2020 Goldberg Award

    March 10, 2020

    The Early Music America 2020 Laurette Goldberg Award, for achievement in early music outreach, has been awarded to the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute (BPI). The summer institute's faculty is led by Artistic Director Kenneth Slowik and four Oberlin Conservatory faculty members who make up the Oberlin Baroque Ensemble—Mark Edwards, Michael Lynn, Marilyn McDonald, Catharina Meints. 

    Oberlin's BPI was created in 1972 by former Oberlin Conservatory oboe professor James Caldwell in order to bring famous Swiss musician, August Wenzinger, to the United States to perform, teach, and conduct. Catharina Meints, who was closely involved with the beginnings of BPI, continues to be the senior faculty member 48 years later.

    On behalf of the faculty and participants of BPI, Catharine Meints said: “I can say that we are delighted to receive recognition from EMA for our work over the last 49 years. We are proud of what we have accomplished and are honored to be presented the Goldberg Award.”


She Wrote the Book on BPI

December 20, 2018
Catharina Meints helped launch the Baroque Performance Institute. Now she’s chronicled its formative years.