louisa womack, bass | boston headshot photographer

Louie and I recently spent a glorious couple of weeks filled with yoga classes, late-night chats, and delicious Pinterest finds (which have inspired my own upcoming Pinterest week- can’t wait!) I’m so glad that I met her. She has mind-blowing musical talent– I’ve never heard the bass sing the way the way it does when she plays it. She’s every bit as kind and compassionate as her sister, yet she has her own wonderful quirks that make her uniquely artsy and expressive. We had such a great time hanging out that we’re going to be roomies this summer at Aspen…Colorado, here we come!!

  • kris sweeney said:

    amazing pictures...
    is this Louisa Womack? It HAS to be...who else plays double bass?? If so, her Mom is one of my best and oldest friends, and she just called me this morning with news of Louisa.
    Do you know what's going on?

  • Kate said:

    RIP. These are gorgeous pictures.

  • Chelsea said:

    So beautiful. RIP

  • Kevin Ray said:

    Thank you for these beautiful photos! <3

  • Susan said:

    Losing a child is every parent's nightmare. My prayers are for Louisa's family at the loss of such a beautiful, talented young woman. Will conservatories and teachers ever wake up to the extreme stress they subject their students to?

  • Alan and Margo said:

    This is so terribly sad. A young, talented and beautiful young woman decides to forever fly away in order to be rid of the stressors in her life. An awful day in the world of music.

    Thank you Kate for these touchingly beautiful images.

  • Donald said:

    @ Susan - who says conservatories or teachers are to blame here? They tend to be the most nurturing environments available compared to other big universities. Conclusions shouldn't be jumped to. This is such a loss for everyone and her family and friends are in our hearts and prayers.

  • Phil van Lidth said:

    While I know that (unofficially) there have been suicides at other conservatories because of the pressures, this is the first time I've ever heard of anything like this at Curtis. While there are certainly demands made of the students and standards to be met, Curtis has always been one of the most supportive schools I've ever known. Very often its the larger schools in universities that are more like factories without any personal contact. In a school like Curtis, where there are only 160 students, one gets to know most of their fellow students at least somewhat and often much better, and it's amazing how much like family one's fellow students become.

  • Phil van Lidth said:

    My condolences to Louisa's family, especially to her parents, for it is certainly hard to have to bury one's child. My mother never got over my brother's death, and I've had to see my mother-in-law deal with my wife's passing just last year. I can't imagine what Louisa's parents are feeling, but I certainly know what it's like to lose a family member far too soon.

    These are beautiful photos of someone who seemed so full of life, and I hope that this is how her family and friends will remember her...

  • Susan said:

    Isn't it sad that this is the only forum we have to commemorate this remarkable young woman? To my knowledge, not a single Curtis administrator has made a statement (other than to apologize for canceling the opera because the students are too upset to perform). Not a single news report can be found on the Web, and certainly no one has come out and ordered an investigation as to why this young woman took her own life. If you call that place nurturing, you do not have a child enrolled there. My child's own teacher warned that no one leaves that place unscarred. Obviously Louisa did not get the "nurturing" or the help that she needed and deserved.

  • William Swezey said:

    This is indeed incredibly tragic. Louisa was clearly a beautiful young woman. I did not know her and only found out about her death after Googling when a friend mentioned that the Curtis performance she was supposed to attend was canceled. It WAS difficult to find anything out about this event. Perhaps her parents wanted it that way. But moreso, this event highlights the need for parents, educators, religious people, anyone who has any responsibility for a child or young adult to make sure that they are nurturing, supportive and that our young people know they can always ask for help in any situation. I don't know all the facts surrounding this event but it seems that Louisa felt she had no other options. If true, this is the ultimate tragedy; a young, talented woman who felt so isolated, alone and pressured to be excellent that she felt she couldn't ask anyone for help. And for that, may God forgive us all.

  • Vivian said:

    I heard about Louisa right before performing in an orchestra concert last night. As a female bassist, this hits home with me. Prayers go out to Louisa and her family, as well as her classmates. <3

  • Bless you, Kate, for these luminous images.
    May the music of your flute praise her life
    and music, and your friendship.

  • Karen said:

    In 2008, I met Louisa at a music festival that my daughter was attending. Louisa was so very kind to my daughter, something she needed at the time as she had just been diagnosed with a chronic illness and was very sick.

    To Louisa's parents, my heart cries for you. Louisa was a wonderful girl, kind, generous of heart, beautiful, and talented. My deepest sympathy. I cannot imagine your sorrow.

    Regarding Curtis institute...my daughter's violin teacher attended from age 14. He mentioned to us at one lesson that he had lost school friends in this manner, due to the pressure. Maybe Curtis should rethink what they are doing.

    Rest in Peace, Louisa. You will be missed, more than you could ever have known.

  • DMP said:

    Having been a student at Curtis, I am shocked by the false accusations and assumptions against this "family." Curtis provides all students with unequaled support including professional counseling offered on an anonymous basis IF needed. They go out of their way to provide for all students in ANY way they need, financial or moral. I have known 100's of alums who have nothing but the greatest affection for the school. I don't know one single graduate who feels otherwise. The teachers are mentors and create family atmospheres within the departments. I have attended other top flight conservatories and can assure you they don't come close to providing a family atmosphere like Curtis. Anyone speaking against this is truly ignorant and probably jealous. Curtis HAS made a statement to alums and is probably respecting the privacy of the family. And apparently all students, staff and faculty were notified at 5 AM the same evening/morning by phone! I'm not sure what kind of statement one expects, as details are certainly not the business of the public. Please respect the family. Investigations are undoubtedly underway as they are legally obligated. Who says they aren't? RIP Louisa W.

  • Alexander Shuhan and Family said:

    Such beautiful pictures, Kate. The joy in them makes this tragedy even that much harder to comprehend. We heard Louisa play just a couple of times and were so taken by her musicianship, talent and poise. Our hearts go out to you and to her family. So unbelievably sad. How fortunate for all of us that you were able to capture such a wonderful, albeit brief, glimpse into her life with these wonderful photos. You must miss your friend terribly—be sure you seek out the support you need during this difficult time.

    RIP Louisa. You will be missed…

    Alex, Liz, Nick, Sam, Max & Nathaniel

    PS—Beautiful words by Paula Robison. I would humbly suggest that the pros and cons of Curtis and other conservatory life be debated in another forum.

  • ANONYMOUS said:

    It is, in fact, a wonderful occurrence that this page has become what it is increasingly turning into. When you can't find paper, you find something, anything else to write on because it's just that important. For those who had never known you or even heard of you until now like myself, I found that a small forum had sprung up among these breath-taking images of what you looked like and what kind of a spirit you HAVE. Your spirit is what remains here in the present and that is what can remain the focus of this forum. Uninformed speculation about things or people is always in a different place and time. Rest in Peace dear Louisa.

  • Phil van Lidth said:

    Dear Susan,

    If you were to google Curtis Institute of Music and visit their website, you would find the only statement that Curtis could make until all the facts are known and the family has been informed of the results of the ongoing investigation. You sound like you have an axe to grind, but as an alumnus I can only tell you that Curtis was always very supportive of all its students. As for your child's teacher's statement that no one leaves Curtis unscarred, I would say that this is true of each and every school, no matter where or how either demanding or nurturing it is. This is also the first I've ever heard of a student dying in this manner, and I suggest that waiting until all the facts are in before making such statements as you have done would show more discretion and be less hurtful for those who knew Louisa...

  • Jessica said:

    I'd like to start by saying how wonderful of a person Louisa was and how much she will be missed by everyone that was privileged enough to get to know her. She was such a talented and inspiring musician that had an impact on so many through both her music and personality. However, I think it is very offensive that people are debating the quality of the program she was involved in. I understand that people want to have this discussion and feel a need to blame someone or something during a time like this. I just think that there could be a much better place to do so than on a page that is being used to remember Louisa.

  • Flute said:

    Susan, if you only knew the immense amount of love and support coming out of Curtis right now, you'd feel ashamed for making such a presumptions statement. The sharing of grief, tears, trying to venerate colleagues all the while maintaining a sense of community is not necessarily for the public to see, what sort of "show" were you expecting to satiate your macabre needs? As a current student at Curtis, I can say that no single person in this family is unscathed by this loss, it has impacted everyone greatly.It is so easy for outsiders to speak such foolishness, but I'll tell you firsthand....there is no absence of nurture here. You legitimately just pissed me off

  • Stephanie Patterson said:

    I just heard of this lovely young lady's passing from the ISB, and just from seeing her pictures and reading some of what her friends have said about her, a very bright light has indeed gone out too soon. To those who are grieving and whose grief needs to find blame, there simply is none. Curtis is an outstanding institution not only musically, but in terms of its compassion for its students.
    Sadly, many years ago (at another institution I attended), a young man saw fit to take his life. Those of us whom he sought for help during a difficult year gave all the support we could - from spending time with him to urging him to seek counsel from a number of sources. He never felt he could reach out. We were left with a profound sense of guilt. What could/should we have done? Why did we not see? There were no answers then, and some 25 years later, there are still no answers.
    My deepest sympathy and warmest thoughts go out to this lovely young woman's family and to her friends and teachers at Curtis.

  • Anon said:

    Louisa simply exuded joy. She was a beyond beautiful person, inside and out. She deeply touched every life she encountered. She had a heart of gold, and the most contagious smile. We all miss her very dearly, and will carry her with us in our hearts forever.

    Please keep your speculations to yourselves, as you clearly don't realize what we are all going through at Curtis right now. Besides which, it is none of your business. Nor is this the time or the place for such ignorant commentary.

    Rest in peace, dear sweet Louisa. You are and forever will be sorely missed. <3

  • Phil van Lidth said:

    This was published in the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, NY, and is derived from the announcement placed by the New Comer Funeral home there, which is apparently handling the arrangements.

    In Memoriam

    Womack, Louisa

    Philadelphia, PA: May 4, 2012. Born March 24, 1992 in Rochester, NY. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her. Predeceased by her sister Lydia Spillane. She is survived by her mother, Mary Ellen Womack; father Dr. Kenneth Womack, her two sisters Margaret and Alyssa; Alyssa’s husband Michael Ferrigno, their son, Jake and many beloved family and friends at Eastman School, Curtis Institute of Music, and the Perlman Music Program.

    Friends and family may gather to remember Louisa on May 12th from 7-9pm at the Daisy Flour Mill, 1880 Blossom Rd, Rochester NY 14625. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Louisa’s name to the Perlman Music Program at perlmanmusicprogram.org.

  • David Coleman said:

    The Curtis Institute posted the following on their FB Page: "Thank you so much to everyone for all your kind words and condolences. All of us at Curtis so appreciate it. And thank you also for helping us repsect the family's privacy at this difficult time."

    That, combined with the (mostly) caring and sensitive thoughts posted here is sufficient at this very sad and trying time. RIP.

  • Margaret Henry said:

    My dearest Louisa:
    I wish that I had known that you were in this much despair. I saw you just last week and you seemed so radiant. My heart is so sad that you are gone from us. You were such a beautiful young lady and such an immensely talented musician and bass player. I wish that you could have believed this about yourself.

    Now that you have been released from the pain that haunted you for so long, rest in peace, lovely Louisa. I will miss you terribly but feel privileged to have been a part of your life.

  • It has been only one week. The first of many weeks without my dear girl. I am saddened by some of the comments written here. I want all to know that Louisa loved Curtis and could not imagine herself attending any other school. Her teachers and co students were the best, the kindest and should not feel any guilt. The administration at Curtis has been very kind in this difficult time. Their respect for this family is enormous and genuine. We will never accept the fact of her death and this mother's heart will never heal. Please don't lash out and add more hurt. Louisa would be very sad to know of such reactions.

  • Margaret Womack said:

    I agree with my mother. My sister's passing is terrible and tragic - I'm glad people are able to share their thoughts on this page, but please keep your words to yourself when your comments are negative and you have no idea of what you speak. My sister loved the students and faculty she knew at Curtis, and information released has been limited due to the wishes of my family. This should be a place to remember my sister because these images truly capture her heart and soul.

    Thank you to everyone here for your support, the kindness shown to my family has been incredible, and knowing that so many people care makes the loss of Louisa easier to bear.

  • Jane said:

    My daughter first met Louisa at ISB 2009 at Penn State. She was not old enough to stay in the dorm with the other students, but hung out with many of the other young bassists all day, rehearsing with the large ensemble, going to classes, eating lunch together and so on. Louisa was sweet and kind to her, and being two years her senior, Louisa was a role model she looked up to. They chatted on FaceBook especially over this last year as she prepared for her own application and audition process for music school. In October 2011, when we visited Curtis, Louisa took my daughter into rehearsal and made her feel so welcome over the course of several hours, inviting her to dinner with the bass section before going to a master class. Although I didn't know Louisa myself, I too have often thought about her over the last year, believing that with passion, hard work and dedication, young women can find success in a typically male dominated part of the music world. Louisa was an inspiration and a beacon of light to us, so the news last Friday was a tremendous blow. She was obviously a shining light to everyone around her and she touched and inspired so many, even from afar. To all of Louisa's families - immediate family members, relatives and friends, her Curtis family, her Perlman family, the bass family and beyond - our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to all of you. If only Louisa knew how much she was loved!

  • P/O Victor P.P.D said:

    Mrs. Womack first let me apologize for invading your privacy and offer my heart felt condolences. I'm a Philadelphia Police Officer and was on assignment the night that you lost Louisa. Over my 14 year career i've experienced many unpleasnt things and the loss of one's life is always the worst. I have a 20 year old son that's going into his junior year at Holy Family University here in Philadelphia and i couldn't help but think of him that night. It took me a few days before i started to get over it and could only imagine the pain that you and the rest of your family and friends are feeling. I don't attend church as much as i should but i do pray every night and i wanted to let you know that Louisa and all of her loved ones are in those prayers.

  • PO Victor, I don't know if you will ever see this response but I must let you know how much your note has meant to me. Thank you I feel that someone was there who dealt kindly with the treasure of my heart. Your words come back to me and I am comforted, again thank you

  • Edward Victor said:

    Mrs. Womack you are very welcome. I've never wanted or needed to reach out to someone more then i did to you and your family. I didn't know what type of response i would get after my post but finding out how much it meant to you means the world to me. If you ever need or want to talk to someone i'm here. My e-mail is EVIC312@AOL.COM

  • Kevin Ray said:

    Thank you for these heartbreakingly beautiful photographs. I attended a beautiful Celebration of Louisa's life at Curtis and many of these photos were prominently displayed. They are a beautiful tribute. I am so thankful that these images will last forever...

Please stay in touch!

Want to receive first dibs on availability, fun styling advice, and local recommendations in your inbox? Join the monthly KLP newsletter!

KLP values your privacy.