Falling more in love with music, Will was later introduced to guitar when his brother gave it up after only two
lessons (prepaid), so Will eagerly took the remaining 15. He eventually taught himself how to tinker on the piano
too. But the beautiful viola remained his passion.
In 1989, living on food stamps in the (Austin neighborhood) Travis Heights, the young aspiring violist joined the
Austin Lyric Opera, Eventually turned off by the limiting traditions of classical music, the young Taylor reasoned,
“Why would I want to be the 10000th violist to play (instert old-dead-guy’s classical piece here) when I can be the
first to play something just as richly moving, but yet fresh and new?” Still a lover of classical (remaining with the
Austin Lyric Opera to this day) Will’s passion for the avant guarde excellerated, drawing him deeper and deeper
into jazz. But how many jazz viola players are out there? Exactly!
Not just craving an obscure instrument, he soon learned that he also craved obscure music, especially when he
discovered the Turtle Island Quartet. Traditional only in that they consisted of 2 violins, a viola and a cello, TISQ
were drastically unconventional when it came to the music they played. Perfectly modeling with strings all of the
elements of a drums/bass/piano/sax jazz quartet, dabbling in ‘cover songs’ from every genre that exists -- wildly
interpreting an all-American vernacular in a jazz string quartet ensemble setting.
Will Taylor’s formative fandom for the TISQ combined with his own need for creative growth and development,
he set out to create his own interpretation of the TISQ concept and introduce it to the Austin music scene. So he
created the 2 violin, viola and cello quartet “Joy String.” In November of 1990, Joy String performed live on the
radio on KUT-FM in Austin where they recorded that live performance from Studio 1-A on cassette tape.