Daniel Stepner, violin, Aston Magna’s Artistic Director, has programmed and led vocal and instrumental music dating from 1589 through the 1850s, featuring period instruments and vocal styles. Works include operas by Monteverdi, Purcell and Mozart, cantatas by Bach, and oratorios by Handel.
He is first violinist of the Lydian String Quartet (artist-in-residence at Brandeis University) and a founding member of the Boston Museum Trio (resident at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts for 27 years). He was also a Preceptor in Music at Harvard University for 20 years. For six years he was assistant concertmaster of the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, based in Holland, and for 24 years he was the concertmaster of the Handel and Haydn Society, America’s oldest continuing musical organization.
His discography includes music by Bach, Vivaldi, Telemann and Marais; major chamber works of Schubert, Brahms, John Harbison, Peter Child and Yehudi Wyner and violin and piano sonatas of Charles Ives with pianist John Kirkpatrick. As a touring musician he has played in 11 countries in Western Europe and the former Soviet Union, and throughout Australia and the United States. Stepner is a native of Wisconsin, and his major teachers were Steven Staryk in Chicago, Nadia Boulanger in France and Broadus Erle at Yale, where he earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree. Presently on the faculties of Brandeis and Harvard Universities, he has taught violin, chamber music and performance practice at the New England Conservatory, Eastman School, Boston University and the Longy School of Music.
Baritone Jesse Blumberg is equally at home on opera, concert, and recital stages, performing repertoire from the Renaissance and Baroque to the 20th and 21st centuries. His performances have included the world premiere of The Grapes of Wrath at Minnesota Opera, Niobe, Regina di Tebe with Boston Early Music Festival, Bernstein’s MASS at London’s Royal Festival Hall, and appearances with Atlanta Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Utah Opera, and Boston Lyric Opera. Recital highlights include appearances with the Marilyn Horne Foundation and New York Festival of Song, and performances of Die schöne Müllerin and Winterreise with pianist Martin Katz. He has performed major works with American Bach Soloists, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Boston Baroque, Oratorio Society of New York, Apollo’s Fire, Charlotte Symphony, TENET/Green Mountain Project, and on Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series.
His 2014-2015 season included a European concert tour with Boston Early Music Festival, a U.S. concert tour with Apollo’s Fire, and debuts with Atlanta Opera and Hawaii Opera Theatre. In 2013-2014 he debuted with Kentucky Opera and Opera Omnia, and returned to Minnesota Opera as Papageno in The Magic Flute. Jesse has given the world premieres of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Green Sneakers, Lisa Bielawa’s The Lay of the Love and Death, Conrad Cummings’ Positions 1956, and Tom Cipullo’s Excelsior. He also works closely with several other renowned composers as a member of the Mirror Visions Ensemble.
Jesse has been featured on a dozen commercial recordings, including the 2014 Grammy-winning Charpentier Chamber Operas with Boston Early Music Festival. He has been recognized in several competitions, and was awarded Third Prize at the 2008 International Robert Schumann Competition in Zwickau, becoming its first American prizewinner in over thirty years. Jesse received a Master of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and received undergraduate degrees in History and Music from the University of Michigan. Jesse is also the founder and artistic director of Five Boroughs Music Festival, which brings chamber music of many genres to every corner of New York City.
A native of the Washington, D.C. area, baroque trumpeter Josh Cohen is greatly sought after by many leading early music ensembles throughout North America. For the past nine seasons, Mr. Cohen has been principal baroque trumpet with the Washington Bach Consort. He has also performed as principal and solo baroque trumpet for ensembles such as Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal, Arion (Montreal), Bach Sinfonia (Washington D.C.), Aston Magna (Boston), Musica Maris (Rhode Island), Houston Bach Society, Ensemble Telemann (Montreal), and participated in festivals such as the Indiana Festival of Early Music, International Festival of Baroque Music at Lameque (N.B. Canada) and the Bach Festival of Montreal.
He has recorded some of the most famous and demanding works for baroque trumpet. Most recently, he recorded J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 with Montreal-based Ensemble Caprice. He can be heard in the Washington Bach Consort’s recording of J.S. Bach’s Cantata No. 51 with soprano Elizabeth Futral. Two recordings Mr. Cohen participated in with prominent Canadian ensembles were both nominated for the 2009 Juno awards: “Let the Bright Seraphim” with soprano Karina Gauvin and Tempo Rubato and his recording of Vivaldi’s Gloria with Ensemble Caprice, the latter of which won the Juno award for Best Album of the Year in the vocal category.
For the last several seasons, Mr. Cohen has been the solo baroque trumpeter for performances of Handel’s Messiah at the National Cathedral under the direction of Michael McCarthy, as well as the Handel Choir of Baltimore under the direction of Melinda O’Neal. This season he will perform this annual masterpiece once again at the Cathedral, as well as with Tafelmusik in Toronto. In the fall of 2013, he toured the United States with Apollo’s Fire under the direction of Jeanette Sorrell performing Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2. Mr. Cohen received a M.M. from McGill University and a B.M. from the New England Conservatory of Music.
Stephen Hammer enjoys a varied career playing oboes and recorders of all periods. He serves as principal oboist of the Bach Ensemble, Concert Royal, the Clarion Music Society, the Arcadia Players, Musica Angelica, and Blue Hill Bach in Maine, of which he is also artistic director.
He is also principal recorder player for the Metropolitan Opera. He has performed with Aston Magna since 1977; his more than 200 recordings appear on Decca L’Oiseau-lyre and many other labels; he has also collaborated with several instrument makers in building replicas of historical woodwinds.
This summer he moved from the beautiful Hudson River Valley to the beautiful San Fernando Valley of greater Los Angeles.
After 30 years of performing with Tragicomedia and Les Arts Florissants, among many others, countless recordings on major labels, and with her unique status as the world’s leading authority on the lirone, Erin Headley is preeminent in the field of early music. The lirone, that unique and eerie-sounding bowed instrument, led her on a path to the forgotten but extraordinary music of 17th-century Rome, which she has championed with her ensemble, Atalante through concert tours, recordings and staged videos.
For her research and performances Erin received major funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council of Great Britain, from 2007 to 2013, in conjunction with a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Southampton. Other honors include the Distinguished Alumnus award from Penn State University (2012), an artist in residence post at Villa I Tatti, Harvard’s Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence (2013), and with her ensemble Atalante, the esteemed Diapason d’Or in France for their first CD, Lamentarium (2015).
A specialist in both contemporary and historical percussion, Jonathan Hess, timpanist, has been praised for his “power and finesse” (Boston Classical Review) and “exacting milieus” (Boston Globe). As a chamber musician, He is a founding member of the Boston Percussion Group (BPeG) and has been featured with Boston Musica Viva, Alea III, Dinosaur Annex and Monadnock Music. Jonathan has performed and recorded with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP Sound) and plays in the pit for Boston’s Odyssey Opera. He regularly freelances with other orchestras through out New England including The Portland Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Opera Boston and the Orchestra of Indian Hill.
In addition to his work in contemporary music, he is the timpanist for the Marsh Chapel Collegium and Grand Harmonie – an ensemble dedicated to inventive and compelling performances of Classical and Romantic repertoire on historical instruments. He has also performed and recorded with Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, Canto Armonico and Cambridge Concentus. In 2014, Jonathan toured Japan as timpanist for the Boston Chamber Orchestra and recently played drums for the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus’ historic tour of the Middle East. He lives in Boston with his wife Sonja and their dog, Leila.
William Hite’s reputation spanning three decades as an engaging and expressive artist has led to appearances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, Boston Baroque, Philharmonia Baroque and the Mark Morris Dance Group under the direction of Bernard Haitink, Seiji Ozawa, James Levine, Rafael Frübeck de Burgos, Nicholas McGegan, Jane Glover, Robert Spano, Grant Llewellyn, Leon Botstein, John Harbison, Julian Wachner and Peter Schreiber.
Mr. Hite’s upcoming engagements include the evangelist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Buffalo Philharmonic, Messiah with the Apollo Chorus of Chicago, Elijah with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra. Recent engagements include Schubert’s Winterreise with pianist Gilles Vonsattel at Bargemusic, Britten’s War Requiem at Symphony Hall in Boston, Britten’s Serenade with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa (Mexico) and Britten’s Nocturne with the Fairfax (VA) Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Hite can be heard in Messiah with Chicago’s Apollo Chorus on the Clarion label, Acis and Galatea on NCA. On the Koch label he can be heard in the St. John Passion with Emmanuel Music. He is Senior Lecturer in Voice and coordinator of the voice area at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
Laura Jeppesen, violin, viola and viola da gamba, has a master’s degree from Yale University. Following Yale, she studied viola da gamba at the Hamburg Hochschule and the at Brussels Conservatory. She has been a Woodrow Wilson Designate, a Fulbright Scholar and a fellow of the Bunting Institute at Harvard.
A prominent member of Boston’s early music community, she has long associations with The Boston Museum Trio, Boston Baroque, The Handel and Haydn Society, the Boston Early Music Festival and Aston Magna. In 2015 she was part of the BEMF team that won a Grammy for best opera recording. She has performed as soloist with conductors Christopher Hogwood, Edo deWaart, Seiji Ozawa, Craig Smith, Martin Pearlman, Harry Christophers, Grant Llewellyn and Bernard Haitink. She has an extensive discography of solo and chamber works, including the gamba sonatas of J.S.Bach, music of Marin Marais, Buxtehude, Rameau, Telemann and Clerambault.
She teaches at Boston University, Wellesley College and Harvard University. She recently received a teaching award from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard University, which recognizes the high rating she was given by students. In the 2015 fall semester, she taught eight Harvard students to play the viola da gamba, and their work culminated in two performances on the Harvard campus.
Frank Kelley, tenor, sings a wide variety of music throughout North America and Europe. He has performed over 90 roles in major opera houses and has appeared with the leading symphony orchestras in Boston, Chicago, St. Louis, Mexico City, Tel Aviv, Taipei and Brussels.
He has over 30 recordings, two of which have been awarded Grammys. Recent engagements include Kurt Weill’s the Seven Deadly Sins (Urbanity Dance and Emmanuel Music) and the Essential Ring with the Boston Wagner Society.
A resident of Boston, Mr. Kelley sings there regularly with Emmanuel Music, both in the ongoing series which presents the complete Bach cantatas, and in special projects, including the complete piano/vocal works of Beethoven, Schumann and Brahms, Schubert lieder, Don Giovanni, The St. Matthew Passion, Alcina, The Magic Flute, The St. John Passion, The Rake’s Progress, Die Schöne Müllerin and Dichterliebe with Russell Sherman, Susanna, and most recently The St. Mark Passion.
Praised as “delightful and so refreshing” (Boston Musical Intelligencer), Jeanine Krause performs on oboes and recorders with orchestras in Germany, the USA and worldwide. Highlights from her world travels include giving the first period performance of J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion in Cape Town, South Africa, participation with the Wiener Akademie in John Malkovich’s stage production of Giacomo Variations in North America, and numerous international performances of J.S. Bach works led by Joshua Rifkin in Japan, USA, Belgium and Germany.
Also an avid chamber musician, she founded the Baroque chamber ensemble, Sprightly Companions, in 2009, which tours and lectures, collaborating with local artists. In 2014, she established Die Rhein-Main-Hautboisten, an oboe band of 18-24 amateur and professional players modeled after the court musicians at Louis XIV’s Versailles. A passionate teacher, Jeanine gathers inspiration from her students, young and old. Among her students at the Musikschule Hofheim are Jugend musiziert prize winners. Jeanine holds degrees from St. Olaf College in Minnesota, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Peter-Cornelius-Konservatorium in Mainz and recently began doctoral work at Boston University. Born in the USA, Jeanine lives in Germany.
A graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, Christopher Krueger was a student of James Pappoutsakis. He has performed as principal flutist with the Boston Symphony, the Boston Pops and Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Opera Company of Boston, Boston Ballet, Boston Musica Viva, and Cantata Singers, among other organizations, and was a founding member of the Emmanuel Wind Quintet, winners of the 1981 Walter W. Naumburg Award for Chamber Music. Currently he is a member of Collage New Music, Emmanuel Music, and performs frequently as principal flutist with Cantata Singers and other organizations in Boston
In the mid-1970’s, Mr. Krueger became interested in historical performance. His career as a Baroque flutist has taken him throughout the United States, Europe, Eastern Europe, and Australia. He has been a soloist on the Great Performers Series and Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, the Philadelphia Bach Festival, the Aston Magna Music Festival, Tanglewood, Ravinia, the Berlin Bach Festival, the City of London Festival, and the Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music, as well as in France, Belgium, Italy, and Poland. He is a member of the Bach Ensemble and the Aulos Ensemble, and is principal flutist with the Handel and Haydn Society and Boston Baroque.
Christopher Krueger has conducted and been a soloist with the Handel and Haydn Society and Emmanuel Music, and his recordings can be heard on Sony, DG, Decca, EMI, Nonesuch, Pro Arte, CRI, Telarc, Koch, and Centaur. Mr. Krueger has served on the faculties of the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston University, Wellesley College, the Longy School of Music, Oberlin’s Baroque Performance Institute, and the Akademie für Alte Musik in Brixen/Bressanone, Italy. He is a Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
The voice of Dominique Labelle has been called “angelic,” “silvery,” and “vibrant,” and she could easily lay claim to the title “diva.” Instead, she simply calls herself a musician, and takes greatest pride not in her rave reviews, but in her work with colleagues and in her probing explorations of the repertoire from the Baroque to new music.
Her passionate commitment to music-making has led to close and enduring collaborations with a number of the world’s most respected conductors and composers, such as Iván Fischer, Nicholas McGegan, Jos van Veldhoven, Jean-Marie Zeitouni, and the Pulitzer Prize winning composer Yehudi Wyner. She also treasures her long association with the late Robert Shaw. Dominique’s many collaborations with Nicholas McGegan and his Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra include Handel’s Atalanta, Alexander’s Feast, and Teseo, which they recently revived at the 2014 Mostly Mozart Festival. Her appearances with Iván Fischer include the Countess Almaviva in Mozart’s Nozze di Figaro in Las Palmas and Budapest; a Bach B Minor Mass in Washington, D.C.; a Bach St. Matthew Passion with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra; as well as Mozart’s Requiem and a Bach St. Matthew Passion with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s.
She has also sung Britten’s Les Illuminations with Jean-Marie Zeitouni and I Musici de Montréal; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Brahms Requiem, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with Zeitouni and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Her numerous recordings of opera and concert repertoire include Monsigny’s Le Déserteur with Opera Lafayette and Ryan Brown (Naxos). She can also be heard on recordings on the Virgin Veritas, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, RCA Victor Red Seal, Koss, Denon, New World, Carus and Muisica Omnia labels. Her recording of Handel’s Arminio (Virgin Classics) won the 2002 Handel Prize. Her latest recording Moments of Love is her recital with pianist and composer Yehudi Wyner on a program of Britten, Hahn, Ravel, Saint-Saëns and Wyner. Born in Montreal and trained at McGill and Boston Universities, Dominique enjoys sharing her technical and musical insights with young singers, and is Professor of Voice at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University. She has also taught master classes at Harvard University, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts.
Flutist Andrea LeBlanc is devoted to furthering the artistry and expression of the flute by performing on instruments original to or reproductions from the baroque, classical, and romantic eras: “LeBlanc’s sensitive and beautiful playing, with crystalline tone and execution, made you wonder why it was necessary to invent the Boehm system for flute” (Early Music America).
Her regular engagements in Boston include the Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, Grand Harmonie, and Cambridge Concentus. She is the principal flutist of Arcadia Players and L’Academie, and performs chamber music of the late-classical and early-romantic periods with pianist David Hyun-Su Kim. In 2012, Ms. LeBlanc became the first baroque artist to participate in Music at Eden’s Edge Emerging Artist program, and was invited to become a full member based on her exemplary participation. She has appeared with the Folger Consort in Washington, D.C. and has performed at the Blue Hill Bach Festival and the Big Moose Bach Festival in Gorham, NH. Ms.
LeBlanc holds a B.Mus. with honors and distinction in performance from New England Conservatory and a M.Mus. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she was a teaching assistant in flute and early music. She spent a year furthering her study of the traverso at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague (Netherlands).
Julie Leven, violin, is the Founder, Executive and Artistic Director of Shelter Music Boston and is the first-ever classical musician to be named a Boston Neighborhood Fellow. Julie was awarded this unique prize for her dual commitment to producing monthly classical music concerts, of the highest artistic standards, in homeless shelters throughout Greater Boston and for employing classical musicians to create social change in environments of need.
In addition to the more than fifty annual concerts she performs in shelters, Julie is concertmaster of the Bach and Beyond Festival and has performed as soloist, concertmaster, and principal second violin with Boston Baroque and the Handel + Haydn Society. A recent performance of the Vivaldi Four Seasons with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra was deemed “sweet and full of fire.” As a member of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra she has performed across the US, in Japan and Korea. Julie performs annually at the Aston Magna Festival and has appeared at the: BBC Proms, Cactus Pear Music Festival, Casals Festival, Edinburgh Festival, Esterhazy Haydn Festival, Krakow Festival and with Scrag Mountain Music. Julie has been a member of the Jerusalem Symphony, and Aarhus (Denmark) Symfonieorkester. She is a soloist on the Boston Baroque recordings of Handel Opus 6 Concerti Grossi and the Grammy nominated Monteverdi Vespers.
Catherine Liddell, theorbo and lute, is in high demand for her skill, sensitivity and experience as a continuo player. She has performed with many of America’s leading period instrument ensembles, including Boston Baroque, the Handel & Haydn Society, Apollo’s Fire (Cleveland), the New York Collegium, and in the Boston Early Music Festivals. With the London Sinfonietta and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment she performed in the U.S. Premier of Heiner Goebbel’s Songs of War I Have Seen as part of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.
She has recorded for Musical Heritage Society, Titanic, Dorian, Wildboar and Centaur Records. Her solo recording, La belle voilée: 17th Century French Lute Music by Jacques Gallot and others is available on the Centaur label. Her edition, Sacred Music for Lute, Vol. I is available through Lyre Editions, Fort Worth, Texas.
A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, Ms. Liddell earned the Soloist Diploma from the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland. She is Past-President of the Lute Society of America and is currently Lecturer in Lute in the Historical Performance Program at Boston University.
Violinist Danielle Maddon is well known to New England audiences for her vibrant playing and broad experience as a soloist, concertmaster, recitalist, chamber and orchestral musician. Performing on both modern and period instruments, Ms Maddon has appeared in venues including Carnegie Hall, Vatican City, and Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, in repertoire spanning four centuries. Critics have hailed her playing as “magnificent,” “stunning”,,”masterful,” and “heartfelt.”
She performs with Boston Baroque, Emmanuel Music, the Boston Pops, the Boston Musica Viva, the Handel and Haydn Society, Cantata Singers, the Boston Cecelia, and other groups. Ms. Maddon was twice awarded full fellowships to both the Tanglewood Music Center and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute, winning concertmaster posts for conductors Kurt Masur, Michael Tilson-Thomas, Leonard Slatkin, and Sir Charles Grove. For four seasons, she was concertmaster of the Tallahassee Symphony. Ms Maddon performed as a first violinist in the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, and tutored violin students at the National University of Singapore.
As concertmaster and soloist for the New England Philharmonic under Richard Pittman, she has performed fourteen violin concertos by modern masters including Berg, Harbison, Dutilleux, and Lutoslawski. In 2014 she gave the world premiere of a new violin concerto by Bernard Hoffer, commissioned by the New England Philharmonic and written for her. In April 2015, she premiered a new concerto by Andy Vores, written for her, and was a soloist with the Aston Magna Music Festival for concerts featuring the music of Vivaldi and Bach. Next season, she will premiere a new concerto by David Rakowski, commissioned for her by the New England Philharmonic.
David Miller, viola, holds an undergraduate liberal arts degree from Oberlin College and a graduate music degree in viola from The Juilliard School. A devoted performer of chamber music on period instruments and a pioneer of early music performance in this country, he is a founding member of the Classical Quartet, Haydn Baryton Trio, Bach Ensemble and Concert Royal.
He has performed with Aston Magna every season since 1974 and has appeared frequently as a guest artist with the Mozartean Players and Helicon. Mr. Miller plays principal viola for numerous Baroque and Classical orchestras including the Handel and Haydn Society, New York Collegium, Boston Early Music Festival and American Classical Orchestra. Notable chamber music appearances at summer festivals include Mostly Mozart at Lincoln Center, Tanglewood Festival, Festival of Perth (Australia), Lufthansa Festival (London) and the Esterhazy Palace (Eisenstadt, Austria).
His many recordings of solo and chamber works can be heard on Decca, Dorian, Harmonia Mundi, EMI, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Collection of Recordings, among others. Mr. Miller has taught viola at Princeton University and at the Akademie für Alte Musik in Brixen, Italy.
Loretta O’Sullivan, who performs on Baroque, classical, and modern cello, has played key roles in chamber ensembles including the Four Nations Ensemble, The Haydn Baryton Trio and the Classical Quartet. In concert and recording, Ms. O’Sullivan has given memorable performances of music by Frescobaldi, Caldara, Porpora, Leclair, Handel, Haydn, Schobert, Mozart and Beethoven, performing cello sonatas, concertos, trio sonatas, arias with cello obbligato, string quartets and virtually every form and format in three centuries of well known and rarely heard music.
She plays continuo cellist for both Opera Lafayette with whom she has performed works of Philidor, Monsigny and Francouer at the Opera de Versailles as principal cellist. She is continuo and principal cellist for the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, one of America’s most venerable musical organizations. On modern cello, Ms. O’Sullivan is heard with the St Luke’s Orchestra in New York.
Ms. O’Sullivan has performed at halls including Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, Merkin Concert Hall, the New York Historical Society, Columbia University, Yale University, London’s Wigmore Hall, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England, and Esterhazy Palace in Austria and in festivals including Mostly Mozart in New York, Ottawa Chamber Music Fest, the New England Bach Festival and New Haven’s Festival of Arts and Ideas. Loretta’s recorded solo performances include sonatas of Geminiani, Vivaldi and Porpora as well as her own transcription of the Biber Passacaglia.
Robinson Pyle, trumpet, performs extensively in the Boston area on both modern and historic instruments. He is currently a principal with Boston Baroque. Formerly, he was a principal with Apollo’s Fire and The Lyra Concert. Mr. Pyle has appeared with the Portland Symphony Orchestra, Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal, Albany Symphony, Boston Cecelia, Handel and Haydn Society, Ensemble Caprice, Vermont Symphony, and at the Boston Early Music Festival. He has won awards at the New York Brass Conference Quintet Competition and the Notre Dame Jazz Festival.
As a jazz performer, Mr. Pyle has played in bands with such legends as saxophonist Joe Henderson, trombonist J. J. Johnson, and trumpeter Donald Byrd, and has appeared at the House of Blues. He has recorded for the Linn, Telarc, Eclectra, Interscope, OJE, and A2Z labels, and has been featured in radio broadcasts on WGBH, WCRB, WCLV, WKSU, National Public Radio, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and European Community Radio. Mr. Pyle currently teaches in the Historic Performance Department at Boston University and is a faculty member in the Wellesley Public Schools. He holds a degree in Trumpet Performance from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music.
Mezzo-soprano Deborah Rentz-Moore has been praised for her “deep, radiant clear tone” (Early Music America) and her “effortlessly warm and resonant mezzo, with exquisite control over vibrato” (Boston Classical Review). In addition to her many solo collaborations with Aston Magna, she enjoys numerous solo appearances with The Boston Camerata, Emmanuel Music, The Boston Early Music Festival, Handel & Haydn Society, several Harvard Choirs, Magnificat Baroque and the Mark Morris Dance Group.
At Emmanuel Music, Ms. Rentz-Moore performed the role of Joacim in the Boston premiere of Handel’s Susanna, to critical acclaim. Other Emmanuel appearances include Bach’s B Minor Mass, Christmas Oratorio, St. John Passion, Magnificat, Pergolesi Stabat Mater, Mozart’s The Magic Flute, The Rake’s Progress (Stravinsky), and various solo cantatas as part of the famed weekly Bach cantata series. Her current concert season also includes The Boston Camerata’s Nueva Espan~a, Mediterranean Christmas, and American Vocalist, as well as these performances of Bach’s Cantatas BWV 201 and 12 with Aston Magna.
A longtime proponent of early American music and Shaker music, she has conducted her own Shaker manuscript research, given solo concerts at Hancock Shaker Village and Tanglewood, been featured in Tero Saarinen Dance Company/Boston Camerata’s remarkable “Borrowed Light” and is a soloist on the critically-acclaimed Harmonia Mundi recording, “The Rose of Sharon” with Ensemble Phoenix Munich. Other recordings include: Aston Magna’s “L’Orfeo: favola in musica 1607” (Centaur), “Cozzolani: Concerti Sacri (1642)” (Musica Omnia), “Cozzolani: Messa Paschale” (Musica Omnia), “The Golden Harvest” (Glissando), “J.S. Bach: Cantatas 62, 45, 140 and 192” (Musica Omnia) and Cozzolani’s, “Salmi a Otto Voci (1650)” (Musica Omnia).
In addition to working under the direction of Daniel Stepner, Ms. Rentz-Moore has collaborated with: John Harbison, Christopher Hogwood, Joel Cohen, Anne Azema, Paul O’Dette, Stephen Stubbs, Grant Llewellyn, David Carrier, Edward Jones, Julian Wachner, Tero Saarinen, Mark Morris and both Ryan Turner and Emmanuel Music founder Craig Smith.
Edson Scheid, violin, two-time winner of the Historical Performance Concerto Competition at the Juilliard School, and recipient of the Broadus Erle Prize at the Yale School of Music, has been praised for his “polished playing” (The Strad), for being “more than equipped to deal with the virtuosic challenges” (Seen and Heard International), and for being “both musically and technically one of the most assured and accomplished of today’s younger period violinists” (The Boston Musical Intelligencer).
A native of Brazil, Mr. Scheid is based in New York City and frequently performs with ensembles such as Juilliard415, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Sejong Soloists, NOVUS NY, New York Baroque Incorporated, American Baroque Orchestra, Quodlibet Ensemble, The Sebastians, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Antico Moderno, and the Aston Magna Festival. He has also performed with Les Arts Florissants, Orchester Wiener Akademie and the Aspen Festival Orchestra.
Mr. Scheid’s many performances of Paganini’s 24 Caprices, both on period and modern instruments, have been received with enthusiasm around the world. He has performed the complete set or selections from the Caprices in multiple cities in Europe, Asia, North and South America. He has recently performed Caprice No. 1 on BBC’s Radio 3 programme In Tune. Active as a chamber musician, he has performed as a violinist and a violist at the Utrecht Early Music Festival, Dans les Jardins de William Christie, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and at Yale University as a member of the Yale Baroque Ensemble. He is a founding member of the Quartet Resound, a string quartet performing on period instruments.
Mr. Scheid holds degrees from the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg, Yale University and The Juilliard School. At Juilliard, he was the recipient of a Kovner Fellowship.
Nell Snaidas has been praised by the New York Times for her “beautiful soprano voice, melting passion” and “vocally ravishing” performances. Her voice has also been described as “remarkably pure with glints of rich sensuality” (Vancouver Sun); and she has been called “a model of luminous timbre and emotional intensity” (Cleveland Plain Dealer).
American-Uruguayan soprano Nell Snaidas began her career singing leading roles in zarzuelas at New York City’s Repertorio Español. Specialization in Latin American and Spanish Baroque music has taken her all over Europe, North and Latin America. She has been invited to join many leading Early Music ensembles in the capacity of soloist, guitarist, and Iberian/New World language and repertoire consultant. These groups include Apollo’s Fire, The Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Ex Umbris, Ensemble Viscera, El Mundo, Chatham Baroque and at Music Festivals from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Italy, to Germany, Austria and Switzerland. She has recorded for Sony Classical, Koch, Naxos and Dorian (for whom she served as language coach and soloist on 3 Spanish/New World Baroque cds). Her latest cd as a featured soloist with El Mundo in this same repertoire has been nominated for a Grammy in the Best Small Ensemble category. Nell is co-Artistic Director of GEMAS:Early Music of the Americas. This concert series in NYC, devoted to the Early Music and Performers of Latin America and Canada, is a project of the Americas Society and GEMS (The Gotham Early Music Scene). (Photo: Gary Payne)
Bassoonist Andrew Schwartz has appeared throughout the world as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player. His intriguing career spans from frequent appearances with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, to jazz recordings with Winton Marsalis, and special children’s concerts as the principal bassoonist of the Little Orchestra Society. He has also appeared with New York City Opera, New York City Ballet, Orchestra of St. Lukes, Orpeheus and the New York Pops, and is a member of the New York Chamber Soloists.
Additionally, Mr. Schwartz is one of the most sought after musicians on Historical instruments. He is principal bassoon with The Handel & Hadyn Society, Boston Baroque, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, and The American Classical Orchestra. He has performed with many of the world’s premiere period instrument organizations including Philharmonia Baroque, The Aulos Ensemble, Wiener Akademie, The Age of Enlightenment, Tafelmusic and Rebel. He was principal bassoon of the Royal Drottningholm Court Theatre Orchestra in Stockholm Sweden for fourteen summers.
Mr. Schwartz has appeared as a soloist at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, The Morgan Library, New York; the Musikverien, in Vienna, Austria; Jordan Hall, Boston, Mass. He has recorded extensively, including the entire chamber music works for winds and the late Operas of Mozart for Decca/ L’Oiseau Lyre. A native of Chicago, Mr. Schwartz received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Juilliard School. His wife, Jill LeVine, a professional photographer, and two teenage daughters, Hannah and Lena, spend summers at their home in Vermont.
Michael Sponseller is recognized as one of the outstanding American harpsichordists of his generation. A highly diversified career brings him to festivals and concert venues all around in recital, concertosoloist, partner to several of today’s finest musicians, and as an active continuo performer on both harpsichord and organ. He studied at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music with Lisa Goode Crawford with additional studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music, The Hague. In the next few years, he garnered prizes at the International Harpsichord Competitions of Montréal (1999), the International Harpsichord Competition at Bruges (1998, 2001) as well as First Prizes at both the American Bach Soloists and Jurow International Harpsichord Competitions.
Mr. Sponseller appears regularly as harpsichordist and continuo organist with several of American’s finest baroque orchestras and ensembles, such as Bach Collegium San Diego, Les Délices, Aston Magna,Tragicomedia, and the Boston Early Music Festival orchestra and can heard on many recordings from Delos, Centaur, Eclectra, and Naxos et al. At home, he is a regular presence at Boston’s Emmanuel Music, having performed over 100 sacred cantatas. His various recordings include a diverse list of composers including Bach, Handel, Rameau, Praetorius and Laurenti , and have garnered excellent reviews throughout the world. Early Musica America Magazine noted that, in his performance of the Bach Concertos, “His well-proportioned elegance carries the day quite stylishly.” He currently is Artistic Director for Ensemble Florilege. He has been on faculty at Longy School of Music, and joined the faculty at Oberlin’s Baroque Performance Institute in 2013.
Peter Sykes is Associate Professor of Music and Chair of the Historical Performance Department at Boston University, where he teaches organ, harpsichord, clavichord, performance practice and continuo realization. He is Music Director of First Church in Cambridge and principal instructor of harpsichord at the Juilliard School in New York City.
He performs extensively on the harpsichord, clavichord, and organ, and has made ten solo recordings of organ and harpsichord repertoire ranging from Buxtehude, Couperin and Bach to Reger and Hindemith and his acclaimed organ transcription of Holst’s “The Planets.” Newly released is a recording of the complete Bach harpsichord partitas on the Centaur label, and an all-Bach clavichord recording on the Raven label; soon to be released will be the complete Bach obbligato violin sonatas with Daniel Stepner.
He also performs and records with Boston Baroque and Aston Magna. A founding board member and president of the Boston Clavichord Society as well as president of the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies, he is the recipient of the Chadwick Medal (1978) and Outstanding Alumni Award (2005) from the New England Conservatory, the Erwin Bodky Prize (1993) from the Cambridge Society for Early Music, and the Distinguished Artist Award from the St. Botolph Club Foundation (2011).
Hailed as “compelling to watch” (Tufts Daily) and praised for his “rich bass-baritone voice and eloquent projection” (Lawrence Budmen, writer and music consultant), Ulysses Thomas made his professional debut with Opera Boston/Boston Baroque in Handel’s Semele as the High Priest, followed by his company debut with Boston Lyric Opera as Luther and Crespel in Les contes d’Hoffmann and Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni. Most recently, Mr. Thomas appeared as Antinoo in Boston Baroque’s acclaimed production of Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, of which the audio recording recieved two Grammy nominations (Best Opera Recording and Best Engineered Album, Classical). Other stage highlights include Uberto in Pergolesi’s La serva padrona, Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Sarastro in The Magic Flute, Alcindoro in La bohème, Bustamente in Massenet’s La Navarraise, Rakitin in Lee Hoiby’s A Month in the Country, Simone in Gianni Schicchi, and Collatinus in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia.
Apart from the operatic stage, Mr. Thomas has appeared as a featured artist with a number of ensembles including, Susquehanna Valley Chorale, The Spectrum Singers, Masterworks Chorale, Musica Sacra, Exsultemus, Blue Heron Renaissance Choir, The Concord Chorus, Cambridge Concentus, Newburyport Choral Society, Boston Choral Ensemble, and Emmanuel Music. Amongst his honors and awards, Mr. Thomas spent two summers as a vocal fellow at Tanglewood Music Center was a finalist in the 2001 Orpheus National Competition for Vocalists, where he received the Richard Strauss Award.
Bassist Anne Trout has performed, toured and been recorded widely in music of the baroque and classical periods for over two decades. She is regularly engaged by ensembles sized 5 to 50 throughout North America, appearing with a diverse group of leaders and soloists including Richard Egarr, Andrew Parrot, Mark Morris, Scott Metcalfe, Jane Glover, John Hsu, Christopher Hogwood, Rufus Mueller, Dominique LaBelle, Jaap ter Linden, Robert Levin, Kristian Bezuidenhout, Bruno Weil, William Christie and Roger Norrington. Performances include Boston Early Music Festival, Philharmonia Baroque, Tafelmusik, Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra, Clarion Society, Boston Bach Ensemble, Boston Baroque, Opera Lafayette, Tempesta di Mare, Arcadia Players and many others. Recent engagements include Vivaldi Project, Green Mountain Project, Concert Royal, Saint Thomas Boys Choir, Emmanuel Music, American Classical Orchestra, Dryden Ensemble, Spire Chamber Ensemble, Cantata Singers, Newton Baroque, Blue Hills Bach, REBEL, Handel & Haydn Society, Trinity Wall Street. Anne serves on the faculties of Longy School of Music of Bard College, International Baroque Institute at Longy (IBIL), Early Music for Modern Instruments (EMMI) and Boston College. She recently acquired the 1610 “Delmas” Maggini and is restoring it to its original condition as a 5-string double bass.
Soprano Kristen Watson, hailed by critics for her “blithe and silvery” tone (Boston Globe) and “striking poise” (Opera News), has made solo appearances with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Mark Morris Dance Group, American Classical Orchestra, Boston Baroque, Handel & Haydn Society and Emmanuel Music, at such venues as Walt Disney Concert Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, and Boston’s Symphony Hall.
Praised for her “keen musicianship, agility and seamless control” (San Antonio Express), Ms. Watson has been recognized by the Concert Artists Guild, Oratorio Society of New York, Joy in Singing, American Bach Society, and Louisville Bach Society competitions. Opera audiences have heard her with Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Boston, Boston University Opera Institute, Opera Providence, and the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh in such roles as Tytania in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Adele in “Die Fledermaus,” and Anne Trulove in “The Rake’s Progress.”
As a versatile crossover artist she has performed with the Boston Pops in programs ranging from Mozart to Richard Rodgers. Additional solo performances include the Boston Early Music Festival, Carmel Bach Festival, Cactus Pear Music Festival, North Carolina Symphony, Gulf Coast Symphony, Topeka Symphony, Evansville Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Camerata, Albany Pro Musica, Musicians of the Old Post Road, Boston Modern Orchestra Project and A Far Cry. Ms. Watson is originally from Topeka, Kansas.
Hailed by Gramophone for his “impressive horn playing,” Todd Williams is an active performer and educator based in Philadelphia. A leading exponent of the natural horn in America, he serves as principal horn of the Handel & Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, Trinity Wall Street, Clarion Society, Apollo’s Fire, Mercury, Opera Lafayette, Tempesta di Mare, Bläserband, and Cambini Winds. He has also appeared as soloist with the Bach Societies of Washington, Philadelphia, Dallas, Madison, and San Diego.
On the topic of the natural horn, he has conducted lectures at the Curtis Institute of Music, Eastman School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory,University of Wisconsin, and the University of Texas. On the modern valved horn, he is a staple of the Philadelphia music scene performing with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Opera Philadelphia, the Academy of Vocal Arts, the Pennsylvania Ballet, and the Philly Pops. Equally versatile in the Jazz/Popular world, he’s performed with the likes of Frank Sinatra Jr., Peter Gabriel, Elvis Costello, and Sarah Mcclachlan, to name a few.
Since 2003, he’s served as solo horn of the opera festival Lyrique-en-Mer, France. He has recorded on such labels as Naxos, Chandos/Chaconne, CORO, Musica Omnia, and Warner Brothers. Radio broadcasts, including recorded and live performances, have aired on Radio France (france musique), WQXR (New York), WETA (Washington, D.C.), WGBH (Boston), WWFM (New Jersey), and WRTI and WHYY (Philadelphia). Todd is a graduate of Indiana University.
A life-long music lover, and presently a singer with Collegiate Chorale in New York City, Susan Obel, Aston Magna’s Executive Director, had her first job in Arts Management with St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble/Orchestra of St. Luke’s. “I got my feet wet as a part-time office manager, but as a member of a small staff I soon became involved in writing, fundraising and special events.” Following St. Luke’s, she joined the staff of the Harlem School of the Arts, working closely with then Executive Director Betty Allen. There she launched and co-produced an annual Radiothon with radio legend Robert Sherman and WQXR, a fundraising event that continued for many years. Following that was a 15-year stint in public relations and fundraising with Theatreworks/USA, the nation’s preeminent professional theater for young and family audiences.
JoAnna Cochenet, Artistic Administrator, is an enthusiastic conductor, clinician, educator, advocate and speaker, writer, and performing artist. She is Conductor of the Northeast String Orchestra, a youth orchestra in upstate Clifton Park, New York.
Prior to her appointment, Cochenet was an Artist Faculty in viola, violin, and conducting at the Omaha Conservatory of Music in Nebraska and conducted and coached with the Omaha Area Youth Orchestras. She has performed professionally with groups such as the Omaha Symphony, Bard Conductors Institute Orchestra, Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, Rangbrook Ensemble, Red Cedar Chamber Music, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Cochenet has been invited to guest conduct with various youth, school, and community orchestras around the country. She continues to write and publish articles in the field of music and give lectures, demonstrations, and master classes.
Cochenet holds a M.M. in Viola Performance and Orchestral Conducting from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a B.M. with certification in Instrumental Music Education and a Performer’s Certificate in Viola from Coe College. Conducting teachers and mentors include Thomas Wilkins, Harold Farberman, Markand Thakar, Diane Wittry, Aviva Segall, David Barg, and Margery Deutsch. Viola teachers include Dr. Michael Kimber and Lewis Rosove. She is a member of the League of American Orchestras, International Alliance for Women in Music, and American String Teachers Association, and regularly participates in professional development workshops for conducting, teaching, and music education.