2016-2017 Artists

Julie Andrijeski

Julie Andrijeski is celebrated as a performer, scholar, and teacher of early music and dance. She has been recognized for her “invigorating verve and imagination” (Washington Post), “fiery and poetic depth” (Cleveland Plain Dealer), and “velvety, consistently attractive sound” (New York Times). In addition to her frequent performances with Les Délices, she is Co-director of the ensemble Quicksilver, Artistic Director and Concertmaster of the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, and Principal Player with Apollo’s Fire, the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra. Ms. Andrijeski joined the Music faculty at Case Western Reserve University in 2007, where she is now Senior Instructor, teaching early music performance practices and directing the baroque orchestra, chamber music, and dance ensembles. She won Early Music America’s Thomas Binkley Award, for outstanding achievement in performance and scholarship, and was named a 2016 Creative Workforce Fellow by Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (Ohio), supporting her research and performance of 17th-century music in manuscript.

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Cynthia Black

Originally from Dallas, Texas, Cynthia Black performs as a baroque violist and violinist in the United States. She has been a featured soloist with the American Bach Soloists and has most recently performed with Apollo’s Fire, Quicksilver, Les Délices, NYS Baroque, Publick Musick, and at the Carmel Bach Festival. She recently completed a D.M.A. at Case Western Reserve University as a student of Julie Andrijeski and holds modern viola degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music in the studios of Lynne Ramsey and Robert Vernon. Her research interests include scordatura practices in late 17th-century Italy and ornamentation in the string quartet repertoire. When not making music, she enjoys being in the kitchen and canoeing.

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Elinor Frey

Fascinated by the cello’s origins and the creative process of new music, Elinor Frey plays both period and modern instruments. Her debut album, Dialoghi, is titled for the solo piece written for her by Steven Stucky. Her recent release on the Belgian label Passacaille, Berlin Sonatas with Lorenzo Ghielmi on fortepiano, was nominated for a Juno award for Best Classical CD, Solo & Chamber Music, and won the 2015 Québec Opus Prize for Early Music CD of the year. Her first Baroque CD, La voce del violoncello, was praised for its “careful scholarship and brilliant layering of moods and tempos” (Toronto Star) and for the “honest, reflective beauty of her music making” (Strings). Her performance of this program was the winner of the public prize at the 2013 Utrecht Early Music Festival Fringe. Frey’s honours include a US-Italy Fulbright Fellowship where she studied baroque cello with Paolo Beschi, the SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship, American Musicological Society, and Canada Council for the Arts grants facilitating her work on Italian cello music. In recent seasons she has performed with Les Idées heureuses, Il Gardellino, Ensemble Caprice, Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal, and with her quartet, Pallade Musica. Frey holds degrees from McGill, Mannes, and Juilliard.

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Josh Lee

Cited for his “stylish and soulful playing”, Josh Lee performs on viols and double bass with some of the world’s leaders in period music. Founder of Ostraka, Josh is a member of Musica Pacifica, Les Délices, and The Two, and has performed with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Boston Early Music Festival, Orchester Wiener Akademie, Carmel Bach Festival and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. His performances have been heard on Performance Today, Harmonia, and Österreichischen Rundfunk, and he has recorded for Dorian, Koch International, Magnatune, Bear Machine, and Reference Recordings. Praised as “a master of the score’s wandering and acrobatic itinerary” by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Josh teaches at workshops across the US, and has been a guest instructor at San Francisco Conservatory, University of California Berkeley, and Peabody Conservatory. Josh is looking forward to a wildly varied concert season, including appearances with The Four Nations, Portland Baroque Orchestra, and a European tour with indie band Radical Face.

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Owen McIntosh

Acclaimed as a “lovely, tender high tenor” by the New York Times, Owen McIntosh enjoys a diverse career of chamber music and solo performance ranging from bluegrass to reggae, heavy metal to art song, and opera to oratorio. A native of remote Northern California, Mr. McIntosh has enjoyed sharing the stage with the country’s finest ensembles including Apollo’s Fire, Blue Heron, Boston Baroque, Carmel Bach Festival, Les Canards Chantants, New Vintage Baroque, Staunton Music Festival, TENET, Trident Ensemble, True Concord, San Diego Bach Collegium and the GRAMMY® nominated Choir of Trinity Wall Street.

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Simon Martyn-Ellis

Simon Martyn-Ellis began playing the lute after finding the classical guitar repertoire too restrictive for ensemble performance: continuo accompaniment remains a mainstay of his activities. After undergraduate studies in his homeland Australia, Simon moved to Germany in 2002 for postgraduate study with Rolf Lislevand at the Trossingen Hochschule für Musik. During his 11-year stay in Germany, Simon appeared frequently with the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Concerto Köln, Salzburger Landestheater, Neue Düsseldorfer Hofkapelle, Neue Hofkapelle München, and the Freiburger Barockorchester. Based in Cleveland, OH, since 2013, Simon has appeared as a founding member with ACRONYM and Duo Corbetta, as soloist with Apollo’s Fire and Clarion NYC, and at the Oregon Bach Festival, the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, with Les Delices, Helicon NYC, Bach Collegium San Diego, amongst other chamber performances around the US. In 2015 he was appointed teacher of Lute and related instruments at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Simon can be heard and seen on CD recordings and DVD releases from the Harmonia Mundi, Deutsche Grammophon, Virgin Classics, BIS, ABC Classics, Vexations840 and Move labels amongst others. He has been recorded for radio and television broadcast countless times in over 12 countries worldwide.

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Jason McStoots

Jason McStoots is a gifted young tenor whose “bright, clear, and fully-fledged” singing has been described as “exquisite” and “alluring.” Jason has performed around the world, and was honored with a Grammy award with the Boston Early Music Festival for his roles of Ixion in Charpentier’s La descente d’Orphée aux enfers and Forestan in La couronne de fleurs in 2015. Recent roles include Tabarco in Handel’s Almira, Apollo in Orfeo, and Eumete and Giove in Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria with the Boston Early Music Festival, and Pedrillo in Abduction from the Seraglio by Mozart with Boston’s Emmanuel Music. Jason has appeared with such groups as Boston Lyric Opera, Pacific MusicWorks, Boston Camerata, TENET, San Juan Symphony, Pablo Casals Festival, Early Music Guild of Seattle, Tragicomedia, and the Tanglewood Music Center. He is a core member of Blue Heron and can be heard on all six of their recordings. Jason teaches voice at Brandeis University and has staged operatic works for the Connecticut Early Music Festival, Amherst Early Music Festival, Wayland First Unitarian Players, and Brandeis University.

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Shannon Mercer

Recognized for the luminosity and effortless agility of her voice, as well as her commanding stage presence and profound acting ability, Canadian soprano Shannon Mercer maintains a busy and challenging performance calendar of opera, concert, and recital engagements throughout North America and Europe.

Particularly renowned for her interpretation of early music, Shannon recently performed in both Monteverdi’s Orfeo (as Messagiera) and l’Incoronazione di Poppea (as Ottavia) at the Boston Early Music Festival, on tour with Ensemble Caprice to Montreal, Washington D.C. and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, in concert with Catacoustic Consort in Cincinnati, with Les Violons du Roy, and the Seattle Baroque Orchestra.

Shannon sustains an active recording presence, capturing some rarely performed works. Her discography includes Trobairitz, a disc containing songs set to poems by female troubadours in the South of France, two recordings of Bach’s St. John Passion, the Juno-Award winning Gloria: Vivaldi’s Angels, Vivaldi – The Return of the Angels, Salsa Baroque, O Viva Rosa, Bach and the Liturgical Year, Wales ~ The Land of Song, and others. She appears on DVD in Alexina Louie’s comic operas Burnt Toast and Mulroney: The Opera, and in Monty Python funny-man Eric Idle’s hit Not the Messiah.

Photo: Helen Tansey

Scott Metcalfe

Scott Metcalfe is musical and artistic director of Blue Heron, acclaimed by The Boston Globe as “one of the Boston music community’s indispensables,” and music director of New York City’s Green Mountain Project (Jolle Greenleaf, artistic director), whose performances of Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers and other 17th-century music have been hailed by The New York Times as “quite simply terrific.” He is a frequent guest director of TENET (New York) in repertoire ranging from Machaut and Du Fay through Purcell and Bach, and he has been guest conductor of the Handel & Haydn Society (Boston), Emmanuel Music (Boston), the Tudor Choir and Seattle Baroque, Pacific Baroque Orchestra (Vancouver, BC), Quire Cleveland, the Dryden Ensemble (Princeton, NJ), and Early Music America’s Young Performers Festival Ensemble. Metcalfe also enjoys a career as a baroque violinist, currently playing with Les Délices (dir. Debra Nagy), Montreal Baroque (dir. Eric Milnes), and other ensembles. He taught vocal ensemble repertoire and performance practice at Boston University from 2006-2015 and in 2016-17 is serving as director of the baroque orchestra at Oberlin Conservatory. Some of his research on the performance practice of English vocal music in the 16th and 17th centuries will be published as two chapters of the volume of essays Music, politics, and religion in early seventeenth-century Cambridge: the Peterhouse partbooks in context (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, forthcoming, 2016) and he is presently at work on a new edition of the songs of Gilles Binchois (c. 1400-1460). He received a bachelor’s degree from Brown University (1985), where he majored in biology, and a master’s degree in historical performance practice from Harvard (2005).

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Eric Milnes

A native New Yorker, Eric Milnes, is director of La Bande Montréal Baroque, and L’harmonie des saisons, Quebec. He has received critical acclaim for performances as conductor, organist and harpsichordist throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia with recent appearances at the Regensburg, Potsdam, Bremen, Utrecht, Bruge and Lufthansa festivals, at The Forbidden City Concert Hall, Beijing, on tour throughout Japan and at the International Baroque Festival, Bolivia. North American performances include Mostly Mozart Festival, Boston Early Music Festival, Berkeley Bach Festival, Santa Fe Festival, Montreal Festival and as conductor with Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Portland Baroque Orchestra, New York Collegium, and Les Voix Baroque. His latest CD release, Cuidades de Oro (sacred music from colonial New Spain) won the 2016 JUNO (Canadian Grammy) for the best Classical Album of the Year. ATMA Classique features him directing the recording of the complete Bach sacred cantatas – eight volumes are completed. He has collaborated in recording and performance with Gustav Leonhardt, Wieland Kuijken, Sigiswald Kuijken, Bart Kuijken, Andrew Parrott, Reinhard Goebel, and Christophe Rousset, among many others. He takes greatest pride in the accomplishments of his daughters Mary Leah (Vanderbilt University, ’15)  and Hannah (Columbia College, ’16).

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Debra Nagy

“A baroque oboist of consummate taste and expressivity” (Cleveland Plain Dealer) with a musical approach that’s “distinctly sensual…pliant, warm, and sweet,” (New York Times), Debra Nagy, director, is one of North America’s leading performers on the baroque oboe. She plays principal oboe with the American Bach Soloists, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, and Apollo’s Fire, and is a regular guest with the Handel & Haydn Society, Boston Early Music Festival, and Portland Baroque Orchestra, among other ensembles. Following studies at the Oberlin Conservatory, Conservatory of Amsterdam, and Case Western Reserve University, Debra has received many awards for her creative and scholarly pursuits including first-prize in the American Bach Soloists Young Artists Competition, a 2009 Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a 2010 Creative Workforce Fellowship from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. She has recorded over 30 CDs with repertoire ranging from 1300-1800 on the Chandos, Avie, CPO, Capstone, Bright Angel, Naxos, and ATMA labels, and has had live performances featured on CBC Radio Canada, Klara (Belgium), NPR’s Performance Today, WQXR (New York City) and WGBH Boston.

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Martin Near

Countertenor Martin Near began his professional singing life at age ten in the choir of men and boys at Saint Thomas Fifth Avenue in New York City, advancing to Head Chorister. He now enjoys a varied career exploring his twin passions for early music and new music. Mr. Near recently sang in the solo quartet of Arvo Pärt’s Passio with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and together with soprano Margot Rood was noted for producing “an ear-boggling array of close-harmony sonorities…seemingly generating overtones and wave-interference patterns that not even dogs could hear.” He was the countertenor soloist in the premiere performance of Dominick DiOrio’s Stabat mater with Juventas New Music Ensemble, sang the role of Hamor in Handel’s Jephtha with Boston Cecilia, and was noted for his “fine work” in Buxtehude’s Heut triumphieret Gottes Sohn with Boston Baroque. He sings regularly with Emmanuel Music, Boston Baroque, and the Handel & Haydn Society. Mr. Near has also worked as a recording producer and was Music Director of Exsultemus from 2009 to 2012.

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Clara Rottsolk

“Pure and shining” (Cleveland Plain Dealer) soprano Clara Rottsolk has been lauded by The New York Times for her “clear, appealing voice and expressive conviction” and by The Philadelphia Inquirer for the “opulent tone [with which] every phrase has such a communicative emotional presence.”  In a repertoire extending from the Renaissance to the contemporary, her solo appearances with orchestras and chamber ensembles have taken her across the United States, the Middle East, Japan and South America.  In collaboration with pianists Sylvia Berry and Byron Schenkman, and guitarist-lutenist Daniel Swenberg, Ms. Rottsolk has given recitals of song from the 17th to 21st centuries in venues including the Goethe-Institut Boston, Town Hall Seattle, St. Mark’s Church Philadelphia, and Swarthmore College. Her recordings are Myths and Allegories, French Baroque cantatas with Les Délices and “supple and stylish… and unflaggingly attractive” (Gramophone Magazine) Scarlatti Cantatas with Tempesta di Mare on the Chandos-Chaconne label.

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Michael Sponseller

Michael Sponseller is recognized as one of the outstanding American harpsichordists of his generation. He has been a prizewinner of several international competitions, including two-time winner at the Bruges International Harpsichord Competition. Mr. Sponseller enjoys a highly diversified career as a recitalist and concerto soloist, and appears regularly as harpsichordist and continuo organist with Les Délices, Bach Collegium San Diego, Boston Early Music Festival, Tragicomedia, and Aston Magna. He can be heard on over a dozen recordings from Delos, Centaur, Eclectra, Vanguard Classics, RMAP and Naxos. A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (studying with Lisa Goode Crawford) and The Royal Conservatory of Music, The Hague, Mr. Sponseller has taught at Longy School of Music and Oberlin’s Baroque Performance Institute. He is also Associate Director of Bach Collegium San Diego. 

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Jaap ter Linden

Jaap ter Linden, cellist, gambist, and conductor, has a long history in the Historical Performance world. His many tours have taken him to countries throughout Europe, Japan, Australia and the United States, often with only the music of Bach in his backpack. As conductor, he has worked with ensembles such as the Handel and Haydn Society, Philharmonia, Portland and Lyra Baroque; Arion and Tafelmusik; the Wroclaw Symfonie in  Poland; Bordeaux Opera in France, and many others, performing repertoire from the 18th and 19th century, from Purcell to Mendelssohn and Schubert. He has numerous recordings to his name, notably the Bach cello suites, which he has recorded twice. His latest recording, the complete sonatas for cello and piano by Beethoven with David Breitman, are to be released this year. With his Mozart Akademie in Amsterdam he recorded the complete Mozart symphonies to great acclaim. He finished many years of teaching at the Royal Conservatory Den Haag in 2016, when he will move to the United States.

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Emily Walhout

Emily Walhout grew up playing the cello, but discovered her love for baroque bass lines at Oberlin Conservatory, where she took up the baroque cello and the viola da gamba, thus launching an active career in early music. Ms. Walhout was a founding member of La Luna, and was a member of The King’s Noyse from 1987 through 2004. She has played viola da gamba or principal cello for the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, Seattle Baroque, Portland Baroque, Les Boreades, Les Violons Du Roy, New York Collegium, and Trinity Consort (Portland, OR). Ms. Walhout has toured as a chamber musician throughout North America and Europe, and she has recorded extensively with the Boston Camerata, La Luna and The King’s Noyse. A resident of Waterown, MA, Ms Walhout maintains a small studio of private students and coaches several devoted viol consorts.

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Beth Wenstrom

Beth Wenstrom‘s performances have been described by The New Yorker as “elegant and sensual, stylishly wild.” Ms. Wenstrom is a founding member of Wayward Sisters, winner of the 2011 Early Music America/Naxos Competition. As a guest soloist and concertmaster, Ms. Wenstrom has performed with the Sebastian Chamber Players, New York Baroque Incorporated, Baroque Orchestra of Maine, Quodlibet Ensemble, as well as William Christie’s Les Rencontres musicales en Vendée in Thiré, France. Ms. Wenstrom also frequently enjoys playing in Apollo’s Fire, Trinity Wall Street Baroque Orchestra, and ACRONYM.

In addition to performing, Ms. Wenstrom is a committed and dynamic pedagogue.  She was a sabbatical replacement at Oberlin Conservatory for both modern and baroque violin in Spring 2014.  She has also taught violin undergraduates at SUNY Stony Brook University and coached baroque ensembles at Rutgers University and SUNY Stony Brook.

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