Tina Bergmann, hammered dulcimer, was hailed by Pete Seeger as “the best hammered dulcimer player I’ve heard in my life.” A fourth-generation musician, Ms. Bergmann began playing music at age eight, learning the mountain dulcimer from her mother in the aural tradition and learning the hammered dulcimer at the knee of West Virginia-native builder and performer Loy Swiger. Demonstrating gifts for both performance and teaching, she has been a featured performer across the United States, performing solo; as a duo with her husband, bassist Bryan Thomas; with her stringband Hu$hmoney; and as a featured soloist with Apollo’s Fire and Canadian early music group, La Nef.
Fiona Gillespie is a folk and classically-trained singer, songwriter, composer, and music educator. Raised in a family of traditional Celtic musicians Fiona grew up step dancing, singing ballads, and playing the Irish whistle, on which she competed nationally and internationally until 2006. She holds degrees in voice performance from Westminster Choir College (BM) and the University of North Texas (MM).
Fiona’s debut, full-length compositional recording with collaborator Elliot Cole released with a premier performance in New York City on October 31, 2021. The half-hour folk-rock cantata, scored for voices and 12-piece band of historical, modern, and electronic instruments, recreates the ancient Scottish ballad of Tam Lin. Her album of Scottish folk songs arranged by composers of the Viennese School, “Wisps in the Dell” released in 2019, and a “prequel” disc, “The Gallant David Rizzio” releases in 2022, all three of which are with the ensemble Makaris. As a featured performer Fiona’s recent and upcoming engagements include The Baroque Orchestra of Colorado, Musica Sierra, Carmel Bach Festival, Five Boroughs Music Festival, Labyrinth Baroque Ensemble, The Washington National Cathedral, Mountainside Baroque, The Academy of Sacred Drama, The Bach Choir of Bethlehem, Fire and Grace, and ALKEMIE. She sings regularly as a professional chorister with Skylark Ensemble, Apollo’s Fire, Kinnara Ensemble, Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity, and St. Tikhon’s Choir, and with churches in both New York City and Philadelphia.
Fiona is a co-founder and manager of the band The Chivalrous Crickets, the Baroque-Folk crossover duo, Disordering the Attic. She teaches voice at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, where she has led opera workshop and music directed main stage productions (recent: Gilbert & Sullivan’s Trial by Jury, 2019). Fiona taught voice at Lycoming College from 2013-2017, as well as directed opera (stage & music: Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel), co-taught courses on Baroque music and art that traveled to Italy, Germany, and Austria, and helped coordinate and lead choir tours to Washington DC, Florida, and China. She has led folksong arranging and group singing workshops at the Big Sur Fiddle Camp, and for Bethlehem PA’s Celtic Cultural Alliance.
Violinist Susanna Perry Gilmore enjoys a multifaceted career as solo artist, chamber musician, and orchestral concertmaster. Performing on both modern and period instruments and versatile in diverse styles from classical to fiddling, she is hailed as a player who is both “thrilling and sensitive” by the Memphis Commercial Appeal, “luminous and hypnotic” by the Omaha World-Herald, and “authentic with exquisite good taste” and “rich in tone, bringing musical depth and a human touch” by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Ms. Gilmore frequently appears as a soloist with the Omaha Symphony on the Master Works, Joslyn, and Symphony Pops series. Recent performances include the Scottish Fantasy by Max Bruch and Celtic Journey: Magic of the Emerald Isle. In recent seasons Omaha audiences have heard Ms. Gilmore perform the Tzigane by Ravel, Berg’s Violin Concerto, Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Mozart Violin Concerto No. 5, and the Korngold Violin Concerto as well as major concertmaster solos such as Rimsky Korsakov Scheherazade and Strauss Ein Heldenleben.
After beginning her career as a chamber player, at the age of twenty-six Ms. Gilmore became concertmaster of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. She joined the Omaha Symphony as concertmaster in 2011. Since 2014 she has been a frequent soloist and co-concertmaster on baroque violin and fiddle with the acclaimed period instrument ensemble and Grammy Award winner Apollo’s Fire (Cleveland), with whom she tours nationally and internationally and appears on the CD Sugarloaf Mountain: An Appalachian Gathering (Billboard Top 10 classical bestseller), the CD Sephardic Journey: Wanderings of the Spanish Jews (Billboard Top 10 classical bestseller), and Christmas on Sugarloaf Mountain.
Ms. Gilmore holds a Bachelor’s degree from Oxford University (UK), where she studied musicology and performed both early music and symphonic repertoire while studying privately with Yfrah Neaman. She spent a post-graduate year in the Advanced Solo Studies Program at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Upon returning to the United States, she earned a Master’s in Violin Performance from the New England Conservatory, where she studied with James Buswell. Prior to her studies in England, Ms. Gilmore studied with Christian Teal at the Blair School of Music in the pre-college program and as a child began her violin studies with Mimi Zweig at Indiana University. Ms. Gilmore learned to play Celtic fiddle in her youth through sitting in on Irish sessions during her years living in Nashville and England.
When not working as a classical and baroque violinist and fiddler, Ms. Gilmore spends time with her two daughters, Katy and Zoe, and her husband, Viseslav Drincic. She performs on a 1776 Joseph Odoardi violin.
Violist, violinist, and folk musician based in Youngstown, Ohio, Caitlin Hedge serves as Principal Viola of Opera Western Reserve and the Warren Philharmonic, and performs with the Youngstown Symphony, Wheeling Symphony, Butler County Symphony, Ashland Symphony, and Mansfield Symphony. She has performed with Celtic Woman, Evanescence, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and has won several awards for her fiddle playing, including first place in the 2013 Edinboro Scottish Highland Games Regional Competition. Her locally-based Greek blues/Americana group, Demos Papadimas and His Band, have recorded three studio albums together and were featured artists on Canton Symphony Orchestra’s 2019 Divergent Sound Series. Ms. Hedge is an alum of Youngstown State University and Baldwin Wallace University, and has served on faculty at YSU’s Dana School of Music and the Aurora School of Music. She is currently pursuing her MA in Historical Performance Practice at Case Western Reserve University, studying baroque violin with Julie Andrijeski. She will release her debut album of original folk music in 2022.
Bradley King, tenor, guitar, and bouzouki, is quickly establishing himself as one of the most versatile young singers on the East coast. As an early-music tenor, he has performed with the Boston Early Music Festival, the Rose Ensemble, the renowned renaissance vocal ensemble Pomerium, and the period ensemble Mountainside Baroque (Maryland), among others. He joined the Apollo’s Fire chorus in 2021 for Messiah performances in collaboration with the New York Philharmonic. On the opera and musical theatre stage, he has performed diverse roles ranging from Colin in the 18th-century opera Le Devin du Village by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, to Anthony in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. Bradley holds degrees in vocal performance and choral conducting from DePauw University and the University of North Texas.
Cellist René Schiffer is praised for his “interpretive imagination and patrician command of the cello” (The Cleveland Plain Dealer). He is a native of Holland where he was a protégé of Anner Bijlsma. He later studied baroque cello with Jaap ter Linden and viola da gamba with Catharina Meints. As a member of Sigiswald Kuijken’s La Petite Bande for sixteen years, he toured four continents and appeared many times on European television. He has also performed with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Les Musiciens du Louvre, and in over forty projects with Tafelmusik of Toronto. As a concerto soloist, he has appeared throughout North America and Europe, including such venues as the Royal Theatre of Madrid, and can be heard on acclaimed CD recordings of the Vivaldi Concerto for Two Cellos and the Tango Concerto for Two Gambas (his own composition) on British label AVIE. As a chamber musician, he has performed at the renowned baroque festivals of Utrecht and Bruges, as well as the Flanders Festival and Versailles. He can be heard on more than forty CD recordings, on the Harmonia Mundi, Philips, Virgin Classics, Erato, Sony, and AVIE labels. He serves on the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music as Teacher of Baroque Cello, and has given masterclasses and coachings for the New World Symphony (Miami), the University of Michigan, Oberlin Conservatory, and Cincinnati College-Conservatory.
William Simms is an active performer of early music. Equally adept on lute, theorbo and baroque guitar, he regularly performs with Apollo’s Fire, The Washington Bach Consort, Tempesta di Mare, Modern Musick, Ensemble Vermillian, Heartland Baroque and Three Notch’d Road. He has performed numerous operas, cantatas and oratorios with such ensembles as The Washington National Opera, The Cleveland Opera, Opera Lafayette, Opera Philadelphia and American Opera Theater. Venues include The National Cathedral, The Kennedy Center, The Kimmel Center for the performing arts and The Barns at Wolftrap. Summer festival performances include Tanglewood, Caramoor and Ravinia. He has toured and recorded with The Baltimore Consort and Apollo’s Fire. His recording with Ronn Mcfarlane, Two Lutes, was CD pick of the week on WETA in 2012. He has recorded for the Centaur, Sono Luminus and Eclectra labels. Mr. Simms received his Bachelor of Music from the College of Wooster in Ohio and his Master of Music from Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. He is Instructor of Guitar at Mt. St. Mary’s University and Hood College, where he is founder and Director of the Hood College Early Music Ensemble.
“A resplendent performance… breathtaking. The production belonged entirely to Ms. Sorrell.”
–THE NEW YORK TIMES
GRAMMY®-winning conductor Jeannette Sorrell is recognized internationally as one of today’s most compelling interpreters of Baroque and Classical repertoire. She is credited by BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE for “forging a vibrant, life-affirming approach to early music.”
The daughter of a European immigrant father and American mother, she grew up as a musician and dancer. She studied conducting under Leonard Bernstein, Robert Spano, and Roger Norrington at the Tanglewood and Aspen music festivals. As a harpsichordist, she studied with Gustav Leonhardt in Amsterdam and won First Prize and the Audience Choice Award in the Spivey International Harpsichord Competition, competing against over 70 harpsichordists from Europe, Israel, the U.S., and the Soviet Union.
Sorrell is the founder and artistic director of APOLLO’S FIRE, and has led the renowned period ensemble as conductor and harpsichord soloist in sold-out concerts from Carnegie Hall and London’s BBC Proms to the Tanglewood and Ravinia festivals. At home in Cleveland, she and Apollo’s Fire have built one of the largest audiences of any baroque orchestra in North America.
In demand with symphony orchestras and period groups alike, Sorrell made her conducting debut in December 2021 with the New York Philharmonic (Handel’s Messiah), with the NEW YORK TIMES writing, “Jeannette Sorrell led a splendid performance… lithe, glowing and elegant.” Last month she made her debut with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, conducting Bach’s St. John Passion. She has repeatedly conducted the Pittsburgh Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Utah Symphony, New World Symphony, and the Florida Orchestra; and also led the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Opera St Louis with the St Louis Symphony, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in San Francisco, the Calgary Philharmonic (Canada), the Royal Northern Sinfonia (UK), the San Diego Symphony, and Alabama Symphony, among others.
With over 9 million views of their YouTube videos, Sorrell and Apollo’s Fire have released 29 commercial CDs, of which 10 have been bestsellers on the classical Billboard chart. Sorrell won a GRAMMY® in 2019 for her album “Songs of Orpheus” with Apollo’s Fire and tenor Karim Sulayman. Her recordings include the complete Brandenburg Concerti and harpsichord concerti of Bach (Billboard Classical Top 10 in 2012) and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (Billboard Classical #2 in 2021). She has also released four discs of Mozart. Other recordings include Bach’s St. John Passion, Handel’s Messiah, the Monteverdi Vespers (Billboard Classical Top 10) and five creative crossover projects, including Sephardic Journey – Wanderings of the Spanish Jews (Billboard World Music #2, Classical #7) and Christmas on Sugarloaf Mountain (Billboard Classical #3, and named “Festive Disc of the Year” by GRAMOPHONE).
Sorrell is the subject of the 2019 documentary by Academy award-winning director Allan Miller, titled PLAYING WITH FIRE. She has also been featured on Living the Classical Life. She has attracted national awards for her creative programming and her “storytelling” approach to early music, which has attracted many new listeners through the use of contextual and dramatic elements.
She holds an honorary doctorate from Case Western University, two special awards from the National Endowment for the Arts for her work on early American music, and an award from the American Musicological Society. Passionate about guiding the next generation of performers, Sorrell is the architect of Apollo’s Fire’s Young Artist Apprentice program, which has produced many of the nation’s leading young professional baroque players; and the new Artistic Leadership Fellows program.
“Under the inspired leadership of Jeannette Sorrell, Apollo’s Fire has become one of the pre-eminent period-instrument ensembles, causing one to hear baroque material anew.”
–THE INDEPENDENT, London