ALAN CHOO

Alan Choo, violin, “was a dynamo, delivering lines with panache. He exemplified virtuosity” (Cleveland Plain Dealer). A leading soloist, chamber musician and historical specialist, Alan made his solo debut with Apollo’s Fire at the Tanglewood and Ravinia Music Festivals in 2017. He currently serves as Artistic Leadership Fellow for AF, where he takes on the roles of soloist, concertmaster, and guest director. He is also Founder/Artistic Director of Red Dot Baroque, Singapore’s first professional period ensemble and Ensemble-in-Residence at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory. In May 2019 he was invited as guest concertmaster and soloist with the Shanghai-based baroque ensemble, Shanghai Camerata.
 
As a modern violinist, Alan has appeared as a soloist with the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Chinese Orchestra, Orchestra of the Music Makers, and more. A proponent of contemporary music, Alan is co-founder of SG Inspirations, a project dedicated to performing works by Singaporean composers. In 2015, he recorded the SG Inspirations commemorative CD album with pianist Lin Hengyue as a gift to their nation on Singapore’s 50th anniversary. His piano trio Trio Phoenix combines both worlds of early and contemporary music by performing works by living composers and exploring the wealth of baroque repertoire performed with stylistic awareness on modern instruments. The trio completed their Asia Summer Tour in 2015 to critical acclaim, with repertoire ranging from Jean-Philippe Rameau to Alfred Schnittke, and were guest artists at the Lexington Bach Festival 2017.
 
Alan’s achievements in all areas of performance have earned him awards such as the Early Music Award 2016 from Peabody Conservatory, the Paul Abisheganaden Grant for Artistic Excellence 2015, the Goh Soon Tioe Centenary Award 2014, the Grace Clagett Ranney Prize in Chamber Music 2014 and 1st prize in the National Piano and Violin Competition 2011, Artist Category. He has also given masterclasses and lectures in violin performance, performance practice and stage presence to college students at Cleveland Institute of Music, Baldwin-Wallace College, Bowling Green State University, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.
 
Alan holds a Doctorate in Historical Performance Practice from Case Western Reserve University, where he studied with Julie Andrijeski. His previous teachers include Risa Browder, Victor Danchenko and Alexander Souptel.

 
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AMANDA CRIDER

Mezzo-soprano Amanda Crider has been recognized for her “gleaming vocalism” (Boston Globe), “star acting” (Urban Milwaukee), and “superbly clear diction and warmly burnished timbre” (South Florida Classical Review). In demand for performances of classical and contemporary opera alike, Ms. Crider created the role of Alma in Keeril Makan and Jay Scheib’s Persona in its world premiere with the Beth Morrison Projects and later at LA Opera, about which the New York Times remarked, “Amanda Crider made a winsome, vulnerable, and when the story turns dark, wildly volatile Alma,” and San Francisco Classical Voice declared, “Crider’s performance was a tour-de-force for its sustained vocal luster, dramatic variation, and sheer amount of singing.”

Performances in the 2021-22 season included the role of Penelope in a new opera by composer Mary Prescott, A Survivor’s Odyssey with White Snake Projects, soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with Elgin Symphony and Amarillo Symphony, and multiple appearances with the GRAMMY® nominated ensemble Seraphic Fire, including Hildegard von Bingen’s Ordo Virtutum in a new staging by Francesca Zambello.

Most recently, Crider performed with Apollo’s Fire in Allure: The Three Amandas with sopranos Amanda Forsythe and Amanda Powell. Additional recent appearances included a debut with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, soloist in Handel’s Messiah with Jacksonville Symphony and a duo recital with countertenor, Reginald Mobley.

Crider has been seen as the title character in L’incoronazione di Poppea at Florentine Opera, a role that she “wielded with beauty and charisma” (Voix des arts). Boston University News Service declared her “the true star” for her leading role in Boston Lyric Opera’s production of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Greek, and Opera News lauded her “beautiful work” and “agility” playing the English Teacher in Gregory Spears and Kathryn Walat’s 2019 recording of Paul’s Case, a role which Crider premiered with the Prototype Festival and Urban Arias in 2013.

A busy soloist and recitalist, Crider has appeared regularly with Seraphic Fire, Apollo’s Fire, the Bach Festival Society of Florida, the International Contemporary Ensemble, the Cooperstown Chamber Music Festival, the Symphony Orchestras of Eugene, Savannah, Charlotte, Syracuse, Charleston, Amarillo, Southwest Michigan and Jacksonville; and Philharmonic Orchestras of Louisiana, Carnegie Mellon and Greeley. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in the fall of 2007 singing as mezzo soloist in Messiah with the New England Symphonic Ensemble, and returned the following season as soloist in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass. She has performed as a soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Bach’s B minor Mass, Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem and Mass in C minor, Britten’s Phaedra, Bach’s St. John Passion, Bernstein’s Jeremiah Symphony and Ravel’s Chansons Madécasses, and has been a featured recitalist on the Trinity Church Concerts at One Series and with Five Boroughs Music Festival. Of her New World Symphony performance of de Falla’s El Amor Brujo in 2014, South Florida Classical Review wrote, “Amanda Crider’s smoky mezzo-soprano assayed the flamenco vocal solos with gutsy abandon.”

Ms. Crider’s first foray into the operatic world as L’Enfant in L’Enfant et les Sortilèges at the Tanglewood Music Center was hailed by Opera News as “delightful,” with the Boston Globe stating she sang with “ineffable tenderness.” Since then, she has delighted audiences in the roles of Angelina (La Cenerentola), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro), Sesto (Handel Giulio Cesare), the title role in Carmen, Nellie Forbush (South Pacific), Diana (Orpheus in the Underworld), Speranza/Pastore #3 (Monteverdi L’Orfeo), Siébel (Faust), Olga (Eugene Onegin), Prince Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus), Laurey (Oklahoma) and Mallika (Lakmé) at companies including the Dallas Opera, Orlando Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Knoxville Opera, Opera Omaha, Nevada Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera and Eugene Opera, Anchorage Opera and Opera Boston, New York City Opera, Castleton Festival and Glimmerglass Opera.

Ms. Crider was a grant recipient from the Pittsburgh Concert Society, and a finalist in both the Joy in Singing Debut Artist Competition and the Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition. She was a finalist in the José Iturbi International Voice Competition, the 2nd Place Winner in the Shreveport Opera Singer of the Year Competition, Recipient of the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition David and Ingrid Kosowsky Award, Finalist in the Oratorio Society of New York Vocal Competition and Center for Contemporary Opera Competition, and a Recipient of a Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation. Crider is also the Founder and Artistic Director of Miami’s Art Song concert series, IlluminArts.

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KRISTEN DUBENION-SMITH

Recognized for her “velvety legato and embracing warmth of sound” (Washington Classical Review) and “lyric-mezzo of uncommon beauty” (The Washington Post,) mezzo soprano Kristen Dubenion-Smith enjoys an active performing career in oratorio and sacred vocal chamber music, specializing in music of the medieval, renaissance and baroque eras.

As a concert soloist, Kristen has earned recognition for her performances of the works of the high baroque, especially Bach and Handel. Her “ lyric-Mezzo of uncommon beauty” (The Washington Post) was praised following her December 2019 performance as Alto Soloist in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with The Washington Bach Consort. Highlights from recent seasons include Handel’s Israel in Egypt with the Washington National Cathedral Baroque Orchestra and Bach’s St. John Passion with The Dryden Ensemble. In previous seasons, she has appeared as Alto Soloist in works such as Handel’s Messiah, Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, Praetorius’ Christmas Vespers and Mozart’s Requiem among others, with ensembles including Apollo’s Fire, Handel Choir of Baltimore, Opera Lafayette, The New Dominion Chorale, The Folger Consort, and Chatham Baroque. In the summer of 2019, Ms. Dubenion-Smith attended the American Bach Soloists Academy where she was featured in Bach’s Trauerode and Mass in B Minor. She is also a 2020 (transferred to 2022 due to the pandemic) Virginia Best Adams Fellow with the Carmel Bach Festival.

Starting in the fall of 2016, Ms. Dubenion-Smith joined the Choir of Men and Boys/Girls at the Washington National Cathedral as the first woman to be offered a position in this choir. She had previously served as cantor since 2011. In her time with the Cathedral Choir, she has sung for liturgies, commemorations, and events of national importance- most recently, the State Funerals of President George H. W. Bush and Senator John McCain, the internment of Matthew Shepard, the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony and Prayer Service, and the 9/11 services at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

As a professional choral singer, Ms. Dubenion-Smith performs regularly with Cathedra, Chantry, The Washington Bach Consort and the Grammy Nominated, NYC based, Clarion Choir. She also sings on the 2021 Grammy winning recording of The Prison by Ethel Smyth with The Experiential Choir and Orchestra. She can also be heard on commercial recordings with The Folger Consort, Apollo’s Fire, Cathedra, and Via Veritate.

In 2010, Ms. Dubenion-Smith co-founded the award winning, Washington D.C. based Eya: Ensemble for Medieval Music. Eya has been presented at a number of distinguished venues and series including the Academy of Early Music, National Gallery of Art, The Music Center at Strathmore, Washington National Cathedral, Columbus Early Music, and Dumbarton Oaks, in addition to numerous colleges, universities, and concert series across the east coast. The ensemble has been featured on Voice of America Radio, Millennium of Music on NPR, and is the recipient of the 2013 Greater DC Choral Excellence Award for Best Specialty Group: Early Music as well as a 2015 nominee for Most Creative Programming and 2018 nominee for Best New Recording.

To keep busy during the pandemic, Ms. Dubenion-Smith started a weekly series on her YouTube channel entitled Social DistanSING. Despite specializing in early music, she spans many genres of music on her channel, featuring music by Dolly Parton, Claudio Monteverdi, Johann Sebastian Bach, Enya, Henry Purcell, the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Benjamin Britten, Extreme, Hildegard von Bingen, Toto, Richard Einhorn, Elise Witt, and Frideric Handel as well as commissioned arrangements of hymns and popular music, specifically for her series, by dear friend and colleague, Carter Sligh.

Notable solo engagements for the 2021-2022 season include performances with The Johnstown Symphony (Handel’s Messiah,) The Washington Bach Consort (Bach’s BWV 188 and St. Matthew Passion,) Bach in Baltimore (Mendelssohn’s Elijah,) and the Cathedral Choral Society (Smyth’s Mass in G.)

Originally from Michigan, Ms. Dubenion-Smith attended Alma College (Bachelor of Music) before moving to Maryland to complete her studies at The Peabody Conservatory of Music (Master of Music) in Baltimore.

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AMANDA FORSYTHE

The American soprano Amanda Forsythe, highly praised for her performances on both sides of the Atlantic, sang Euridice on the recording of Charpentier’s La descente d’Orphée aux enfers with the Boston Early Music Festival which won the 2015 GRAMMY AWARD for Best Opera Recording. Her highly acclaimed CDs have included her début solo album of Handel arias “The Power of Love” with Apollo’s Fire on the Avie label. She recently toured with the outstanding French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, performing works based on the Orfeo myth, and subsequently recorded the role of Euridice in a new edition of Gluck’s Orfeo for the ERATO label.

Equally at home on the concert platform and on the opera stage, in recent seasons Amanda Forsythe’s major engagements have included Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Boston Symphony under Andris Nelsons and the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Susanna Mälkki, Handel’s Sileti venti and Laudate pueri with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Nicholas Kraemer, Messiah with Seattle Symphony, Bach’s Magnificat and concert performances as Marzelline Fidelio with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia under Sir Antonio Pappano. Following performances as Amour in Gluck’s Orphée at London’s Royal Opera House, she participated in tours of this work, and of Mozart’s C Minor Mass and Requiem with the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra under Sir John Eliot Gardiner.

She is a regular soloist with the highly acclaimed baroque ensembles Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (PBO), Apollo’s Fire, Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, Pacific Musicworks, the Boston Early Music Festival, and the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra. She sang the title role of Teseo with PBO at the Tanglewood and Mostly Mozart Festivals under Nicholas McGegan, and made her début at the Oregon Bach Festival in Bach’s Mass in B Minor and Magnificat under Matthew Halls.

Amanda Forsythe made her USA stage début with the Boston Early Music Festival, where her many roles have included Poppea and Drusilla L’incoronazione di Poppea, Niobe and Manto (recording) in Steffani’s Niobe, regina di Tebe, Aglaure Psyché (Lully), Venus Venus and Adonis (John Blow), Pallas The Judgment of Paris (Eccles), Isabelle Le Carnaval de Venise (Campra), Serpina La serva padrona and Edilia Almira, Königin von Castilien, for which she received rave reviews. Having made her début at Seattle Opera as Iris Semele, Amanda Forsythe recently returned there to sing Pamina Die Zauberflöte. Her operatic repertoire also includes Poppea Agrippina, the title role in Partenope, Dorinda Orlando, Amenaide Tancredi, Bastienne Bastien und Bastienne, Ninfa/Proserpina Orfeo, Amore Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, Oberto Alcina, Dafne Apollo e Dafne, Atalanta Xerxes, Vagaus Juditha Triumphans and roles in Les Indes Galantes and The Fairy Queen.

She made her European operatic début in the role of Corinna Il viaggio a Reims at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, subsequently returning to perform Rosalia L’equivoco stravagante, and Jemmy Guillaume Tell, described by one critic as “…the best singing of this crucial part I’ve ever encountered…”. At her invitation, Amanda Forsythe joined the distinguished American mezzo soprano Joyce di Donato in a performance of Bellini duets in the festival’s ‘Malibran’ recital.

Major European opera house engagements have included Dalinda Ariodante in Geneva and Munich and Barbarina Le nozze di Figaro,Manto in Steffani’s Niobe, regina di Tebe, Amour in Gluck’s Orphée and Nannetta Falstaff at London’s Royal Opera House. Her performance as Nannetta was described by Gramophone Magazine as “meltingly beautiful”.

Amanda Forsythe’s recordings include Venus Venus and Adonis, Aglaure in Lully’s Psyché, and La Grande Pretresse in Lully’s Thésée with the Boston Early Music Festival (all for CPO), Manto in Steffani’s Niobe with BEMF (Erato), the title role in Handel’s Teseo with Philharmonia Baroque (PBO’s own label), Bach’s St. John Passion and Messiah with Apollo’s Fire (Avie), Dorinda Handel’s Orlando with Early Music Vancouver (ATMA) and Haydn’s Creation with Boston Baroque (Linn). She also sings on the DVD recordings of the Pesaro productions of L’equivoco stravagante and Guillaume Tell as well as Manto in the Royal Opera production of Steffani’s Niobe (Opus Arte). Her latest CD of Steffani duets with the Boston Early Music Festival was awarded the Diapason d’Or in January 2018.

FRANCISCO FULLANA

Artist-in-Residence

“A continuous display of nuanced genius playing” – El Mundo

“A rising young virtuoso of outstanding potential” – The Violin Channel

Spanish-born violinist Francisco Fullana is one of the first international solo violinists to fully embrace and absorb the baroque language of historical performance. Hailed as a “rising star” (BBC Music Magazine), he is the winner of four international violin competitions as well as an Avery Fisher Career Grant. His Carnegie Hall recital debut was noted for its “joy and playfulness in collaboration … it was perfection” (New York Concert Review).

As Artist-in-Residence with Apollo’s Fire, he performs with the GRAMMY-winning period band in 17 concerts during 2021-22, including at Carnegie Hall in March and at Cleveland’s Severance Hall in May. He also shares his love of music and his immigrant story with youth at several Spanish-speaking public schools in Cleveland and Chicago, in collaboration with AF musicians.

Fullana’s recent solo debut album, titled “Bach’s Long Shadow,” was chosen by BBC Music Magazine as “Instrumental Album of the Month” in July 2021.

Born into a family of educators, Francisco was raised in Mallorca and Madrid and was recognized in Spain as a prodigy. He moved to the U.S. at the age of 16 (as an unaccompanied minor) to study at The Juilliard School. His primary teachers and mentors for the next 8 years were Donald Weilerstein, Masao Kawasaki, and Midori.

His lifelong fascination with baroque music has influenced both of his prior recordings: his 2018 debut album, Through the Lens of Time (Orchid Classics) and his 2021 solo album, Bach’s Long Shadow, which juxtaposes Bach Partitas on gut strings and baroque setup with virtuoso solo violin works from the next three centuries.

As a concerto soloist, his engagements have included the Bayerische Philharmonie, the Münchner Rundfunkorchester, the City of Birmingham Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, and the St Paul Chamber Orchestra, among others.

As a chamber musician, Francisco is a Bowers Program Artist at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. His many performances have included the Marlboro Festival and the Perlman Music Program, as well as collaborations with Mitsuko Uchida and members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, Pacifica, Takács, and Cleveland quartets.

Using gut strings and a baroque bow, Francisco performs on the 1735 “Mary Portman” ex-Kreisler Guarneri del Gesù violin, on loan from Clement and Karen Arrison through the Stradivari Society of Chicago.

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HAITHAM HAIDAR

Haitham Haidar is a Lebanese-Palestinian Canadian tenor, currently based in Montreal. He is a proud graduate of Yale’s Institute of Sacred Music, McGill’s Schulich School of Music, and the University of British Columbia.

Praised for his ‘ductile,’ ‘bright,’ and ‘robust’ tenor, Haitham enjoys performing oratorio, opera, and chamber music across North America, Europe, and Asia. He has recently joined Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble, a group that develops opportunity for music excellence and diversity to exist in one space.

When he’s not performing, Haitham spends his time playing the recorder, taking care of his cat Tonks, and going for long walks along the canal. He also enjoys incorporating Arabic music into his performances.

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SONYA HEADLAM

Soprano Sonya Headlam has performed across the United States and around the world, in South America, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. She is active in the New Jersey area as a music educator and singer of a diverse range of repertoire from the Baroque to the 21st century. Sonya began 2019 in the recording studio as the soprano soloist on the Trinity Wall Street Choir’s soon-to-be-released recording of Dreams of the New World, by Los Angeles-based composer Ellen Reid. Upcoming performances include a recital of art songs, folk songs and spirituals by African American and Caribbean composers, and, in April, the role of Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Così fan tutte with Light Opera of New Jersey. Sonya holds performance degrees from Miami University of Ohio, and she received additional training at Mannes College of Music in New York City. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.

KIM LEEDS

With her “vivid, deeply satisfying sound” and “rich, smooth mezzo soprano”, Kim Leeds engages audiences in her exploration of life’s essence through music. As a soloist, she has appeared with the Bach Akademie Charlotte, Ad Astra Musical Festival, Les Délices, American Bach Soloists Academy, L’Akadémie du Roi Soleil, Handel Society of Dartmouth, Bach Society of St. Louis, the Tafelmusik Baroque Chamber Orchestra and Choir, the Oregon Bach Festival Discovery Series, GRAMMY® nominated True Concord Voices and Orchestra, and Gramophone award winning ensemble Blue Heron. Over the years, Ms. Leeds has garnered multiple accolades including winning the Tafelmusik Vocal Competition in 2016, attending the Carmel Bach Festival as a Virginia Best Adams Fellow in 2017, was a finalist for the American Prize in Art Song in 2019, and that summer worked with Philippe Herreweghe as a Britten-Pears Young Artist in their Bach Cantata programme.

Ms. Leeds enjoys performing a wide range of repertoire from Zelenka and Barbara Strozzi, to Janacek, Irving Fine, and Poulenc as well as sung premieres of works by James MacMillan, Richard Danielpour, James Kallembach, and Julia Wolfe. As a choral artist, Ms. Leeds has toured with Helmuth Rilling in Eastern Germany as a member of the Weimar Bach Academy and toured Northern Italy and Southern Germany with the Junges Stuttgart Bach Ensemble under the direction of Hans Christoph Rademann. In the US, she has performed with the Oregon Bach Festival, Handel and Haydn Society, GRAMMY® nominated ensemble Seraphic Fire, GRAMMY® winning ensemble the Crossing, and this season joins Musica Sacra, the GRAMMY® nominated Clarion choir and GRAMMY® winning ensemble Apollo’s Fire.

In her hometown of Boston, Ms. Leeds has appeared as a soloist with the Commonwealth Chorale, Cantata Singers, Music at Marsh Chapel, and can be heard on the 2017 Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s recording of Jeremy Gill’s “Before the Wresting Tides”. Ms. Leeds holds degrees from Mannes College of Music and the Boston Conservatory

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DAPHNA MOR

Daphna Mor has performed throughout Europe and the United States as both a soloist and ensemble player. Mor’s “astonishing virtuosity” (Chicago Tribune) has been heard in solo recitals in the United States, Croatia, Germany and Switzerland. She has performed as a soloist with the New York Collegium, the New York Early Music Ensemble and Little Orchestra Society, and as a member of the orchestra with the New York Philharmonic, New York City Opera and Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Mor was awarded First Prize in the Settimane Musicali di Lugano Solo Competition and the Boston Conservatory Concerto Competition, and has appeared in a duo with Joyce DiDonato on the singer’s promotional tour for the album In War and Peace. Devoted to new music, Mor has recorded on John Zorn’s Tzadik label, and has performed the world premiere of David Bruce’s Tears, Puffes, Jumps, and Galliard with the Metropolis Ensemble. Also active in the world music community, Mor has performed in festivals and on stages worldwide, including New York’s Summer Stage and Munich’s Gasteig. She can also be heard on Sting’s album If On A Winter’s Night for Deutsche Grammophon. Mor serves as the Music Director of Beineinu, a New York initiative dedicated to the modern cultivation of Jewish culture, and is a performer and teacher of liturgical music of the Jewish diaspora. She leads programs for the Education Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

REBECCA MYERS

Soprano Rebecca Myers is a celebrated performing and recording artist who specializes in a comprehensive variety of repertoire including early, contemporary, and chamber music.

Recent seasons have seen solo engagements with Seraphic Fire, Tempesta di Mare, Lyric Fest, Opera Philadelphia, Apollo’s Fire, the CalPoly Bach Festival, and Philadelphia’s Bach @ 7 series. Also a highly sought after recital artist, Rebecca has been featured in art song recitals with pianists Laura Ward and Benjamin C.S. Boyle presented by the European American Musical Alliance (EAMA), The Woodmere Art Museum, and Opus Opera.

Acclaimed for her work in the field of new music, Rebecca is a core member of The Crossing, the two time GRAMMY winning ensemble dedicated entirely to new music. She has premiered works by the top living composers around the world and she was a soloist on the 2016 GRAMMY nominated Bonhoeffer, released by The Crossing. She is also a founding member of the cutting edge vocal sextet Variant 6.

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DEBRA NAGY

Praised for her “dazzling technique and soulful expressiveness,” (Rocky Mountain News), and a musical approach that’s “distinctly sensual…pliant, warm, and sweet,” (New York Times), Debra Nagy is one of North America’s leading performers on the baroque oboe. She is principal oboe with Boston’s Handel & Haydn Society and performs with ensembles around the country including the American Bach Soloists, Apollo’s Fire, Boston Early Music Festival, and others. Passionate about chamber music, Debra is the founder/director of Les Délices (whose debut recording was named “One of the Top Ten Early Music Discoveries of 2009”) and also performs late-medieval music as a regular guest with Boston’s acclaimed Blue Heron and Chicago’s Newberry Consort. 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 and has had live performances featured on the radio across the U.S., Canada, and in Europe.

Debra’s passion for unearthing little-known masterpieces caused the New York Times to dub Les Délices “an early music group with an avant-garde appetite,” adding, “concerts and CDs by Les Délices are journeys of discovery.” Inspired by a creative process that brings together research, composition in historical styles, improvisation, and artistic collaboration, highlights of Debra’s recent projects have included critically-acclaimed multimedia productions of Machaut’s medieval masterpiece Remede de Fortune and music from the recently-discovered Leuven Songbook (c. 1470). Her Baroque-Jazz crossover program, Songs without Words (‘successful, risk-taking music!” – The Whole Note) has not only expanded the repertoire for her instrument but also challenged accepted notions about period instruments (CD released by Navona Recordings, 2018). She eagerly anticipates the premiere performances of The White Cat, a fairytale-based pastiche Baroque opera for singers and chamber ensemble with puppetry and projections that brings to life Aesop’s Fables and Marie-Catherine D’Aulnoy’s 1690s feminist fairytale in April 2022 (postponed from April 2020 due to the Covid crisis).

Recent social unrest and the restrictions of the COVID-19 Pandemic have inspired several new projects. Debra reimagined Les Délices’ traditional concert series for the virtual space and safely recorded 6 different programs for broadcast during their 2020-21 season. One reviewer described the first program as, “in a word: sensational!” and another recognized “[Les Délices] raises the bar for streaming events that have fairly taken over since the pandemic halted live performing arts. At a most challenging time Les Délices embarks on a creative adventure to extend its audience beyond their in-person performances rather than an alternative to them. The modest ticket price is a cultural gift.”

At the same time, Debra created a bi-weekly web series variety show for early music called SalonEra. A salon experience for the 21st century, SalonEra stays timely and relevant in introducing a wide range of artists and performing traditions. Produced remotely, SalonEra brings together regular contributors and special guests whose personalities, perspectives, and contributions set the stage for fascinating conversations and fulfilling artistic exchange. Unlimited by geography or program conventions, SalonEra has attracted a wide audience and enables her to dramatically expand the range of repertoire and artists that Les Délices presents. Importantly, the program also provides paid work for performing artists whose livelihoods have been deeply impacted by the pandemic.

A dedicated and inspiring teacher, Debra serves on the artist faculties of the American Bach Soloists’ Summer Academy and the Oregon Bach Festival’s Berwick Academy, and has given masterclasses at Juilliard, the Cleveland Institute of Music, San Francisco Conservatory, Cincinnati Conservatory, and University of Washington. She is also committed to service and to fostering the next generation of leaders through her work as a mentor and as a former board member of Early Music America and liaison to its Youth Advisory Board.

When not rehearsing, performing, or dreaming up new projects, Debra cooks prodigiously (including much canning and pickling) and loves commuting by bicycle from her home in Cleveland’s historic Ohio City neighborhood.

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MOLLY NETTER

A versatile and joyous musician, Canadian-American soprano Molly Netter enlivens complex and beautiful music, both old and new, with “a natural warmth” (LA Times) and “clear, beautiful tone and vivacious personality” (NY Times). She can be heard on five GRAMMY-nominated albums since 2017 and has performed as a soloist with ensembles such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, the Boston Early Music Festival, Apollo’s Fire, Musica Angelica, Contemporaneous, Juilliard415, Heartbeat Opera, and the Bang on a Can All-Stars. She has been a full-time member of the Choir at Trinity Wall Street since 2015.

Molly is an active performer, curator, educator and advocate of new music, regularly commissioning new works by living composers. Recent collaborators include David Lang, Julia Wolfe, Amy Beth Kirsten, Doug Balliett, Katherine Balch, Molly Joyce, and Jessica Meyer, among others. Notable chamber performance highlights include inaugural casts of Pulitzer-winning operas Angel’s Bone (Du Yun, 2015) and PRISM (Ellen Reid, 2017). She was a featured curator/performer on Trinity Wall Street’s 2018 acclaimed “Time’s Arrow Festival,” programming an eclectic evening of Barbara Strozzi paired with newly commissioned contemporary works. In 2020 she began commissioning an entirely new repertoire for self-accompanied singer and clavicytherium, emphasizing the florid voice, early music vocal techniques and improvisation as a bridge between style and genre.

Molly holds a BM in composition and contemporary voice from Oberlin Conservatory and an MM in early music voice from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. She is currently on voice faculty at the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute.

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ANDREW PADGETT

Praised for his “powerful baritone and impressive vocal range” (Boston Music Intelligencer) and as a “musicianly, smooth vocalist, capable in divisions” (Opera News Online), bass-baritone Andrew Padgett is an accomplished interpreter of both baroque and medieval vocal music. He has collaborated with several early music luminaries, and has been featured as a soloist in concert venues worldwide. Notable performances include his appearances under the baton of Masaaki Suzuki as the bass soloist in Bach’s Mass in B Minor (BWV 232) at the Esplanade Concert Hall in Singapore and as the bass soloist in Bach’s Johannespassion (BWV 245) at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, NYC, as well as his Alice Tully performance as Harapha in Handel’s Samson (HWV 57) directed by Nicholas McGegan. He has also been featured as a soloist with The American Classical Orchestra, Dartmouth Handel Society, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Brandywine Baroque, and Pegasus Early Music, among others.

As an avid performer of medieval and Renaissance music, Andrew has had the opportunity to study and perform with leading experts in the field, including Susan Hellauer and Benjamin Bagby. In recent years he has performed a broad selection of repertoire from the 15th century and earlier with TENET, The Thirteen, and Concordian Dawn.

Andrew holds a B.S. in physics, an M.M. in voice from UC Santa Barbara, and an M.M. in Early Music, Oratorio, and Chamber Ensemble from Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music. He is based in New York City, where he sings with the internationally-acclaimed Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys, under the direction of Jeremy Filsell.

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JACOB PERRY

Jacob Perry Jr., tenor, based in the Washington Metro Area, receives praise for his “gorgeous and stylish” interpretations of Renaissance and Baroque repertoire. He has been featured as a soloist with Apollo’s Fire, Handel Choir of Baltimore, Mountainside Baroque, Tempesta di Mare, The Thirteen, Washington Bach Consort, and The City Choir of Washington. Mr. Perry was selected as the tenor participant of the Virginia Best Adams Masterclass of the 2020 Carmel Bach Festival (postponed).

Deeply immersed in vocal chamber music, Mr. Perry enjoys playing with Les Canards Chantants, a soloist-ensemble based in Philadelphia, as well as engagements with ensembles such as The Thirteen, the Art of Early Keyboard, New Consort, and Cathedra. Additionally, he can be heard singing with larger choirs such as Yale Choral Artists, The Clarion Choir, Washington Bach Consort, and the Choir of Washington National Cathedral. He has explored vocal works by contemporary composers through engagements with Third Practice, hexaCollective, and Great Noise Ensemble. As Co-Artistic Director of Bridge, a genre-defying vocal ensemble based in Washington, he draws on his instincts for theatricality and story-telling, as the group explores the connections between early masterpieces and ground-breaking new works.

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ERICA SCHULLER

ERICA SCHULLER, soprano, brings vocal artistry, theatricality, and panache to baroque opera and concert performances across North America. She is a frequent soloist with Haymarket Opera in Chicago, the Boston Early Music Festival, Ars Lyrica in Houston, and New Trinity Baroque Orchestra, as well as Apollo’s Fire. Much admired for her comic acting, she won high kudos for two productions of Telemann’s Pimpinone with Haymarket Opera, where she played the lead female character, Vespetta. Her performance was described as “show stealing” by CHICAGO CLASSICAL REVIEW.

Erica was featured in Apollo’s Fire’s national touring production of Monteverdi’s Orfeo in 2018, singing the roles of La Musica and Euridice. She recently made her debut with Chicago’s Third Coast Baroque Ensemble in Handel’s Lucrezia. Upcoming engagements include the role of Poppea with Haymarket Opera in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea.

 

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KATHIE STEWART

Hailed as a virtuoso by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Kathie Stewart is a founding member and principal flute of Apollo’s Fire: The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra. An advocate of the baroque flute as a mainstream instrument, Stewart serves as Teacher of Baroque Flute at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Kulas Visiting Artist at Case Western Reserve University, and is Assistant Director for the Seattle Baroque Flute Workshop. Stewart has performed as soloist with The Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland Opera, Oberlin Baroque Ensemble, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Washington Bach Sinfonia, ARTEK, and Turn the Corner Irish Band. Stewart has performed at the BBC Proms, Snape Proms, Tanglewood Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Ojai Music Festival, Boston Early Music Festival, New World Symphony’s Baroque Festival, Oberlin College Artist Series, National Academy of Sciences, Library of Congress, and Dumbarton Oaks Series. Stewart is a faculty member of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music where she serves as Curator of Harpsichords in the Historical Performance Department and additionally taught baroque flute for nearly twenty years. A proponent of historical temperaments, she tunes and maintains the Conservatory’s world-class collection of historical harpsichord reproductions.

Stewart appears on fourteen recordings with Apollo’s Fire including solo performances in Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. IV (AVIE) and Telemann’s Concerto in E Minor for Flute and Recorder (AVIE). An accomplished Irish flute player, she can be heard on Scarborough Fayre: Traditional Tunes from the British Isles and the New World, Come To The River: an Early American Gathering, and Sugarloaf Mountain: an Appalachian Gathering. Radio appearances include holiday specials on National Public Radio, NPR’s World of Opera, SymphonyCast, and Performance Today. Her concerts have been broadcasted on Britain’s BBC Radio, Canada’s CBC, European Community Radio, and on WCLV’s “Seaway” syndication network carried by member stations of the European Broadcasting Union.

Stewart holds a Bachelor of Music degree from West Virginia University as a student of Joyce Catalfano and a Master of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music as a student of Thomas Nyfenger. She completed doctoral coursework at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music as a student of George Hambrecht and participated in Eiji Hashimoto’s Baroque Ensemble. Fascination with the traverso led her to the Baroque Performance Institute at Oberlin Conservatory where she studied baroque flute and recorder with Christopher Krueger.

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JEFFREY STRAUSS

Praised as “an authoritative artist” (Cleveland Plain Dealer) and “an elegant and energetic singer” (Seen and Heard International), baritone Jeffrey Strauss has performed with leading period music ensembles including Tafelmusik, the Consort of Musicke with Emma Kirkby and Anthony Rooley, the Taverner Consort under Andrew Parrott, The Handel & Haydn Society, Seattle Baroque, The Newberry Consort, and Tempesta di Mare, among many others. Trained at an early age in Jewish liturgical music by Cantor Daniel Gildar, he later studied voice and art song in London with Yvonne Rodd-Marling and Martin Penny, and in Paris with Gérard Souzay. He has been a regular soloist with Apollo’s Fire since 1995, and is especially known for his appearances in Handel’s Messiah, the Bach St. John and St. Matthew Passions, Sephardic Journey, O Jerusalem!, and music of Monteverdi including the 1610 Vespers, Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, and the title role in L’Orfeo. A longstanding proponent of contemporary music, he has collaborated with Ralph Shapey and the Contemporary Chamber Players of the University of Chicago (Contempo), the Chicago Chamber Musicians, the Pacifica Quartet, and Eighth Blackbird, and has premiered works by Babbitt, Bernstein, Axelrod, and Shapey. He has appeared twice with the Omaha Symphony, and performed the role of Mephistopheles in Berlioz’s Damnation of Faust. An accomplished stage actor, his 2014 performance as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof at the Lancaster Opera House—reprising a role he first played at age 17—was hailed as “masterful” (Buffalo News).

EDWARD VOGEL

Described by Opera News as “accomplished, stylistically informed,” and “sonorous,” baritone Edward Vogel finds his passion in performing early music, oratorio, and art song. Possessing a diverse solo repertoire spanning nearly ten centuries, his sensitive interpretations have been heard onstage with such orchestras as the New Haven Symphony Orchestra; the Yale Philharmonia; Juilliard415; and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, as well as in intimate recital settings across the eastern United States. He has sung as a soloist under the baton of conductors including Masaaki Suzuki, David Hill, Nicholas McGegan, and Gemma New.

An avid choral singer who began his musical training as a boy soprano, Vogel has appeared with international ensembles such as Theatre of Voices, Bach Collegium Japan, and the Yale Schola Cantorum, with whom he has participated in recordings on the Hyperion label.

Edward recently completed his Master of Music degree at the Yale School of Music, where he studied under tenor James Taylor, and was a member of the Yale Voxtet program. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame.

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RACHEL WESTON

Mezzo-soprano Rachel Weston is a singer, song-collector and cantor in training at Hebrew Union College. She researches and performs various strands of Jewish folk repertoire and is interested in Yiddish folk music as a reflection of human experience, particularly the movement and migration of Ashkenazi Jews. Within the UK she has coordinated and taught Yiddish song and Niggunim workshop programmes for the Jewish Music Institute, SOAS, Kleznorth, and WOMAD festival, and the London Yiddish choir.

STEVEN CALDICOTT WILSON

Stephen Caldicott Wilson

Stephen Caldicott WilsonTenor Steven Caldicott Wilson joined the twice GRAMMY-nominated classical a cappella vocal quartet New York Polyphony in 2011, and is an inagural member of The Leonids debuing May 2022. He made his Carnegie Hall solo debut in December 2010 in Handel’s Messiah, and has had solo appearances at Symphony Hall Boston, Alice Tully Hall, and with the Trinity Baroque Orchestra NYC as the Evangelist in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and multiple Bach cantata recitals.

Founded in 2006, New York Polyphony is dedicated to historical performance of medieval and renaissance repertoire as well as modern commissions and educational outreach. They performed as the only invited vocal ensemble at the Stavanger Kammermusikkfestival in Norway (where they will return in 2023), and made their South American debut at the Cartagena Festival International de Música in 2019. They have sung in 43 US states and 14 countries. They will make their debut in Japan in 2023.

Steven is an engaging and versatile musician, combining sensitive expression with a disciplined attention to detail in solo and ensemble settings. His career has focused not only on historical performance practice but also the performance of new music. Steven is also a skilled pianist, teacher, and coach. A native of Virginia, he has been based in Pittsburgh since September 2019. He travels frequently, domestically and abroad, and eagerly pursues opportunities to prepare new works and to interpret historical music. He is an enlisted veteran of the United States Air Force Band Singing Sergeants, and a graduate of Ithaca College and the Yale University Voice Masters program in early music, oratorio, and chamber ensemble.

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“The U.S.A.’s hottest baroque band.” –CLASSICAL MUSIC MAGAZINE (UK)