EMA presents Battle of the Early Bands, 9:30pm Friday, June 6 at the California Jazz Conservatory (The Jazzschool), 2087 Addison St. in Berkeley.
During this spirited and entertaining event, five groups of outstanding young early music ensembles from all around the country will compete in various non-traditional categories (velocity/emotions/creativity/spontaneity, etc.). This battle is produced by EMA’s Youth Advisory Board and will be narrated by Jeffrey Thomas of American Bach Soloists. Come ready to cheer, smile, and be dazzled!
FREE admission. Cash gladly accepted by musicians as a token of appreciation and support.
Team #1: Sweet Temperament Ensemble
Katina Mitchell, soprano and medieval harp; Arthur Omura, harpsichord and hurdy-gurdy; Frédéric Rosselet, baroque cello and vielle; Amelia Tobiason, soprano
Sweet Temperament Ensemble was founded in 2013 and has since performed extensively in the southern California region. As winners of the Beverly Hills Auditions, the group was featured on concert series in the Los Angeles area. The members of the ensemble have performed with organizations such as LA Schola, Bach Collegium San Diego, Flos Campi, The Getty, MicroFest, Arts Council for Long Beach, and Britten 100/LA. The musicians in Sweet Temperament have received funding from the Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Colburn Foundation, among other organizations. They hold degrees in music from USC, Rice, and Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. Their favorite pastimes include exploring repertoire, trying margaritas at various Mexican restaurants in Los Angeles, buying Halloween candy for trick-or-treaters who never come, and baking hundreds of cookies at a time.
Team #2: Lauzeta
Jacob Mariani, vielle; Niccolo Seligmann, vielle; Mara Winter, medieval flute
Lauzeta is a brand-new band that plays medieval music! Lauzeta breathes new fire into old music. Each one of us is just as likely to be playing with a metal band as with a broken consort, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We take our musical influences not only from our teachers at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, Peabody Conservatory, and University of Oregon, but also from oud players halfway around the world, and fiddle players on the back porch. We are excited to be melding our wits in front of you today, for the first time! Get ready for a spontaneous and exciting experiment!
Team #3: Emily Davidson
Emily Davidson, baroque cellist and teaching artist, lives and works in Boston, though she is a New Yorker at heart. She has paved her way in the early music scene by releasing her solo album, BASS SOUNDS: Music for Unaccompanied Cello from the Early Baroque, and founding Emergence Quartet, a period instrument string quartet. Her second BASS SOUNDS album is forthcoming in Summer 2014, and she has an electronic album of classical remixes for release in Fall 2014. Emily has received baroque performance training at festivals and academies nationwide and received her Master's in Early Music Performance from The Longy School of Music as a student of Phoebe Carrai.
Team #4 Angelhead
Argenta Walther, voice; Michelle Levy, fiddles; Jessica Schaeffer, harp
A: We are rebellious music nerds with varied backgrounds. Jess is an accomplished classical harpist with a penchant for the most obscure, esoteric music traditions and Michelle plays 20 different kinds of instruments. She is amazing at tuning!
M: We are a modern-day medieval garageband. Literally. We play in the garage. I’m still waiting for the neighbors to complain about my vielle being too loud; I aspire to that.
J: Arg reminds me of a character from a Wes Anderson movie. She has blue shoes, a tortoise for a neighbor and is taking the world of contemporary/experimental music in L.A. by storm (dust storm, that is).
Team #5 Arethusa Musica
Lindsey McLennan, Kathryn Summersett, and Claire Daniels, sopranos; Eric Fisher, viola da gamba
Arethusa Musica is a group of enthusiastic musicians based in Bloomington, Indiana, specializing in Baroque music for high voices. An eclectic mix of Indiana University students eager to delve into historical performance practice, the members of Arethusa Musica have collaborated on several projects, recitals, and concerts over the past two years. Named after Arethusa, a Greek nymph who was transformed into a fountain that flowed under the earth, we seek to send streams of harmonious sounds to audiences near and far. With members hailing from Texas, Michigan, and California, Arethusa Musica was brought together by the buzzing excitement for historically informed performance at Indiana University’s Early Music Institute.
The MC: Jeffrey Thomas
JEFFREY THOMAS is Artistic and Music Director of the American Bach Soloists, with whom he has directed and conducted recordings of more than 25 cantatas, the Mass in B Minor, Musical Offering, motets, chamber music, and works by Schütz, Pergolesi, Vivaldi, Haydn, and Beethoven. He has appeared with the Baltimore, Berkeley, Boston, Detroit, Houston, National, Rochester, Minnesota, and San Francisco symphony orchestras; with the Vienna Symphony and the New Japan Philharmonic; with virtually every American baroque orchestra; and in Austria, England, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Mexico. He has performed at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Spoleto USA Festival, Ravinia Festival, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Berkeley Festival and Exhibition, Boston Early Music Festival, Bethlehem Bach Festival, Göttingen Festival, Tage Alte Musik Festival in Regensburg, E. Nakamichi Baroque Festival in Los Angeles, the Smithsonian Institution, and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's "Next Wave Festival," and he has collaborated on several occasions as conductor with the Mark Morris Dance Group.
Before devoting all of his time to conducting, he was one of the first recipients of the San Francisco Opera Company's prestigious Adler Fellowships. Cited by The Wall Street Journal as "a superstar among oratorio tenors," Mr. Thomas' extensive discography of vocal music includes dozens of recordings of major works for Decca, EMI, Erato, Koch International Classics, Denon, Harmonia Mundi, Smithsonian, Newport Classics, and Arabesque. Mr. Thomas is an avid exponent of contemporary music, and has conducted the premieres of new operas, including David Conte's Gift of the Magi andFirebird Motel, and premiered song cycles of several composers, including two cycles written especially for him. He has performed lieder recitals at the Smithsonian, song recitals at various universities, and appeared with his own vocal chamber music ensemble, L'Aria Viva. Mr. Thomas currently hosts two shows on one of the nation's premiere classical music radio stations, KDFC. Through world-wide streaming audio, he brings his experience and love for Baroque and choral music to a global audience.
Educated at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Manhattan School of Music, and the Juilliard School of Music, with further studies in English literature at Cambridge University, he has taught at the Amherst Early Music Workshop, Oberlin College Conservatory Baroque Performance Institute, San Francisco Early Music Society, and Southern Utah Early Music Workshops, presented master classes at the New England Conservatory of Music, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, SUNY at Buffalo, Swarthmore College, and Washington University, been on the faculty of Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, and was artist-in-residence at the University of California, where he is now professor of music (Barbara K. Jackson Chair in Choral Conducting) and director of choral ensembles in the Department of Music at UC Davis. He was a UC Davis Chancellor's Fellow from 2001 to 2006; and the Rockefeller Foundation awarded him a prestigious Residency at the Bellagio Study and Conference Center at Villa Serbelloni for April 2007, to work on his manuscript, "Handel's Messiah: A Life of Its Own."