Personal Summary / Bio
Dedicated to re-engaging modern audiences through historically-informed performance, the Chicago-based New Comma Baroque features violinist Matthew C. Cataldi, flutist Leighann Daihl Ragusa, gambist Phillip W. Serna, and harpsichordist Emily J. Katayama. Emphasizing a strong sense of cultural context and diversity in the concert hall and beyond, New Comma Baroque’s performances demonstrate colorful, spirited, dynamic and collaborative programming – always thinking outside the ‘Bachs.’ Committed to community engagement and educational outreach, New Comma Baroque works closely with Illinois’ first period-instrument public school Baroque orchestra at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, IL. Embark on a vibrant, new and electrifying ways of experiencing Early Music with New Comma Baroque – bold historically-informed performance. Period.
MATTHEW C. CATALDI, Baroque violin
Performing throughout the United States and Europe, MATTHEW C. CATALDI has performed a full range of solo, chamber, and orchestral works. He has appeared as a soloist with many orchestras and whose solo period instrumental performances have been reviewed as “sweet and well-judged” (Cross Palms) and met with”clarity and strength” (Chicago Classical Music). His period performances can be heard on WFMT’s Live Music Monday’s and he has recorded for Cedille & Naxos Records. He is also a Heid Music Artist.
Matt acquired his interest in period music when he first started to study performance with Stanley Ritchie at Indiana University in Bloomington. His interest furthered along with chamber studies with Mary Springfels at Northwestern. He is a core member of the Baroque Band and has served as their Concertmaster for the past two years. Performing with other period ensembles like the Callipygian Players, Rockford Bach Ensemble, and Chicago Opera Theatre, he has similarly participated in the U.S. premiere of La Buona Figola (The Good Servant Girl), a comic period opera by Niccolo Piccini and is one of the founding members of New Comma Baroque. As a guest lecturer, he as brought aspects of period performance practice to the classroom at Columbia and Lake Forest Colleges and has even brought these aspects to modern groups such as the Renovo String Orchestra, a group which he also directs.
Matt received a Master’s degree in Violin Performance from Northwestern University and a Bachelor’s degree in Music from Indiana University. His is the recipient of numerous grants, fellowships, and scholarships at the local, state and national levels. His principal teachers have included Gerardo Ribeiro, Ilya Kaler and Davis Brooks.
LEIGHANN DAIHL, Historical flutes
LEIGHANN DAIHL, historical flutist, has concertized throughout central Europe as well as the United States both as a soloist and as a collaborator of chamber and orchestral music. Holding numerous degrees in both modern and historical flutes from DePauw University, Indiana University, and the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, Ms. Daihl performs on modern flute, Baroque flute, and Classical flute. Ms. Daihl has worked under such notable conductors as Barthold Kuijken, Jeanne Lamon, Jacques Ogg, Stanley Ritchie, Harry Bicket, and Peter Kooij. Ms. Daihl frequently performs with groups such as Chicago’s Baroque Band and the Bach and Beethoven Ensemble and her performances have been broadcast on Chicago’s Classical Radio Station WFMT, 98.7. As well as freelancing, Ms. Daihl is an avid teacher and gives masterclasses on Historical Performance Practice.
Leighann Daihl performs on a Baroque flute (after Grenser, 18th Century) by Alain Weemaels of Brussels, Belgium, 2009.
EMILY JANE KATAYAMA, historical keyboards
EMILY JANE KATAYAMA maintains a diverse career as a solo and collaborative performer, educator, and lecturer. She holds a Master of Music degree in harpsichord performance from the University of Michigan, where she studied with Edward Parmentier, and a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music (Wheaton, IL).
A dedicated chamber musician, Emily is a founding member of the period ensembles New Comma Baroque and Antiqua Baroque Consort. She has also played continuo with the International Chamber Artists and the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra chamber players. In her work as a solo harpsichordist, Emily performed the dedicatory recital at the Lectures in Church Music for Concordia University Chicago’s harpsichord bequeathed from the estate of musicologist Dr. Victor Mattfeld. She has also presented recitals for the Academy of Early Music in Ann Arbor, as well as for the Harpsichord Clearing House’s series at the Boston Early Music Festival. A member of Early Music America and the Historical Keyboard Society of North America, Emily owns and performs on her 1977 William Dowd French single manual harpsichord.
Eager to reach new audiences, Emily contributed for two years to Michigan Harpsichord Saturday, an educational community event featuring performances, lessons, and discussion to increase knowledge and appreciation of the harpsichord and early music. She continues to promote historical performance practice through her frequent collaborative lecture-recitals. Emily currently serves as the Director of the Piano Academy at North Central College (Naperville, IL), and teaches on the faculty of the Preparatory and Community Piano Program at Concordia University Chicago, in addition to maintaining an independent piano studio and serving as a church musician.
Emily Katayama performs on a single-manual harpsichord by William Dowd, Boston, 1977.
PHILLIP W. SERNA, viola da gamba
PHILLIP W. SERNA performs on double bass with numerous Midwest orchestras as well as on violas da gamba with period-instrument Early Music ensembles including Ars Antigua, the Bach Collegium of Fort Wayne, Burning River Baroque, the Callipygian Players, the Chicago Early Music Consort, Duo fantaisie en Echo, Harmonie, Madison Bach Musicians, the Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra, the Newberry Consort of Viols, the Oriana Singers, the Second City Musick, the Secret of the Muses, the Spirit of Gambo - a Chicago Consort of Viols, and many others. In performance, Phillip has appeared on Chicago’s 98.7FM WFMT, Wisconsin Public Radio, Milwaukee Public Radio and WUIS NPR and can be heard on CD releases from Clarion, Cedille, Soundbyte and Varèse Sarabande Records. On viol, Phillip appears as a recitalist performing old and new works for viol and as an orchestral concert soloist. He maintains a private teaching studio stretching across the greater Chicago-area where he is instructor of double bass and viola da gamba at Valparaiso University. At Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, IL, Phillip works as Historically-Informed Performance coach for their viol consort and Illinois' first public-school period-instrument Baroque ensemble. Committed to community engagement and educational outreach, Phillip is founder and music director of Viols in Our Schools, an Early Music program whose impact earned him Early Music America’s Outreach Award in 2010. Phillip holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Masters and Doctorate degrees from Northwestern University School of Music where he studied viola da gamba with Newberry Consort founder Mary Springfels. Phillip continues to study the viol at workshops and master classes with instructors including Erin Headley, Wieland Kuijken, Catherina Meints, Gail Ann Schroeder, Christel Thielmann and Brent Wissick.
Phillip Serna performs on a 7-string bass viol ‘Natalia La Reveuse - The Dreamer’ (after Colichon) by Jane Julier, Devon, UK, #129, 2007.