Staff & Board of Directors

    EMA Staff

    Ann Felter Ann Felter, Executive Director
    Prior to her work with Early Music America, Ms. Felter was the Major Gifts Officer for Magee-Womens Research Institute & Foundation, the largest women’s health research facility in the country. Ann has also served as Executive Director of The Renaissance & Baroque Society and Director of Operations at The New York Collegium, both early music organizations.

    Ms. Felter has a BA in Music from Gettysburg College and a Masters in Arts Administration from Indiana University in Bloomington. Ann continues to volunteer for Gettysburg College as the College Alumni Class President, is a Key Resource Alumni Effort Volunteer, and the Class Correspondent. Her contributions to Gettysburg College were recognized with the presentation of the Young Alumni Achievement Award for Service in 2011.

    A Leadership Pittsburgh graduate, Ms. Felter was named to the list of Top 50 Cultural Forces in Pittsburgh and has served on numerous arts boards, committees, and grant panels. She is currently the Board President of Gateway to the Arts, a Commissioner with the Pennsylvania Commission for Women, and an advisor to Renaissance & Baroque Society and the Hillman Center for the Performing Arts., attn: Ann Felter

    Dina Scarpino Dina Scarpino, Membership Director
    Dina is a graduate of Penn State University with a BA in Public Relations and a minor in International Studies & English. She worked for the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore in Salisbury, Maryland as their Donor Relations Director where she helped the organization raise over $3 million to support 57 local programs and services in the area. Her experience also includes working for Magee-Womens Research Institute & Foundation as their Development Associate.

    Patrick Nugent Patrick Nugent, Advertising, Communications, Webmaster
    Patrick joined the EMA staff in July, 2006. Patrick has worked in the publishing industry for over ten years. He was advertising manager with Seattle-based Sea Kayaker magazine and advertising executive with New Age Retailer magazine. Patrick also served as editor-in-chief and advertising manager with NAV Magazine, an Atlanta-based monthly magazine focusing on contemporary instrumental music. He has a B.A. in History and Political Science from Hillsdale (MI) College. In his "spare" time when he's not chasing his toddler, he likes to pick a few tunes on the guitar and help out with local environmental organizations.

    Walter, Chief Barking Officer
    Walter Jackson became CBO of EMA in November 2012. His primary responsibilities include begging for food, stealing paper from the recycling bin, snoring loudly, and welcoming all who enter our office with a menacing bark. Walter takes his Chief Barking Officer position seriously.


    Board of Directors for 2014-2015


    Christopher Bone PRESIDENT: Christopher Bone
    Christopher Bone is a semi-retired actuary and consultant specializing in employee benefits and retirement programs. Previously he was US Retirement Practice Leader for a large employee benefits consulting firm. A Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, he has served on the Society of Actuaries’ Board of Governors, the Board of the Employee Benefit Research Institute and other trade association and research organization boards. For the past 30 years he has been an amateur of early music and dance, focused most recently on shawms and other winds.

    Thomas Forrest Kelly  VICE-PRESIDENT: Thomas Forrest Kelly
    Thomas Forrest Kelly is a professor in the Music Department at Harvard University. He is a scholar of medieval music, and has been involved in early music as Director of the Historical Performance Program at the Oberlin Conservatory, as director of the Five College Early Music  Program in Massachusetts, and as music director of the Castle Hill Festival. He is the author of First Nights: Five Music Premieres, and of First Nights at the Opera (Yale  University Press.)

    Angela 			Mariani VICE-PRESIDENT: Angela Mariani
    Angela Mariani is host of Harmonia, WFIU's nationally-syndicated weekly early music radio program. She is also a member of the medieval ensemble Altramar, which has toured throughout the United States and Europe and has seven CDs on the Dorian label. A native of Massachusetts, Angela spent the 70s and most of the 80s as a freelance rock and folk musician; however, a growing passion for early music led her to Bloomington, Indiana in 1987 to study with Thomas  Binkley. She completed a Master's degree from the Early Music Institute at Indiana  University in 1990, and pursued postgraduate studies there for several years. She is now Visiting Professor of Music History and Literature at Texas Tech University, where she teaches various early music history courses, directs the Collegium, and teaches History of Rock and Roll (!). Angela is also actively involved with a range of traditional musics, as well as  literature, yoga, and meditation. She lives in Lubbock, Texas with her husband, guitarist and musicologist Chris Smith.

    Debra Nagy VICE-PRESIDENT: Debra Nagy
    Debra Nagy has been called a "musical polymath" (San Francisco Classical Voice) for her accomplished performances on early double reeds, recorders, and as a singer. One of the country's top baroque oboists, Debra frequently performs with baroque ensembles on both  coasts, is the founder and director of Cleveland-based chamber ensemble Les Délices, and is a member of Ciaramella. She has also appeared as a guest multi-instrumentalist and singer with such groups as the Newberry Consort, Piffaro, Baroque Northwest, and Blue Heron Renaissance Choir. Debra has recorded for the Capstone, Bright Angel, Naxos, Hassler, Chandos, and ATMA  labels and her live performances have been featured on CBC Radio Canada, Klara (Belgium), NPRs Performance Today, WQXR (New York City), WKSU Akron, WCLV Cleveland, and WGBH Boston. Debra  currently teaches in the Early Music Department at Case Western Reserve University, where she directs the Collegium Musicum.

    Charlotte Newman SECRETARY: Charlotte Newman
    Charlotte Newman is serving her second stint on the EMA board.  She has served as board secretary as well as the board president from July 2004 to June 2007.  Charlotte holds an M.A. in music history and non-profit management from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and for ten years was administrator of the university's "Chapel, Court  & Countryside" early music concert series. She is a member of the Case Early Music Singers, the vocal ensemble Nightingale, and the Cleveland band Uzizi, which combines rock with the Celtic and shape-note traditions.

    ASSISTANT SECRETARY: Kathleen Moretto Spencer
    Born, reared and educated in Philadelphia, Kathleen Moretto Spencer combined studies in music history (A.B. and M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania) with a library degree (M.L.S. from Drexel University) to  become a music librarian. Her first job took her to the University of  Buffalo where she worked as a cataloger. After more graduate training and a year off to work in Rome as the librarian at Notre Dame  International School, Kathy became Assistant Head of the Music Library  at Yale University. During her time at Yale (1975- 1982), she had two  leaves: three-months at the American Academy in Rome to catalog the  Oliver Strunk Collection and one academic year at the University of  North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Council on Library Resources  Management Intern where she worked in the office of the University  Librarian. Kathy moved to Lancaster, PA in 1982 to become College  Librarian at Franklin & Marshall College. At F&M, she also taught courses in the history of the City of Rome which along with the viola da gamba is a life-long passion. She is retired from F&M as College Librarian Emerita. Kathy has just completed a four-year stint as editor of the Viola da Gamba Society of America News. "Mary Anne Ballard shoved a viol into my hands when we were both at Penn in grad school; I have studied with Grace Feldman and Donna Fournier, and I currently study with Sarah Cunningham. Every summer I also inflict myself upon Catharina Meints at Oberlin’s Baroque Performance Institute. My goal is to be able to say without hesitation  that I play the viola da gamba.

    Marie-Hélène Bernard TREASURER and PRESIDENT-ELECT: Marie-Hélène Bernard
    EMA Treasurer and President-elect Marie-Hélène Bernard is the Executive Director and CEO of the Handel and Haydn Society, the oldest music organization in continuous existence in the U.S., founded in 1815. In her role at H+H, Ms. Bernard oversees all artistic, business and development operations of the $4.5M Boston-based period instrument ensemble and chorus, led by Artistic Director Harry Christophers. Prior to joining H+H, she served as President/CEO of the Canton Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Manager of the Cleveland Orchestra and Chief of Staff and Project Manager at the Philadelphia Orchestra. She remains a member of the Quebec Bar and practiced corporate and tax law in Canada before moving to the US in 1996 to pursue a career in music management. In addition to volunteering for EMA, she plays viola da gamba, a passion she developed at the age of 10 while studying with Montreal gambist Margaret Little.

    Ekko Jennings ASSISTANT TREASURER: Ekko Jennings
    Etsuko ("Ekko") Jennings is a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley Investment Management. She has over 25 years of financial industry experience and has worked in London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and New York. She is also an amateur lutenist and can be seen performing around New York City. Ekko actively volunteers as a music guide at health care facilities with the Musicans on Call program.



    Mary Anne Ballard
    Mary Anne Ballard began her encounter with early music by discovering the viola da gamba while a student at Wellesley College. She later studied viol with August Wenzinger and was mentored in medieval music performance by Konrad Ruhland, in addition to studying musicology at the University of Pehhsylvania where she founded a collegium musicum and received an MM. She has directed early music ensembles or taught viol playing at the U of PA, Peabody Conservatory, and Princeton University, and currently teaches at Oberlin’s summer Baroque Performance Institute. Her performing career has included three decades of recording and touring with the Baltimore Consort, and annual New Year’s Eve concerts by the Oberlin Consort of Viols. Recently she has also been active with Galileo’s Daughters and Mr, Jefferson’s Musicians (a group she formed to perform music from his family’s library at Monticello). She is Music Director and editor of The Gotham Early Music Scene’s ongoing Play of Daniel, which was originally commissioned by The Cloisters to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the landmark production presented by the New York Pro Musica in 1958.

    Lewis R. Baratz studied harpsichord with David Fuller, Larry Palmer,  and Gwendolyn Toth, and recorder with David Hart and Rachel Begley, participating in master classes with Peter Sykes and Marion Verbruggen. Lewis has a Ph.D. in musicology from Case Western Reserve University and over 20 publications on a wide range of topics, including  performance of 15th-century dance music, 17th-century Roman keyboard music, biographical  studies, and the choirboys of the Brussels Collegiate Church of SS Michael and Gudula, c. 1550  to 1793. He was a Fulbright Scholar and Fellow of the Belgian American Educational Foundation.  Lewis has performed recently with the New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra, Biber Baroque, Le triomphe de l'amour, Ensemble Impromptu, Virtuosi de seicento, and VOICES. He is artistic director of the period instrument ensemble La Fiocco ( Lewis has had equal success in the business world. He has been a statistical analyst at Moody's investor's Service, and for the past 15 years has been a business analyst and project manager at an IT consulting firm in NY, where he was key to expanding the government practice. He is a Project  Management Institute Certified Project Manager (PMP).

    Robert Cole
    Robert Cole received his MA in music from the University of Southern California School of Music where he studied conducting with Ingolf Dahl. He continued his studies with Richard Lert and Fritz Sweig in California, Leonard Bernstein and Leon Barzin at the Tanglewood Music Center, and Hans Swarowsky in Europe. He served as associate conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and has appeared as guest conductor with the Florida Philharmonic, the Sacramento Symphony, the Pasadena Symphony, the Hartford Ballet,and the Chatauqua Symphony.  Cole was the executive director and music director of the Ballet Society of Los Angeles, and has conducted and produced both opera and musical theater in California and New York. In recent years Cole has appeared as guest conductor with the State Ballet of Georgia and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the 2008 Edinburgh Festival and the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre with the Perm Ballet at the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg. Cole has conducted Mark Morris’s The Hard Nut at Sadler’s Wells in London, the Brooklyn Academy of  Music in New York and at Cal Performances in Berkeley. From 1986 to 2009, Cole was director of  Cal Performances on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley. He was also general director of the Berkeley Festival and Exhibition, an international festival of early music he founded in June 1990. In 1995, Cole was made a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the Government of France. In 2008, he was honored by Early Music America with the Howard Mayer Brown Award for lifetime achievement in Early Music.

    Dr. JoLynn Edwards is a founding faculty member of University of Washington Bothell and Professor of Art History. Recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award, she teaches across a broad range of topics in cultural history, comparative arts, and interdisciplinary studies of  the ancient and modern periods, both West and East. Of present teaching interest is production and consumption of the arts to create a vibrant urban culture. Recent publications focus on  the French 18th-century art market, the drawings of Antoine Watteau, and the collections of  the prince de Conti and John Law. She currently is researching Mme de Boufflers as correspondent with famous men of the Enlightenment. Previously, she served six years as Director, Interdisciplinary Arts And Sciences, UW Bothell. Before academia, she trained and performed as a classical ballet dancer. Professor Edwards and her husband, Hal Opperman, attend and/or subscribe to host of performing arts events each year: the Seattle Symphony  Orchestra, Seattle Opera, Early Music Guild, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Intiman Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, Seattle, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Meany Dance Series, UW Seattle, Seattle Chamber Music Society, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. In 2011, they attended the York Early Music Festival. She is member of the Board of Directors and Vice President of The Early Music Guild, Seattle.


    Ray Erickson

    Dr. Raymond Erickson is the Founding Director of the Aaron Copland School of Music at  Queens College (City University of New York), where he has also served as Dean of Arts and  Humanities; he is also a member of the Ph.D. and D.M.A. faculty of CUNY Graduate School. His teaching concentrations are performance (harpsichord) and historical performance practice, medieval and baroque music, improvisation, and interdisciplinary studies. He has directed thirteen NEH-funded summer institutes for US college teachers, and concertizes as a harpsichordist and pianist in the US and abroad. He is well-connected, with excellent fundraising skills.

      Susan Gidwitz 

    David Klausner
    David Klausner has been involved with early music since  David Munrow first put a shawm in his hands in 1965.  He was a founding member of The Toronto Consort, and has taught workshops in Canada, the United States, England, and Austria.  Since retiring from the Consort in 1992, he has continued to play baroque and classical bassoon in  the Toronto area.  A member of the Department of English and the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto since 1967, he co-edited Singing Early Music (1996) and has acted as pronunciation consultant for many early music groups.  He is presently researching the  North Riding of Yorkshire for the series Records of Early English Drama, and is writing a history of civic music in England to the middle of the seventeenth century.  He has been member of the editorial advisory board for Early Music America since its beginning.


    Hank Knox studied harpsichord with John Grew at McGill University in Montreal and with Kenneth Gilbert in Paris. He has given numerous harpsichord recitals, and is a founding member of the Arion Orchestra Baroque, with whom he has toured widely. He has performed, recorded and toured with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and le Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal; he plays regularly with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. He has released two recordings of  Frescobaldi’s keyboard works, a recording of works by D’Anglebert, a recording of Handel opera  arias and overtures in transcriptions for harpsichord, and a recording of harpsichord  transcriptions of works by Francesco Geminiani. Hank Knox directs the Early Music program at  McGill University, where he teaches harpsichord and figured bass accompaniment, coaches  chamber music ensembles, and conducts the McGill Baroque Orchestra. He has been a William Dawson Scholar in recognition of his work in Early Music since 2003, and was awarded the  Thomas Binkley prize for an outstanding university collegium director by Early Music America  in 2008. In collaboration with Opera McGill, he has directed productions numerous Baroque operas.

    Robert Cole
    Starting as an obnoxious singing and dancing infant from Hong Kong, Emily Lau (b.1984) now enjoys a national career as a singer, composer, producer, and music director of early and contemporary classical music. She is the founding artistic director of The Broken Consort, a professional chamber ensemble praised by critics as "early music turns early magic", "compelling", and their performance "bewitched and beguiled". As a composer, Emily’s music was featured on NPR, BBC Radio, CBS This Morning, and many radio and television stations. Emily sees her vocation as a musician as not just an interpretative experience, but a thoroughly creative and collaborative one. She has taken up roles as producer and performer in numerous performances with professional ensembles across the country. Her musical pursuits have taken her to major early music and chamber music festivals and series across North America, Asia, and Europe. An advocate in artistic outreach and educational efforts, Emily has worked with students at leading universities and K-12 schools, and recently initiated two series of prison outreach at a medium to maximum correctional facility in Massachusetts. She holds teaching certificates in Orff-Schulwerk from Carnegie Mellon University and Boston University, and a M.Mus. in Early Music from the Longy School of Music. Since 2011, Emily has been advocating for other young professional musicians and graduate students by serving on the Youth Advisory Board of Early Music America.

    Alexandra MacCracken
    Alexandra MacCracken is the founder and director of  Ensemble Gaudior, which is based in the Washington DC area and presents concerts of chamber music from the Baroque and Classical eras, using instruments from those periods or careful  modern copies. She has performed as a baroque violinist with the Washington Bach Consort,  Opera Lafayette, and Modern Musick, as well as with other period-instrument ensembles in Richmond, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and New York. After earning both bachelor's and master's degrees in music from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, Ms. MacCracken taught for several years at the University of Virginia, where she also played in  the Piedmont Chamber Players, a faculty ensemble. Other highlights of her extensive experience as a chamber musician include membership in the Squareknot Quartet, whose repertoire ranged from the classics to innovative arrangements in popular, folk, and jazz styles; and more  recently in the Virginia-based baroque groups La Stravaganza and Harmonia Nova. Ms. MacCracken currently freelances on modern as well as baroque violin and in addition occasionally finds time to play Renaissance consort music on the treble viol.

    Sarah Mead
    Sarah Mead lives and works in the Boston area and holds degrees in  music and historical performance from Yale and Stanford Universities. The 2007 winner of Early Music America's Thomas Binkley Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Collegium Director, she is Associate Professor of the Practice at Brandeis University, where she directs the Early Music Ensemble and is a frequent guest choral conductor. She is the author of the Renaissance Theory chapter in A Performer's Guide to the Renaissance, recently re-issued by Indiana University Press. She has taught early music ensembles at Tufts and Northeastern Universities as well as at Trinity College of Music in London, and is regular guest lecturer at Longy  School of Music in Cambridge. She was Program Director at Pinewoods Early Music Week from 1995-97, returning to that position in 2006.

    Robert Mealy A renowned Baroque violinist, Robert Mealy is Professor (Adjunct) of Violin & Early Music at the Yale School of Music and a member of the faculty in the Early Music Program at  Juilliard. Robert has performed on more than fifty recordings on most major labels, in works ranging from Hildegard of Bingen with Sequentia and Renaissance consorts with the Boston Camerata to Rameau operas with Les Arts Florissants. In New York he is a frequent leader and soloist with the New York Collegium, ARTEK, Early Music New York, and the Clarion Society. He also leads the distinguished Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra and has appeared as guest concertmaster and director with the Phoenix Symphony. A devoted chamber musician, he is a member of the medieval ensemble Fortune’s Wheel, the Renaissance violin band The King’s Noyse, and the seventeenth-century ensemble Spiritus Collective. Since 2002 he has performed frequently at Yale as director of the Yale Collegium Musicum players, and he received Early Music America’s Binkley Award for outstanding teaching at Yale and Harvard in 2004.



    Charles Metz studied piano at Penn State University, beginning his harpsichord studies through private lessons with Igor Kipnis. In the process of earning a Ph.D. in Historical Performance Practice at Washington University in Saint Louis, he studied with Trevor Pinnock.  More recently, Charles has worked with Webb Wiggins and Lisa Crawford at the Oberlin Conservatory. He plays regularly in Saint Louis with ensembles including The Bach Society of  Saint Louis, Collegium Vocale and the Saint Louis Baroque. In April 2010, he performed a solo recital at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. and in October 2011 performed a solo recital and Masterclass on Elizabethan Virginal Music at Oberlin Conservatory. He also recorded the “Tisdale Virginal Book”, music of the Elizabethan period, on his 400 year old Italian Virginal which will be released as a CD in 2012. In addition to his musical career,  Dr. Metz graduated from University of Missouri School of Optometry. He established his own solo practice Metz Eyecare in O’Fallon Missouri. In 2002 he sold his offices to Clarkson Eyecare and joined the Board of Clarkson Eyecare. Now retired from seeing patients on a regular basis, Dr. Metz continues to do charitable work seeing patients through the Clarkson  Eyecare Foundation in community outreach programs.

    Rachel Barton Pine
    Rachel Barton Pine is a violinist from Chicago. Considered a child  prodigy at the violin, she started playing at the age of 3 and a half and performed at many renowned venues through her child and teen years. Currently she plays regularly with the Chicago Symphony and on her own, tours worldwide, and has an active recording career. Her musical interests extend well beyond classical to Baroque, folk, Celtic, rock and jazz. She plays with David Schrader and John Mark Rozendaal, and recently debuted on rebec and vielle in a performance with The Newberry Consort. Barton Pine started a foundation in 2001 to promote the study and appreciation of classical music, including string music by black composers. It prepares music curricula, loans high-quality instruments to deserving young musicians, and  provides grants to cover incidental expenses of student and young professional musicians. Another program, Global HeartStrings, is dedicated to supporting aspiring classical musicians from developing countries. In 2006, after being nominated by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, Barton Pine received the Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award for her work through the foundation.

    Robert Cole
    Gwyn Roberts, recorder and historical flutes, leads a rather improbable life performing, teaching, coaching, directing and communicating about the music she loves. American Record Guide called her “a world-class virtuoso," and her most recent solo recording earned a five-star rating from BBC Music Magazine. Together with lutenist Richard Stone, she is a founding director of Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra Tempesta di Mare, “one of America’s great period instrument bands” (Fanfare), and leads the ensemble in performances from Oregon to Prague and annual recordings for Chandos. Other recordings include Deutsche Grammaphon, Dorian, Sony Classics, Vox, PolyGram, PGM, Newport Classics, and Radio France. Soloist engagements include the Portland Baroque Orchestra, Piffaro, the Folger Consort, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Recitar Cantando of Tokyo, the Washington Bach Consort and the Kennedy Center. She is in demand as a masterclass teacher, with recent engagements at the Curtis Institute of Music, the Amherst Early Music Festival, the Hartt School of Music and the Oregon Bach Festival. She is Professor of Recorder and Baroque Flute at Peabody Conservatory and Director of Early Music at University of Pennsylvania, and has also taught recorder and directed ensembles at Swarthmore College, Haverford College and the University of Delaware and at numerous workshops and summer festivals. She studied recorder with Marion Verbruggen and Leo Meilink and traverso with Marten Root at Utrecht Conservatory (Netherlands).

    Benjamin Roe Benjamin K. Roe is responsible for guiding the overall strategy for 99.5 Classical New  England, and all the other classical-music services of WGBH, including programming, live performances, special events, videos, podcasts, apps, and the service’s five online classical channels. Mr. Roe joined WGBH in March of 2011, after serving as the General Manager of WDAV 89.9 FM in Davidson North Carolina, where he established the station as one of the nation’s leading producers of original classical music programming. Mr. Roe still retains his ties to the Charlotte, NC region as the Artistic Director of the “Music and Museum” series at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the area’s largest presenter of professional chamber-music performances. He is also a frequent guest lecturer and pre-concert speaker, having served in that capacity for the Washington Performing Arts Society, the La Jolla Music Society, the Spoleto Festival USA, the University of Texas at Austin, and the Library of Congress. Since his relocation to Boston, Mr. Roe also now serves as an Overseer of the New England Conservatory of Music and the Boston Landmarks Orchestra. Mr. Roe had a three-decade career in public media, including 20 years at NPR, in Washington, DC, where he served in a variety of roles including Director of Music and Music Initiatives. A Grammy-Award winning producer, Roe also earned A Chairman’s Medal from the National Endowment of the Arts, a George Foster Peabody and ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award, and the National Medal of the Arts. HeRoe is an alumnus of Middlebury College in Vermont and pursued graduate study in Broadcast Administration at Boston University’s College of Communication while working at WBUR.

    Daniel Shoskes is Professor of Urology at the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute of the Cleveland Clinic and director of the Novick Center for Clinical and Translational  Research. He trained in Canada, England and the US and is a fellow of the Royal College of  Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He is a lutenist and has performed with the Cleveland  groups Buckeye Baroque, Cantores Cleveland and Apollo's Fire, The Cleveland Baroque  Orchestra. He also serves on the Boards of the Lute Society of America and Apollo's Fire.

    Melissa Smey
    Melissa Smey is the director of the Miller Theatre at Columbia University, a position she began in 2009 after serving as general manager (in 2001-2007) and acting director (in 2008). She previously held positions at the New York Public Library and the Metropolitan  Opera. The Miller Theatre presents a diverse repertoire of music and newly commissioned works, including an Early Music Series. Under her leadership, the Miller Theatre has become known for innovation and for outreach to younger audiences. Smey earned her Bachelor’s degree in Music Theory at the University of Connecticut, and is an amateur recorder player.



    Nell Snaidas has been praised by the New York Times for her “beautiful soprano voice, melting passion” and “vocally ravishing” performances. Of Uruguayan-American descent, Nell began her career singing leading roles in zarzuelas at New York City's Repertorio Español. Specialization in Latin American and Spanish Baroque music has taken her all over Europe, North and Latin America. Favorite projects include singing Valletto/Amore in the Boston Early Music Festival’s production of L’Incoronazione di Poppea, touring as a soloist with Tragicomedia in “The 3 Singing Ladies of Rome”, concertizing throughout Italy with Ex Umbris, and singing John Adams’ Grand Pianola Music with the L.A. Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl.  She has been invited to join many leading Early Music ensembles in the capacity of soloist and Iberian/New World language and repertoire consultant. These groups include Apollo’s Fire, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Ex Umbris, Ensemble Viscera, El Mundo, and Chatham Baroque. She has recorded for Sony Classical, Koch, Naxos and Dorian. Her latest recording on Sono Luminus “The Kingdoms of Castille” with El Mundo was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Classical Small Ensemble in 2012. In 2012-2013 she begins her post as Artistic Director of a new concert series in New York City devoted to the Early Music of the Americas, co-sponsored by The Americas Society and The Gotham Early Music Scene. More can be found at

    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. 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, and was cited by The Wall Street Journal as "a superstar among oratorio tenors," with an extensive  discography of vocal music. Mr. Thomas is an avid exponent of contemporary music, as well as  early music. He has been on the faculty of numerous early music workshops, and has taught master classes at many universities. He is also active as a scholar: 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." Mr. Thomas holds the Barbara K. Jackson Professorship of Choral Conducting  at the University of California, Davis.

    Ruben Valenzuela
    Ruben Valenzuela is the Founder and Music Director of the Bach Collegium San Diego. Under his direction, the ensemble has earned an impressive reputation, captivating diverse audiences by their highly expressive and provocative approach to the Renaissance and Baroque  repertoire. The ensemble has brought many historically informed performances to San Diego for the first time: Handel’s Theodora and Messiah, Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers, Bach’s St. John Passion and B minor Mass, and most recently staged performances of Purcell's Dido &  Aeneas. The ensemble is fast establishing itself as one of the most exciting early music  ensembles to watch.  Mr Valenzuela regularly works with this country’s leading early music  specialists, including collaborating with Richard Egarr and Rodolfo Richter of the Academy of  Ancient Music.  In 2008 and 2009 he led members of the Bach Collegium San Diego on  international tours to the Festival Internacional del Órgano Barroco (Mexico City) which included performances in Mexico City Cathedral and other historic churches.  Currently, he is completing a Ph.D in Musicology at Claremont Graduate University where he is researching basso  continuo practices of the New World.  In addition to his duties with the Bach Collegium San  Diego, he is also the Director of the Music and Organist of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Del  Mar CA.  He is in demand as a conductor, continuo player, musicologist and is highly regarded  for performances that combine scholarship and an inspired musicianship.


    Birgitt van Wijk was born in Wilhelmshaven, Germany and attended hotel school and  apprenticed at Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten in Hamburg. She received her chef’s training and  received a in BA in Hotel Management and Event Planning. She later moved to the Netherlands and subsequently moved in 1990 to Houston, aiding her husband’s career in the petrochemical field. She helped to establish three major businesses. In 1991 she enrolled at Glassell School of Art obtaining a BA in Anatomic Figure Sculpture. She served four years on the board of Houston Early Music and has been a Board Director of Ars Lyrica Houston since 2008. She is a Trustee for the Houston Grand Opera. In 2010 she incorporated Heritage Helicopter services, LLC. and subsequently purchased a helicopter flight school called Neches Helicopter Training, LLC, in 2012. She is student pilot.

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