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Biographies

 

Boston-based soprano duo Les Sirènes takes audiences on an exploration of the soprano voice and the Baroque repertory, offering appealing programs that engage our listeners with both fiery virtuosity and anguishing beauty.

Les Sirènes were one of 6 finalist groups in Early Music America's 2012 Baroque Performance
Competition. Formed in 2009, the ensemble is composed of acclaimed sopranos Kathryn Mueller
and Kristen Watson. As soloists, they have performed with such groups as the American Bach Soloists, Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Mark Morris Dance Group, Washington Bach Consort, Bach Collegium San Diego, and the Carmel Bach Festival. As Les Sirènes, they bring a collective experience to interpreting this rare and remarkable repertoire, charming audiences with diverse programming and inspired performances.

Ms. Mueller and Ms. Watson are joined by continuo players Michael Sponseller on harpsichord and Cora Swenson on baroque cello, and have also collaborated with emerging baroque violinists Beth Wenstrom and Adriane Post as well as chamber groups such as Cambridge-based Sarasa. Praised for their “exquisitely matched style and phrasing” (The Boston Musical Intelligencer), recent performances include concerts in Tucson, AZ, Brattleboro, VT, Cambridge and Concord, MA, and Trinity Wall Street in New York City. Upcoming engagements include the San Francisco Early Music Society, Arizona Early Music Society, Syracuse University, and Museum Concerts in Providence, RI.

 

Kathryn MuellerDescribed as a singer ”who thoroughly captures the imagination,” soprano Kathryn Mueller has been a soloist with ensembles across the United States, including the Portland Baroque Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, Washington Bach Consort, Arizona Opera, San Antonio Symphony, Winston-Salem Symphony, Choral Society of Durham, and the North Carolina Master Chorale, and has toured internationally across Indonesia and central Mexico. In 2011 Kathryn was one of four fellows in the prestigious Adams Vocal Master Class at the Carmel Bach Festival. In 2012 and 2013 she was a finalist in the Oratorio Society of New York's Solo Competition, winning the Frances MacEachron Award in 2013. She has recorded two GRAMMY-nominated albums with Seraphic Fire, and is featured as a soloist on recordings by Seraphic Fire, New Trinity Baroque, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale and Tucson Chamber Artists. Kathryn holds degrees in music from Brown University and The University of Arizona, is on the voice faculty at East Carolina University, and happily lives in Raleigh. Kathryn and her husband Nathan Leaf lead Voices of a New Renaissance, the Triangle’s dynamic professional chamber choir. For more information, visit her website, www.kathrynmueller.com.

Kristen WatsonSoprano Kristen Watson, hailed by critics for her “blithe and silvery” tone and “winning stage presence”, has made solo debuts with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Mark Morris Dance Group, Boston Baroque, Handel & Haydn Society, and Emmanuel Music at such venues as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and Boston’s Symphony Hall. Opera audiences have heard Kristen in productions with Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Boston, the Boston University Opera Institute, Opera Providence, Intermezzo Opera, and the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh in such roles as Tytania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Anne Trulove in The Rake’s Progress. A versatile crossover artist, she has also made several appearances as a soprano soloist with the Boston Pops under Keith Lockhart. Other solo performances include the Boston Early Music Festival, Carmel Bach Festival, Topeka Symphony, Gulf Coast Symphony, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Learn more about Kristen on her website, www.kristenwatsonsoprano.com.

 

Continuo

Michael SponsellerHarpsichordist Michael Sponseller has appeared throughout Europe and North America with critical acclaim as a soloist, conductor, and chamber musician. Winner of the American Bach Soloists Competition (1998) and the Jurow International Harpsichord Competition (2002), he holds the distinction of being a two-time prizewinner at the Festival of Flanders International Harpsichord Competition (Bruges), as well as taking prizes in Montréal and Kalamazoo. In addition to holding degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague, Michael was a teacher of harpsichord at the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music. Mr. Sponseller can also be heard on several recordings from Electra, Vanguard Classics, Naxos, Delos and Centaur. In 2006, Michael was named Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Fellow by Boston’s Emmanuel Music, in recognition of his achievements as emerging young artist. The following year, he founded Ensemble Florilege, (www.ensembleflorilege.org) a chamber ensemble dedicated to the performance of lesser-performed repertory of the 17th & 18th centuries.

Cora SwensonBeginning her studies at age 3 1/2, cellist Cora Swenson Lee has studied with many teachers, including Alan Harris, Richard Hirschl, and Marc Johnson. She has a Bachelors Degree in Cello Performance from the Eastman School of Music and a Masters Degree in Cello Performance at the Boston University College of Fine Arts. Cora is a member of Boston Baroque and the Boston Public Quartet, as well as a substitute cellist with the Handel and Haydn Society and the New World Symphony. She has attended music festivals such as the Aspen Music Festival and the Pacific Music Festival. She has participated in masterclasses by prominent musicians such as Steven Isserlis, Paul Katz, Phoebe Carrai, Malcolm Bilson, Scott St. John, and Pamela Frank, and has performed under the baton of esteemed conductors including David Zinman, Fabio Luisi, Leonard Slatkin, David Robertson, George Manahan and Nicholas McGegan. She has also worked with distinguished musicians such as James Dunham and Rachel Barton Pine. Cora's primary teachers have been Alan Harris and Marc Johnson.

 

Guest Artists

“Pure and shining” soprano Clara Rottsolk has been lauded by The New York Times for her “clear, appealing voice and expressive conviction.”  In a repertoire extending from the Renaissance to the contemporary, her solo appearances with orchestras and chamber ensembles have taken her across the globe with ensembles such as American Bach Soloists, Tempesta di Mare, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Les Délices, Magnificat Baroque, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Bach Sinfonia, Piffaro—The Renaissance Wind Band, Trinity Wall Street Choir and Seraphic Fire under the direction of conductors including Joshua Rifkin, Bruno Weil, Paul Goodwin, Jeffrey Thomas, John Scott, David Effron, and Andrew Megill.  Among her stage roles are Micaëla (Carmen), Dido (Dido and Aeneas), Arminda (La finta giardiniera) and Laetitia (The Old Maid and the Thief). Her solo recordings include French cantatas with Les Délices, and a “supple and stylish… and unflaggingly attractive” (Gramophone Magazine) recording of Scarlatti Cantatas with Tempesta di Mare.  A native of Seattle, Ms. Rottsolk earned her music degrees at Rice University and Westminster Choir College. Currently she is based in Philadelphia and teaches voice at Swarthmore, Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges. www.clararottsolk.com

Keyboardist Dylan Sauerwald is quickly becoming known as a distinctive continuo player, soloist and music director across the US and Canada. As a member of Ensemble la Félicité, he won the first place title in chamber music at the Concours de Musique du Canada 2009 and was a finalist at the Montreal Baroque CBC⁄Galaxie chamber music competition 2007. Dylan has a special interest in baroque opera; he is founding co-director of Helios Early Opera, a project devoted to reviving seldom-performed baroque operas with innovative modern stagings. Dylan has been music director and harpsichordist for Helios' critically acclaimed productions of Cavalli's Artemisia, Charpentier's David et Jonathas and Telemann's Pimpinone. He has also directed Boismortier's Don Quichotte chez la Duchesse with Ensemble la Félicité and serves as repetiteur for Tafelmusik's summer opera institute with Opera Atelier. He can be heard regularly playing with the Cambridge Concentus, Emmanuel Music, Sonnambula and Canzonare. He holds a BMus in early keyboard performance from McGill University and an MMus from Boston University.  www.dylansauerwald.com

 

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last updated 10/14/13