Andrew Arceci, viola da gamba, violone, and bass
“The opening Grave, with subtle nuances in Andrew Arceci’s viola da gamba and overall intricate textures, conveyed the quiet and poised joy of daily thanksgiving." THE BOSTON MUSICAL INTELLIGENCER (May 2014)
“...the subtle but substantial supporting bass line provided on the violone by Andrew Arceci...provided many delights.” THE BOSTON MUSICAL INTELLIGENCER (May 2014)
“As a soloist, Arceci displayed a thick, metallic tone in the lower register with throaty, well-placed high notes. L’Académie in turn followed his cues with precision and nuance to the work’s forlorn end.” A. Sammut, THE BOSTON MUSICAL INTELLIGENCER (February 2012)
"Andrew Arceci brought a lovely tone to the line and matched the dramatic impulses that propelled the superb ensemble playing." A. Kozinn, THE NEW YORK TIMES (January 2011)
“Each work is packed with solo passages that displayed the considerable skills of Juilliard’s accomplished players: most notably Ms. Karr and Ms. Wenstrom; Emi Ferguson and Christopher Matthews, the flutists; Molly Norcross and Nathanael Udell, the hornists; and Andrew Arceci, the bassist, who had extensive solos in the trio section of each work’s Menuetto.” A Kozinn, THE NEW YORK TIMES (March 2011)
Developing a varied career as performer, composer/arranger, and scholar, Andrew Arceci performs regularly on the viola da gamba (viol), violone, and double bass throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. In the United Kingdom, he has appeared with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Cöthen Baroque, and Oxford Baroque. In the United States, he has collaborated with the Boston Camerata, Harmonious Blacksmith, Washington Bach Consort, Tempesta di Mare - Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra, Handel Choir of Baltimore, and Musica Sequenza; he currently serves as principal bassist with Boston’s L'Académie Baroque Orchestra and Chicago’s Baroque Band.
As viol soloist with orchestra, Arceci has performed historical and/or contemporary works with Oxford Baroque (UK), and numerous ensembles throughout the United States––the National Philharmonic, L'Académie, Les Bostonades, Cambridge Concentus, and the New Juilliard Ensemble, giving the North American premiere of Elżbieta Sikora’s Canzona: for Viola da Gamba & Orchestra at Alice Tully Hall (US).
Radio credits include BBC-Radio 3 (UK), Deutschlandradio (Germany), Taipei Broadcasting Station (Taiwan), NPR: National Public Radio (US), and PRI: Public Radio International (US). In 2008, Arceci played violone for countertenor Peter Lee’s recording Stabat Mater, winning a Taiwanese Golden Melody Award (equivalent to an American Grammy Award). Recent recording projects includeLove & Lust (forthcoming) with Elizabeth Hungerford, Españoletas (2014) with Harmonious Blacksmith, Musique sacrée (2013) with Oxford Baroque, Time (2012) for unaccompanied viola da gamba, and The New Four Seasons (2012) with Musica Sequenza.
Festival highlights include the Brighton Early Music Festival (UK), Göttinger Reihe Historischer Musik (Germany), MUPA International Festival (Thailand), the Shandelee Music Festival (US), Artscape (US), the Aspen Music Festival-Opera Theater Center (US), Indianapolis Early Music Festival (US), Washington Early Music Festival (US), and the 2011 Focus! Festival (US).
As a composer, Arceci often includes original works for unaccompanied viola da gamba on solo recitals. Suite in D Minor: for Viola da Gamba and Chamber Orchestra was premiered in 2007 by the Peabody Camerata, and subsequently performed by the Peabody Sinfonietta. Suite II in G Minor: for Viola da Gamba, String Orchestra & Percussion was premiered in 2008 (Baltimore, MD), with subsequent performances by Boston’s L'Académie in February 2012, the Oxford University String Ensemble in June 2012 at the Holywell Music Room (UK), and Boston’s Juventas New Music Ensemble in September 2014.
After studying double bass, viola da gamba, and art history at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University (US), Arceci completed a M.Mus. in Historical Performance from The Juilliard School (US), and recently read for a Master of Studies (performance & musicology) at Magdalen College, Oxford (UK).
He has given workshops at the University of Oxford (UK), the University of Cambridge (UK), the University of Edinburgh (UK), the Taipei National University of the Arts (Taiwan), and Burapha University (Thailand). Additionally, Arceci has presented at several musicology conferences––I Encontro Ibero-Americano de Jovens Musicólogos (Portugal), Music & the Seicento (UK), and the Royal Musical Association (UK). Upcoming engagements include projects throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, and Thailand.
Paul Cienniwa, harpsichord
..an "inner sense of creative flow,
fueled by an abundance of musical imagination and desire."--The Huffington Post
"Cienniwa's playing was exquisite — no drama, no posturing — just consummate artistry and a superb performance of a marvelous concerto."--The New Bedford Standard-Times
Cited by the Huffington Post for his “inner sense of creative flow, fueled by an abundance of musical imagination and desire,” harpsichordist Paul Cienniwa has a burgeoning career as a soloist, recording artist, and ensemble player. He strives to bring the harpsichord to new audiences by creating a spiritual communion through focused interpretations intensified by memorized repertoire. His first solo recording, “Harpsichord Music for a Thin Place” (Whaling City Sound) exemplifies his artistic goals as a “transport to the threshold between the ordinary and the spiritual...to the point where the ordinary becomes spiritual and the spiritual becomes ordinary."
His playing of Francis Poulenc’s Concert champêtre was heralded by the New Bedford Standard-Times as “exquisite—no drama, no posturing—just consummate artistry and a superb performance of a marvelous concerto,” and The Boston Musical Intelligencer called his performance of Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto in A Major “a joyous romp.” EDGE Boston found his playing “expert,” while The Listening Room said that his performance was “charming, polished, musically profound, and technically brilliant.”
For his CD of the Bach Viola da Gamba Sonatas with cellist Audrey Sabattier-Cienniwa (Whaling City Sound), KBAQ radio (Phoenix, AZ) called his ability to accompany "spot-on...perfect". His recording with Grammy Award-winning uilleann piper Jerry O'Sullivan was called "drop-dead gorgeous" and named one of the top ten Irish traditional albums of 2010 by The Irish Echo. An advocate of new music, he is featured on a two-CD set of music by composer Larry Thomas Bell titled “In a Garden of Dreamers” (Albany Records).
A frequent chamber music collaborator, he has performed the complete BachViolin Sonatas with renowned violinist Rachel Barton Pine on Chicago’s WFMT radio and during the 2013 Boston Early Music Festival. As an orchestral continuo player, he plays with the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra and Rhode Island Philharmonic. In recent years, he has appeared at Emmanuel Music with violinist Nicholas Kitchen, the Kingston Chamber Music Festival, the White Mountain Bach Festival, VentiCordi, and, with uilleann piper Jerry O’Sullivan, the Catskills Irish Arts Week.
A resident of Fall River, Massachusetts, Paul Cienniwa leads an active musical life in southeastern Massachusetts and the Boston/Providence regions. He is Chorus Master of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra, directs the chorus at Framingham State University, and teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. As organist and conductor, he is music director at First Church in Boston, where he leads the fully professional First Church Choir and can be heard weekly on WERS (88.9 FM) Boston.
Originally from Niles, IL, Paul Cienniwa began his keyboard studies at age six. In his teen years, he played thrash guitar with the Evanston, IL punk bandMalicious Intent, followed by seven years as keyboardist with the innovative Chicago-based Irish group Baal Tinne. From 2003-2010, he led Newport Baroque in works from Arne to Zelenka, including performances of Bach cantatas and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas, and in 2009, he was music director for Boston Opera Collaborative's acclaimed production of Handel's Alcina.
He been awarded Belgian American Educational Foundation and Fulbright grants, and his musicological articles and reviews have appeared in American and European journals, including Early Music, Ad Parnassum and Early Music America. As an educator, he has taught at the Yale University School of Music, Salve Regina University, and Mount Ida College. He continues to teach at UMass-Dartmouth and Framingham State University.
Paul Cienniwa started his undergraduate studies as a pianist in the studio of Michael Ruiz at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. After completing his bachelor’s degree at DePaul University with harpsichordist Roger Goodman and organist Jerome Butera, he received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in harpsichord from Yale University, where he was a student of Richard Rephann. He has also studied harpsichord with Peter Watchorn, John Whitelaw, and David Schrader.
Dorian Komanoff Bandy, baroque violin
Chosen as one of the Los Angeles Times’s “101 Remarkable Young People,” Dorian Komanoff Bandy is among the most versatile talents to emerge on the early music scene. As an opera conductor, his repertoire spans the sixteenth through twentieth centuries, including works of Barber, Cavalli, Handel, Haydn, Lully, Monteverdi, Mozart, Purcell, Rossini, Rousseau, Alessandro Scarlatti and others. His particular affinity for the stage works of Mozart has led to collaborations and guest-directorships with opera companies on both sides of the Atlantic, and he has garnered acclaim for his “unquestionably dramatic” interpretive approach that “brings [Mozart’s] music to life” (Opera Today, April 2012), his “ingenious recitative accompaniment” (Counterpunch, November 2008), as well as his “admirable” ability to “tread the line between joy and sadness” (Opera Now, July/August 2012). His 2012 production of Così fan tutte (London, Hampstead Garden Opera) was recognized as the year’s “Best Opera Production” by the OffWestEnd Awards.
When not conducting, Dorian maintains a thriving career as a performer on early violins and keyboards. His “spectacular violin playing” (PlanetHugill, Brighton, UK), marked by “sensibility and virtuosity” (Musical Pointers, London, UK), has charmedaudiences in venues ranging from London’s Wigmore and Cadogan Halls to Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and New York’s Symphony Space. He is leader and co-director of Musica Poetica London, and a frequent guest concertmaster/soloist with Sinfonia New York, the Amphion Consort (London), Musical Offering (Boston), and other groups across Europe and North America. He is also an experienced harpsichordist and fortepianist. In 2014-2015, he and Paul Cienniwa will launch BACH EXPLORED, a Boston- and New Bedford-based recital series pairing works of Bach with those of his 17th-century forebears and 18th-century colleagues.
In addition to his performing activities, Dorian is increasingly in demand as a teacher and educator. He has coached students and taught masterclasses at the Longy School of Music and the Colburn School of Performing Arts; he also maintains private vocal- and instrumental-coaching studios in New York, Boston and Los Angeles. With art historian Ruth Ezra, he has led a popular series of gallery lectures at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, investigating deeper aesthetic connections between art and music (recent topics include the relationship between foreground and background in visual and aural space; realism vs. naturalism; and visual and aural depictions of the Affections in the 17th and 18th centuries). In Fall 2014, he became an Affiliate Tutor of Quincy House at Harvard University, and Violinist in Residence at First Church in Boston.
Dorian holds degrees from the Royal Academy of Music (London) and Cornell University. In 2010 he was awarded the coveted Marshall Scholarship.
Vivian Montgomery, fortepiano and harpsichord
Vivian Montgomery, DMA, is an award-winning harpsichordist and fortepianist on the Early Music Faculty of the Longy School of Music of Bard College. A 2014 Fulbright Senior Research Scholar (UK), and a recipient of a Solo Recitalist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, she has been praised for her "…exquisite music-making...exceptional for its precision, blend and stylistic unity...sprightly and charming" (Music in Cincinnati) whose “…gestures flowed like harmonious rivulets, building into swift cascades, and even torrents...grabbing the listeners with its ebb and flow” (Boston Musical Intelligencer). As a faculty member at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Vivian taught early keyboards and historical performance from 2003 through 2013. Having earned her Masters in Early Keyboards from the University of Michigan and the DMA in Early Music from Case Western Reserve University, she has served as Director of the Jurow International Harpsichord Competition since 2009.
Recipient of First Distinction in the Warsaw International Harpsichord Competition, and Second Prize in the Jurow International Harpsichord Competition, Vivian’s performing life encompasses concerto solos, solo recitals, chamber music performances, and vocal accompanying work throughout the United States. She has been heard widely in recent performances of 19th-century American and women’s music, well represented on her new CD release Reviving Song: Spirited Works by Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Hélene Montgeroult, and Louis Spohr (Women and Music Project, Brandeis University WSRC). Vivian’s work on little-known piano music for domestic use, especially in Antebellum America, is exemplified by the upcoming Centaur Records release entitled Brilliant Variations on Sentimental Songs. While building on collaborations as half of the period instruments duo Adastra (adastra.vivianmontgomery.org/site/) and the dynamic Galhano/Montgomery Duo, Vivian has ardently explored the musical lives of women from 1500 to 1900, especially through two decades of cross-disciplinary work with her ensemble, Cecilia’s Circle (ccircle.org). Recordings of music by Elisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre (2005) and Barbara Strozzi (upcoming) by the group are on the Centaur label, and other recordings by Vivian can be found on 10,000 Lakes (Schubert Club) and Innova labels.
Vivian’s work as a conductor has led to engagements directing baroque opera, orchestras, and choirs in Minneapolis (Ex Machina Antique Music Theatre Company and the University of Minnesota), Cleveland (CWRU/CIM Baroque Orchestra and Early Music Singers), Pennsylvania (Dickinson College Collegium), and in her current residence, Boston. Vivian holds a post as a Resident Scholar at the Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center (brandeis.edu/wsrc/), where she is a founder and co-chair of the Women and Music Mix, an important vehicle for advocacy, concert presentation, and funding of female composers.
As an avid writer of both scholarly articles and personal essay, Vivian is currently bridging the two realms with Finding the Space Between, a collection of pieces on harpsichord playing, teaching, and repertoire, drawing upon a wide array of life experiences, physical/spiritual practices, and vocabulary surrounding expression, movement, and deep listening. Vivian is also an accordion player, and can be heard with her clarinetist son Ezra Morrison as leaders of the Shabbat band Shir Chutzpa at Temple Shir Tikva in Wayland. They live in Medford with Vivian’s husband (Ezra’s father), composer John Howell Morrison.
Zoe Vandermeer, soprano and harps
"electrifying"--Nova Scotia Halifax Herald
"fine soprano soloist"--Oakland Tribune
"Vandermeer was astonishing when she came out and deftly accompanied her own singing on harpsichord the music of Monteverdi"--San Francisco Chronicle
“An artist of genius, this woman seems to have come true out of a fairy tale from green Erin.”-- Diari de Balears, Mallorca, Spain
Zoe Vandermeer, is a prize-winning graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and recipient of the Dame Joan Sutherland Fund, Emerging Artists Fund, MTNA Foundation Grant Fund and Hartt School Faculty Development Fund. As First Place Winner of the Barry Alexander International Vocal Competition, she had her operatic debut in Carnegie Hall in October, 2014. Ms. Vandermeer was First Place Winner in the Bay Area Vocal Arts Competition singing J.S. Bach Cantata 51. She was Finalist in the London Young Artists Early Music Competition, Canada's Wilfred Laurier Concert Aria Competition, the UK Northwest Early Music Forum Competition, and more recently, the American Prize Competition, Opera Division.
At the International Festival de Deia in Mallorca, she performed her original one woman Baroque pastiche opera 'If Love Be the Food of Musick'. 'Vandermeer as an actress owns excellent diction and remarkable dramatic skills, fascinating voice, subtle touch all embarked in harp strings or in a spinet, an artist of genius, this woman seems to have come true out of a fairy tale from green Erin'. (Diari de Balears). She has given performances of the work for the Glasgow International Early Music Festival, Nairn Little Theatre, and Glasgow's Pollok House National Trust Museum. Upon her return to California, she expanded the work to include actors, instrumental ensemble, and dancers. Articles about her one woman opera can be found in the Swiss publication, Harpa (Winter 1998) and Classical Singer Magazine (2005).
Having sung lead dramatic coloratura roles in opera and oratorio, Ms. Vandermeer enjoyed singing as soloist in her own commissioned work 'The Enchanted Nightingale' performed with the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra in collaboration with the Oakland Symphony Chamber Chorus and Sonos Handbell Ensemble in Walnut Creek, CA. Subsequently, she composed a new work 'Zoe's Musical Fairy Tale', which incorporates early music instruments, singers, choir, and narrator. Her original story in rhyming poetry throughout, the work has been frequently compared to Phantom of the Opera, Secret Garden, Into the Woods, and Grimms' Fairy Tales. 'Take flight into the mystical land of Zoe and the inner child in you will be blanketed like only a classic fairy tale can do.' (Get Fancy Magazine). Songs from the original CD were nominated for Best Classical Song (2002) and Best Children's Song (2001) by JPF.
Enchanted with the harp, Ms. Vandermeer moved from accompanying her singing on harpsichord to harp, first with lever harp, followed by intensive studies on the Italian triple harp. 2002 saw the release of her solo album 'Angel's Wine, the Songs of John Dowland', in which she accompanies her singing on triple harp. 'There is much to commend on this recording, … it represents a splendidly self-assured recital by a self-accompanist…a beautiful sounding disc from a highly talented musician.' (UK Lute Society Journal ). The CD won Second Place for Best Classical Album by JPF. The Dowland program has also been performed at Trinity Concerts Berkeley (2002), HarpCon2003, Bloomington Early Music Festival in 2006 and elsewhere. Ms. Vandermeer acquired her Welsh triple harp in Spring of 2014 and has given performances for the American Harp Society, Somerset Harp Festival, Berkeley Early Music Fringe Festival, and Pioneer Valley Early Music Days, with an upcoming performance for the American Harp Society Conference in Atlanta, July 2016 focusing on the music of Handel and his contemporaries. Her solo Handel recording is scheduled to be released Spring 2016.
Moving from California to Connecticut in mid 2004 to further her vocal training, she studies voice with Arthur Levy in New York City. After moving to the Northeast, she became more familiar with the history of Connecticut's own P.T. Barnum, and as a result, Ms. Vandermeer has been developing her Jenny Lind Project for several years, with the CD slated to be released by the end of 2015. She is on the performing artist roster of the CT Commission of Culture and Tourism.