The dream team bringing this venture to Madison consists of four individuals who have dedicated a significant portion of their careers to the music of J.S. Bach.
Sarah Brailey is returning to her Wisconsin roots after spending over a decade in New York City, during which time she sang Bach nearly every week at Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity and Bach at 1 at Trinity Wall Street. She has been a soloist in all the major Bach works at Bach festivals and concerts around the world. In December, she appears as a soloist in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and the Bach Society of Minnesota. She returns to the Twin Cities in March to sing Bach’s famous cantata Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen for soprano and trumpet.
Cheryl Bensman-Rowe and Paul Rowe are the founders and Co-Artistic Directors of the Madison Early Music Festival (MEMF) (which celebrates its 20th season next summer), and longtime Bach artists. Cheryl sang at Bach Vespers, the weekly cantata series at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and on the Basically Bach series at Lincoln Center, and performances at Symphony Space in New York City and with the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston. Paul has performed works of Bach at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fischer Hall – Lincoln Center, Marlboro Music Festival, Winter Park Bach Festival, Kalamazoo Bach Festival, Bach Society of St. Louis and recorded Bach’s St. John Passion with the Smithsonian Chamber Players.
Violist Marika Fischer Hoyt plays with the Madison Symphony Orchestra and Ancora String Quartet on modern viola, and with the Madison Early Music Festival (MEMF), Madison Bach Musicians, Handel Aria Competition, Sonata à Quattro, Florentine Opera Company, Great Lakes Baroque, and Bach Collegium of Fort Wayne, IN, on baroque viola. She also directs the annual music festival, Bach Around The Clock. During her four-year tenure as host of Saturday Afternoon Classics on Wisconsin Public Radio, Marika devoted one show each December to Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, broadcasting and giving commentary on many different recordings of this work.
Mark Brampton Smith holds degrees in Organ Performance from the Eastman School of Music and the University of Michigan. Currently the organist at Grace Episcopal Church, on Capitol Square in Madison, Mark has served on the music staff of churches in seven states. A prize winner in several national organ competitions, he has given solo concerts in numerous churches and auditoriums, including Overture Hall. As a collaborative pianist, Mark has worked with singers, instrumentalists, and choral ensembles, including the University of Michigan choirs, Ann Arbor Cantata Singers, Colgate University Chorus, and, since 2012, the Wisconsin Chamber Choir.
Kangwon Lee Kim is a versatile violinist with repertoire ranging from baroque to 21st century using both baroque and modern violins. She has given concerts throughout the U.S. and in Korea, Canada, Puerto Rico, Switzerland, Norway and Czech Republic. As a baroque violinist, Ms. Kim has performed with the Smithsonian Chamber Players, Oberlin Baroque Institute Faculty Ensemble, Brandywine Baroque, Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble, Calisto (San Francisco), the Classical Symphony (Philadelphia) and Baroque Band (Chicago). She served as Assistant Professor at Biola University and has also taught at Ripon College, the University of Pennsylvania and Lawrence University Conservatory. Currently, Ms. Kim is Assistant Artistic Director and Concertmaster of Madison Bach Musicians and teaches at Credo Chamber Music Festival during the summer.
Known for “nuanced, richly ambered” interpretations of Bach (LucidCulture NYC), Just Bach principal cellist and viola da gamba player James Waldo has lived and breathed period performance his whole life, having been raised in the home of two musicians who specialized in recorder, traverso, and renaissance choral music. After graduate studies at Mannes College and nine years living and working in New York City, James returned to Madison last fall to begin his DMA studies at UW with Uri Vardi. In between recital tours with his piano-playing wife (awduo.com), James plays on period instruments with such ensembles as Madison Bach Musicians, North Carolina Baroque, Salon/Sanctuary Concerts, and LeStrange Viols. James recently participated in an all-Bach program for Midsummer’s Music in Door County, and is the regular principal cellist of Cecilia Chorus, performing twice a year in Carnegie Hall.
Tenor Wesley Dunnagan is a specialist in oratorio and concert repertoire and has been praised for his “unfailing eloquence” as the Evangelist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. Recent performance highlights include Bach’s St. John Passion and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with the Madison Bach Musicians, Hansel and Gretel, Lucia di Lammermoor, Così fan tutte, Gianni Schicchi, Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Nathan Gunn in the title role, Bach’s Passions, and diverse works from Renaissance to contemporary compositions. He holds degrees from Stanford and the University of Notre Dame.
Mezzo-soprano Lindsey Meekhof is thrilled to be joining Just Bach. Recent performances include Maddalena in Rigoletto, Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, and Hansel in Hansel and Gretel with the South Bend Lyric Opera. Lindsey earned a B.M. from the University of Michigan and an M.M. from Texas Tech. In addition to performing, Lindsey has taught as an adjunct professor of voice at Saint Mary’s College and Indiana University South Bend. She began her Doctor of Music degree this fall at the University of Wisconsin. Her favorite people in the world are her nephew Ollie, and her niece Piper.
Tenor Thore Dosdall is a second-year master’s candidate at UW-Madison. This summer, Thore was a vocal apprentice at the Nahant Music Festival, performing in the premiere of the chamber opera Keepers of the Light and as ensemble and tenor soloist in Keiser’s Markus Passion. In August, he performed as the Defendant with the Madison Savoyards in Trial by Jury. He most recently appeared as Flute/Thisby in UW’s fall production of Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and will be playing the Witch from Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel during UW’s upcoming Opera Scenes performance.
Cellist Anton TenWolde specializes in baroque music. While earning his degree in Applied Physics at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, he performed twice with Ton Koopman, and toured with the Netherlands Student Chamber Orchestra and the Netherlands Student Baroque Orchestra. In 1973 he moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where he worked for 27 years as a Research Physicist at the USDA Forest Products Laboratory. He is the former principal cello of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and a founding member of the Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble. He regularly performs with the Madison Bach Musicians and the Bach Collegium of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Violinist Nathan Giglierano has performed across Europe, Central and North America. Nathan graduated with his Bachelor’s in Music from Oberlin Conservatory, where he studied with Marilyn McDonald, and earned his Master’s degree from UW-Madison under the tutelage of David Perry. Nathan is very active in the Madison baroque music scene and is a member of the Madison Bach Musicians and Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble. When not playing concerts or teaching, Nathan enjoys photography, woodworking, and hiking with his wife.
Oboist Sian Ricketts enjoys a multi-faceted career as a singer and a period woodwinds specialist. This season, she performs chamber music and orchestral repertoire with ensembles such as Bach Collegium Fort Wayne (IN), Apollo’s Fire (OH), Dallas Bach Society, and the Gamut Bach Ensemble (PA). Sian is a co-founding member of the early music ensemble Alkemie, specializing in music of the medieval period. This season, Alkemie is featured on several concert series, including Music Before 1800 (NY) and the Amherst Glebe Arts Response (VA), and also performs in collaboration with Fordham University and the Metropolis Ensemble. In addition to her interest in early music, Sian also regularly performs 21st-century repertoire as both an instrumentalist and singer, and has recently collaborated with composers such as Jonathan Dawe, Gregory Spears, Elliot Cole, and Mark Nowakowski. Sian holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in historical performance practice from Case Western Reserve University with concentrations in voice and baroque oboe.
Tenor James Mauk has served as a conductor, clinician, and soloist throughout the US and abroad. He is the founder & artistic director of Carolina Choral Artists, a chamber choir based in eastern NC that specializes in music of living composers. He has performed as a tenor and countertenor with Madison Choral Project, Kantorei KC, Norfolk Festival Chamber Choir, Missouri Choral Artists, Te Deum Antiqua, and KC VITAs. James appears in a number of recordings through GIA, Walton Music, and CORO Music Publishers and is active in the American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America, and the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Currently, James resides in Madison, WI where he serves as the tenor soloist at Grace Episcopal Church.
Violinist Thalia Coombs is pursuing her DMA at the UW-Madison with David Perry, where she has served as a musicology teaching assistant. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and a Master’s degree from the UW-Madison. Coombs has studied chamber music with ensembles including the Tokyo, Brentano, St. Lawrence, and Orion quartets. She has held concertmaster and principal positions at both ASU and UW-Madison, and performs with local ensembles such as the UW Collegium Musicum, Sonata à Quattro, the La Crosse Symphony, and the Oakwood Chamber Players, and is co-artistic director of the Madison Area Youth Chamber Orchestra.
Flutist, keyboardist, vocalist, director, composer, arranger, and educator Monica Steger has performed in chamber ensembles specializing in Baroque repertoire since 1998. Her studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Indiana University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison covered the theoretical, historical, and performing aspects of music. Her research interests include 18th-century secular cantatas, Baroque dance, and rhetoric and aesthetics of the Baroque and Classical eras. She also enjoys performing newly-composed music for traverso and harpsichord. She teaches private lessons in the Milwaukee area and is a production assistant at a local music education publishing company.
Linda Pereksta has played historical flutes with Spire Baroque Orchestra, Washington Bach Consort, Sonata à Quattro, Madison Bach Musicians, Ensemble Musical Offering, Tallahassee Bach Parley, and Baroque Southeast. She serves on the Editorial Advisory Board for The Flutist Quarterly, and was Chair of the National Flute Association’s Historical Flutes Committee. Twice a prizewinner in the NFA’s Baroque Flute Artist Competition, her doctoral treatise, “20th-Century Compositions for the Baroque Flute,” won its Graduate Research Competition. An equally accomplished performer on modern flutes, Linda teaches at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, plays Piccolo in the Madison Symphony, and was previously a member of the Louisiana Philharmonic in New Orleans.
Micah Behr received his Doctorate in Viola Performance at UW Madison where he studied viola with Sally Chisholm and collaborative piano with Martha Fischer. His original compositions and transcriptions have been premiered by the Madison Bach Musicians and the Stoughton Chamber Music Players. He also composes music for Geneva Campus Church where he serves as Worship Director and Artist-in-Residence.
Christine Hauptly Annin holds degrees from UW-Madison and Rice University. On modern violin, Christine has held positions with the Wisconsin Philharmonic, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, Dayton Philharmonic, Rochester Philharmonic, and Madison Symphony. She is a frequent substitute in the Milwaukee Symphony, and has also performed with the Cincinnati Symphony, including their international tour to Japan in 2009. On baroque violin, Christine has performed in numerous ensembles nationwide, including Madison Bach Musicians, Catacoustic Consort, Handel and Haydn Society Orchestra, and others. Additionally, Christine is a music educator, teaching elementary general music as well as private violin and viola lessons in the greater Milwaukee area.
Brailey photo credit: Miranda Loud TenWolde photo credit: Kent Sweitzer