The dream of establishing a monthly Bach concert series in Madison become reality with the formation of a dream team in 2018; Cheryl Bensman-Rowe, Sarah Brailey, Marika Fischer Hoyt, and Paul Rowe joined forces that summer, and the rest is history. Cheryl and Paul helped launch the series, and have since moved on to other commitments. Early in 2020 the Just Bach Artistic Team welcomed Alan Muirhead, whose assistance has been invaluable as we pivoted from live concerts to the pre-recorded performances necessary during the pandemic.
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 returned 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 maintains a demanding concert schedule, and has performed throughout the U.S., and in Germany and Hungary. She plays with the Madison Symphony Orchestra and Ancora String Quartet (which toured Germany in 2018) on modern viola, and with the 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 serves as Artistic Director of 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.
A retired chemist and technical writer, Alan Muirhead has sung in choirs all his life and has been a member of the American Recorder Society since the 1970s. He currently serves on the Advisory Board to the Madison Early Music Festival (MEMF) and is on the board of Piffaro, the Renaissance Band. Alan is also co-host of Musica Antiqua on WORT, where he plays music from early chant up through J. S. Bach.
The Madison area is home to many musicians with a deep love, extensive training, and wide experience in performing the music of J.S. Bach. Just Bach is delighted to feature them on our concert series, giving them an opportunity to share their talents, and Bach’s music, with the community.
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.
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.
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.
Violinist Leanne Kelso League is associate concertmaster of the Madison Symphony Orchestra and assistant concertmaster of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. Her performances include chamber music and orchestral performances in Italy, Austria, Amsterdam, Costa Rica, and Slovenia, and cities throughout North America. From 1996-1999, she was a fellow at the New World Symphony in Miami, Florida where she performed as concertmaster and principal second violin. She earned her M.M. in performance from UW-Madison, studying with Vartan Manoogian and holding an assistantship at UW as a violinist in the Strelow String Quartet. Her undergraduate studies were completed at The Florida State University and Eastman School of Music. On the Baroque violin, Leanne has studied with Karen Clarke and has performed with Nicholas McGegan, Max von Egmont, the Tallahassee Bach Parley, the Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble, and the Madison Bach Musicians.
Charlie Rasmussen enjoys an active career as both a Baroque and modern cellist. He is currently a cello faculty member at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee. As a Baroque cellist, Mr. Rasmussen is an active performer with the Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble and Sonata à Quattro. Mr. Rasmussen has appeared at the Boston Early Music Festival Fringe Series with the New York Continuo Collective. He has also performed as principal cellist with Madison Bach Musicians and has performed in multiple early music recitals at the Yale University Institute of Sacred Music. Mr. Rasmussen has presented lecture recitals about historical performance practice at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, for the Colorado Symphony Study Group in Denver, and at locations around Milwaukee. His first solo CD, 11 Capricci by Joseph Dall’Abaco, was released by Centaur Records.
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.
Brailey photo credit: Miranda Loud
Giglierano photo credit: Jillian Giglierano
League, Hoyt, and Smith photo credit: Barry Lewis