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2010-11 Guests

Cantar alla Viola

Cantar alla Viola, the art of accompanying the voice with the Viola da Gamba, is a forgotten technique of using a bowed instrument to play polyphony and harmony. The rediscovery of this method of accompaniment inspired the soprano, Nadine Balbeisi, and the viola da gambist, Fernando Marín, to create this rare duo.  Detailed descriptions of the practice of this delicate manner of accompanying the voice are found in sources as "Regola Rubertiana" by Sylvestro Ganassi (1542) and in "Il libro del cortegliano" by Baldassare Castiglione, Venezia (1528).  According to Ganassi’s instructions, Fernando Marin adapts madrigals and songs from the Renaissance and early Baroque for the viol and voice.  The duo researches the different kinds of Violas da Gamba used to accompany the voice, such as the Spanish Vihuela de arco, the bowed version of the Vihuela de mano (plucked) and the English Lyra-viol.  Both have been historically reproduced, according to their shape as well as in the methods and techniques for building these instruments.  Historical bows are just as carefully researched and selected.   The instruments sustain harmonies by using a special bow technique, which creates a sound that mixes ideally with the human voice.  Cantar alla Viola has performed in festivals and concert series in Germany, Spain, and the Czech Republic.  The duo has been a finalist on two different occasions in the competition for early music in Antwerp International Young Artist’s Presentation.  Through their extensive research in the repertoire, they have encountered lesser known composers, whose works have yet to be played and recorded.  Introducing one of these rediscovered composers, Cantar alla Viola released the critically acclaimed CD: “The Complete Polyphonic Works of Juan Blas de Castro (1561-1631).”  They have just recently released a CD of songs accompanied by the Lyra-viol, “The Second Booke of Songs and Ayres” by Robert Jones.

Maria Jette, Soprano

Maria Jette has appeared with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Houston, Kansas City, San Luis Obispo, Santa Rosa, Charlotte, Buffalo, Grand Rapids, Austin and San Antonio Symphonies, New York Chamber Symphony and Portland Baroque Orchestra, and for many merry seasons with Ex Machina Antique Music Theatre in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis- St. Paul), where she's often heard locally with Vocalessence, Chamber Music Society of Minnesota and Lyra Baroque Orchestra. With conductor Helmuth Rilling, she’s sung Bach, Mozart and Haydn around the US, Germany, Spain, Venezuela, Japan and Canada. She’s performed her own production of Seuss/Kapilow’s Green Eggs & Ham for over 40,000 kids around the USA. She has been a regular guest over many seasons at the San Luis Obispo Mozart and Oregon Bach Festivals and the Oregon Festival of American Music, and is often heard nationally on Garrison Keillor’s  A Prairie Home Companion.

Upcoming: Richard Einhorn’s Voices of Light: The Passion of Joan of Arc, with the Grand Rapids Symphony; a recital of Latin American song with pianist Sonja Thompson in Grand Rapids; Russian love songs and arias with pianist Denis Evstuhin at the RUssian Museum of Art in Minneapolis; Cary Ratcliff’s oratorio, Ode to Common Things, for the ACDA conference in Minneapolis, Craig Hella Johnson, conductor; Mozart and Haydn with the Waukesha (WI) Symphony, Alexander Platt, conductor; and arias of Hasse and Graun with the Lyra Baroque Orchestra and harpsichordist Jacques Ogg.

Christopher Morrongiello, Lute

Lutenist Christopher Morrongiello, a former British Marshall Scholar, is a graduate of the Mannes College of Music, the Royal College of Music, and the University of Oxford, where he earned a Ph.D. in musicology.  As a recitalist, Christopher has performed to critical acclaim throughout Europe and the United States.  In 1993 he was a prizewinner in the BBC Radio Two Young Musician of the Year Competition and in 1996 was awarded a Marco Fodella Foundation Scholarship for studies and research in Milan, Italy.  In 2006, the Lute Society of America conferred upon him its first Patrick O’Brien LSA Seminar Lectureship.

Heralded as an innovative musical director and creator of large-scale dramatic works, Christopher has a gift for bringing music of the Renaissance and Baroque to life in its literary and social context.  His musical portrait of the Elizabethan muse and songstress Penelope Devereux, created for soprano Emily Van Evera (My Lady Rich, Avie Records 0045), has been described by Renaissance Magazine as “a presentation of unusual quality and beauty” and by the NY Times as “an inspired idea… a vivid and touching portrait.”

Christopher is a professor in music history at Hofstra University and teaches lute and related historical plucked instruments in his private studio in Long Island, New York.  He is a member of the Venere Lute Quartet, performs regularly with soprano Marcia Young, and directs the New York-based Bacheler Consort.

Tulio Rondon, cello

Tulio Rondón was born in Venezuela. He obtained his Bachelor's Degree at the Simón Bolivar Conservatory, where at the age of seventeen he was appointed cello teacher. As one of the founding members of the Aragua Symphony Orchestra in Venezuela, Tulio served as a principal cellist for six years.
In 1997 Tulio was invited to join the Cuarteto de Cuerdas América, and was chamber music assistant at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio (USA). In May 1999 Tulio Rondón received his Master's Degree in cello performance from Miami University. Tulio Rondón then moved to Tucson Arizona, and completed a Doctoral Degree in performance at the University of Arizona, in the year 2005. In the same year he moved to the Netherlands, in order to pursue studies on baroque cello and viola da gamaba with Jaap ter Linden and Rainer Zipperling at The Royal Conservatory in The Hague.
Tulio Rondón's chamber music experiences have taken him all over the world, participating in concerts in North and South America and throughout Europe, and sharing stage with world celebrated artists, to mention a few; Gil Shaham, Paul Katz, James Tocco, Hagen String Quartet, Pacifica String Quartet, Miro String Quartet. Mr. Rondón has participated in renowned festivals including, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Great Lakes Music Festival, Audubon String Quartet Seminar, Domaine Forget festival de Musique, and Amherst Early Music Festival. In these festivals he had the pleasure of working with well known pedagogues such as Jaap Ter Linden, Anner Bylsma, Rainer Zipperling, Phillip Muller, among others, and members of the Tokyo, Cleveland, Penderecky, Colorado, Franz Shubert, St. Lawrence, Audubon, Vermeer, Orford, and Oxford String Quartets.
Rondón's teaching experience has undergone continuous growth since the age of seventeen. He has worked in schools, colleges, and conservatories, such as, Simón Bolivar conservatory (Maracay-Venezuela), Earlham College at Richmond, IN (USA), and Catalina Foothills School District at Tucson, AZ (USA), Prime School of Music in Tucson, AZ, and a continuing private teaching experience.
Tulio Rondón teaches at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, and is the artist director of a the European based baroque ensemble L'incontro Antico, and founding member of the Sephardic music emsemble Me la Amargates Tú. Tulio Rondón performs on a 1783 Ioannes Michael Willer violoncello, and a Copy of Michael Colichon c. 1687 viola da gamba.