Harpsichord & Piano
Byron Schenkman believes in the power of music to bring people together for healing and joy. By the time they went to their first music camp at the age of eleven, Byron knew that playing chamber music would be an important part of their life’s work. They have since been a founding member of several ensembles, including the Seattle Baroque Orchestra which they codirected until 2013. In addition to performing live on piano, harpsichord, and fortepiano, Byron can be heard on more than forty CDs, including recordings on historical instruments from the National Music Museum, Vermillion, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. A recipient of the Erwin Bodky Award from the Cambridge Society for Early Music “for outstanding achievement in the field of early music,” Byron was voted “Best Classical Instrumentalist” by the readers of Seattle Weekly, and their piano playing has been described in The New York Times as “sparkling,” “elegant,” and “insightful.” A graduate of the New England Conservatory and Indiana University, Byron currently teaches music history at Seattle University, and has been a guest lecturer in harpsichord and fortepiano at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
Houston, Texas native Amber Archibald-Sešek has been praised for her bold and vivacious playing that matches her personality. Prior to the pandemic, Amber enjoyed solo engagements in Seattle and with the Association of Dominican Musicians in New York City. As a chamber musician, she has appeared with the Seattle Russian Chamber Music Society, Arizona Bach Society, Caroga Lake Music Festival, and the Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival in Winthrop, WA. Since 2016, you can regularly catch Amber on stage or in the pit with Seattle Symphony and the Seattle Opera as a substitute musician.
Teaching has always been a passion and at the forefront of Amber’s career. Her prior teaching posts include professorships at Seattle University and Seattle Pacific University In 2018, was the youth viola coach in the inaugural Los Angeles Philharmonic’s YOLA Summer Festival (NTASF). Currently, Amber and her husband, violinist Ervin Luka Sešek, are the proud founders of the Sešek String Studio. With over 40 students, Amber and Luka stay in demand as their instruction over the years has allowed several of their students to pursue music at the collegiate and professional level. Outside of music making, Amber enjoys cooking, reading and playing with her Standard Poodle, Fanny.
Internationally, Thomas has performed under such directors as Christophe Coin, Richard Egarr, and Philippe Herreweghe, and has performed at numerous festivals as an orchestral and chamber musician. He has been featured as a soloist with Mercury: The Orchestra Redefined, Lyra Baroque, Ensemble ad Libitum, Boston Baroque, and Grand Harmonie to critical acclaim. In North America, Thomas is the principal clarinetist with Boston-based Grand Harmonie, Houston-based Mercury, and the romantic opera orchestra of Teatro Nuovo, frequently collaborating with other early music specialists throughout North America including the Clarion Music, Handel and Haydn Societies, and Boston Baroque.
An interest in instrument mechanics and acoustics has led Thomas to a secondary career as an instrument builder and extensive research into 18th and 19th century wood treatment and seasoning. He studied woodworking and instrument construction with Linda Shortridge, Rob Turner, and Paul Beekhuizen, and builds chalumeaux, baroque, and classical clarinets, and basset instruments for use in historically-informed performance ensembles.
Principal violist of Boston Baroque since 2015, Jason Fisher is a frequent guest with the Handel & Haydn Society and has appeared in period chamber music and solo recitals with Sarasa, Musicians of the Old Post Road, Les Bostonades, Byron Schenkman & Friends, and Gut Reaction. He has spent recent summers at Staunton Music Festival, Oregon Bach Festival, Connecticut Early Music Festival, and Aston Magna Music Festival. Jason has appeared numerous times on period viola as principal and soloist with Seattle Baroque Orchestra, and as a guest with Portland Baroque Orchestra and Pacific Music Works. On modern viola, Jason is a founding member of the Grammy-nominated string orchestra A Far Cry. A Carnegie Hall Fellow and a Peabody Singapore Fellow, Jason has toured Europe, Asia, Kazakhstan, and the Kyrgyz Republic. Concerts at Vienna Musikverein, Singapore Esplanade, and Carnegie Hall. Performances with Pink Martini, Jake Shimabukuro, Itzakh Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Renée Fleming, Kiri Te Kanawa, and with members of the Florestan Trio, and the Æolus, Brentano, Cleveland, Emerson, Mendelssohn, and St. Lawrence String Quartets. Jason performs frequently at and acts as band contractor for the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) in Cambridge, including recent world-premiere musical theater productions of Crossing, The Great Comet, Jagged Little Pill, and Moby-Dick.
Originally from Madison, WI, bassist Ross Gilliland was a long-time member of the Madison Symphony Orchestra and Madison Opera and performed regularly with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Madison Bach Musicians, and Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society. For more than 15 years he has served as the festival bassist for the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival, directed by famed composer John Harbison. Since relocating to Seattle, he regularly performs orchestral, modern, baroque, bluegrass, chamber music, musical theater, and is featured in many film and soundtrack recordings.
Ross wears another hat altogether, having worked in public policy and non-profit management for over a decade. He has served on NOCCO’s board since 2015 and is currently the Board President. Ross holds degrees in music performance, physics, and public policy, and in 2015 was named a Strategic Data Fellow by Harvard University.
Viola & violoncello da Spalla
Hailed by the Strad Magazine for his ‘warm hearted playing and mellow tone’, Philadelphia based violist Andrew Gonzalez lives a fulfilling career as both a soloist and chamber musician, performing in prestigious venues throughout the United States, as well as halls all over Asia and Europe. As a sought after chamber musician, his playing has allowed him to collaborate with respected ensembles such as the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Sejong Soloists, as well as members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, Tokyo, Orion, Borromeo, and Vermeer quartets. In the fall of 2020, Andrew became the new violist of the Jasper String Quartet.
Proceeding performances with Sejong Soloists in China and Carnegie Hall, the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s, and fall and winter tours with the Sphinx Virtuosi, Andrew Gonzalez’s recent schedule includes live stream recitals, recordings, and masterclasses. Engagements include livestream solo recitals with Baroquelyn and the Perlman Music Program, recorded performances featured on the Violin Channel, and masterclasses with the New England Conservatory prep program.
Also passionate about historical performance, Andrew Gonzalez frequently performs baroque viola and the violoncello da spalla. Andrew is one of the few people in the world who plays the Violoncello da Spalla, a five stringed mini cello that is played on the shoulder. In 2018, Andrew gave the New York City premiere of the entire sixth cello suite at Barge Music. Andrew is also a founding member of the New Amsterdam Consort, a New York based ensemble that centers around late renaissance and early baroque music.
A recent graduate of the Juilliard School, Andrew holds both a master’s and bachelor’s degree under the direction of renown violists and pedagogues Michael Tree, Heidi Castleman, Steve Tenenbom, and Hsin-Yun Huang. When not performing, he spends his time playing tennis, kayaking, hiking, and playing with his two rabbits. Andrew performs on a 1930 Frederick Haenel viola modeled after a Gaspar da Salo.
Violinist Anna Maberry holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance from Whitman College and a Performer Diploma in Early Music from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where she studied with esteemed baroque violinist, Stanley Ritchie. Anna performs across the country with period ensembles, such as Bach Akademie Charlotte, Alychymy Viols, Pacific MusicWorks, Bourbon Baroque, the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, the Princeton Festival Baroque Orchestra, Incantare, and Musikanten Montana.
Along with cellist SeungAh Hong, Anna formed Duo Gem, a duo dedicated to historically informed performances of cello and violin duets of the Baroque and Classical periods. Along with violinists Lydia Becker, Sarah Bleile, and Julia Connor, Anna is a founding member of the Berwick fiddle consort, which focuses on the shared traits and roots of historical performance practice and traditional fiddling. She is also a member of Las Aves, a project-based, research-oriented ensemble that produces historically informed programs of Renaissance and early Baroque chamber music.
Anna plays a violin made by her husband, Jackson Maberry, who studied violin making with Tom Sparks at Indiana University. In her spare time, she loves cooking, baking, spending time outdoors, and writing her own tunes.
Ingrid Matthews, Music Director Emeritus of Seattle Baroque Orchestra (1994-2013), won first prize in the Erwin Bodky International Competition for Early Music in 1989, and was a member of Toronto’s Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra before founding SBO with Byron Schenkman in 1994. She has performed around the world as a soloist, chamber musician and guest director with groups including the New York Collegium, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, the Bach Sinfonia (Washington DC), Ars Lyrica (Houston), and many others, and is currently a member of the esteemed Bay Area group Musica Pacifica. She has won high critical acclaim for her extensive discography; her recording of the Sonatas and Partitas of J.S. Bach is the top recommendation for this music by both American Record Guide and Third Ear’s Classical Music Listening Companion. Matthews has taught at Indiana University, the University of Toronto, Oberlin College, the University of Southern California/Los Angeles, and the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. She also plays jazz and swing styles and is active as a visual artist.
Joshua Romatowski, flutist, has been praised for his ability to “allow each note to sound with its own expressive qualities” (San Francisco Examiner). His playing has been described as “elegantly shaped” (San Francisco Examiner) and possessing “graceful intimacy” (San Francisco Classical Voice). Joshua was a winner of the Ladies Musical Club of Seattle Frances Walton Competition and a prize winner in the National Flute Association’s Baroque Artist Competition. Joshua has appeared with American Bach Soloists, Portland Baroque Orchestra, the Byron Schenkman and Friends concert series, Pacific Music Works, Victoria Baroque, Minnesota Bach Society, Musikanten Montana, and Early Music Underground.
As an educator Joshua has given classes on historically informed performance at Oakland University and Pacific Lutheran University, is a founder of the period woodwind quintet Canova Winds, and strives to pass on historically informed ideas to all of his flute students. Joshua currently works with a full studio of students in and around the Bellevue area, as well as weekly flute coachings within the Auburn School District.
Joshua currently holds the 3rd Flute/Piccolo chair with Symphony Tacoma and is on faculty at Music Works Northwest. Joshua’s primary teachers have been Timothy Day, Marianne Gedigian, Jeffery Zook, and Janet See.
Violist and violinist Laurel Wells has enjoyed an extensive, eclectic musical life, performing internationally and throughout the United States. For twenty years she was a member of the violin section of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, between seasons earning Master’s degrees in violin and viola at Indiana University. She was also the violist with a quartet in residence at the Banff Centre in Canada. During the off season of Lyric Opera, Laurel played seasons with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic in Norway, and in Chicago, performed regularly with the Chicago Symphony, and in various Baroque ensembles, including City Musick and Orpheus Band.
In 1995 Laurel settled in Seattle. She became principal violist of the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, is currently a violinist in the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra. On the Baroque scene, Laurel can be heard performing regularly with Byron Schenkman & Friends, Gallery Concerts, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, and Pacific MusicWorks. Laurel enjoys teaching violin and viola in her private studio and being on faculty at two adult amateur music camps: Gabriola in Tuscany, Italy, and Midsummer Music Retreat at Whitman College, Walla Walla.
Nathan Whittaker, violoncello, enjoys a unique and diverse career as a concert soloist, chamber musician, recitalist, teacher, and historical cello specialist with concert stops ranging from Seattle to New York to Dubai. He is the Artistic Director of Gallery Concerts (Seattle) and regularly plays with the Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Pacific Baroque Orchestra, Portland Baroque Orchestra, and has served on the faculty of Cornish College of the Arts. He can be heard on recordings by ATMA Musique and Harmonia and broadcasts by NPR, CBC, and KING FM. He completed a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Washington in 2012 and also holds degrees from Indiana University.
Pianist Joseph Williams has enjoyed performing at numerous venues from The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. to various schools throughout Amman, Jordan. In addition to chamber music fellowships from Colorado College Summer Music Festival and Garth Newel Music Center in Virginia, he has participated in masterclasses lead by Marilyn Horne, Jon Nakamatsu and Christian Tetzlaff among others.
Joseph began playing piano when he was 10. At the age of 17, he was awarded 1st place in Washington state for solo piano in the 2010 WIAA/WMEA State Solo and Ensemble Contest. He subsequently pursued a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music in Oberlin, Ohio. Upon graduation, he received the Piano Faculty Prize in Accompanying and was immediately hired on the faculty as an Instrumental Collaborative Pianist for the 2015-2016 academic year. He has since obtained a Master of Music in Piano Performance from Cleveland State University where he studied with Joela Jones (principal keyboardist of The Cleveland Orchestra) and Sheila Paige (founder of Keyboard Wellness Seminar).
Mr. Williams teaches piano at Annie Wright School in Tacoma and Federal Way School of Music. He welcomes motivated piano students of all ages and abilities. His primary goals are for students to increase self-efficacy and to develop their unique expressive voices. Committed to inclusion, he virtually mentors one dozen international high school students on Mentor Collective and works as a Behavior Technician for the Center for Autism and Related Disorders. In his spare time, he enjoys vegan cooking, hiking and painting.
Rachell Ellen Wong
A rising star on both the historical performance and modern violin stages, violinist Rachell Ellen Wong is a 2020 recipient of a prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. She has performed throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in the UK, Canada, Italy, Costa Rica, Panama, China, and New Zealand. A sought-after collaborator, her growing reputation as one of the top historical performers of her generation has resulted in appearances with such respected ensembles as the American Bach Soloists and The Academy of Ancient Music, and tours with Bach Collegium Japan, Les Arts Florissants, and others. Equally accomplished on the modern violin, Ms. Wong made her first public appearance with the Philharmonia Northwest at age 11 and has since performed as a soloist with such orchestras as Seattle Symphony, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Panamá, and Orquesta Sinfónica (Costa Rica).
Miss Wong served as a 2019-2020 Mercury Chamber Orchestra Juilliard Fellow, and as an American Fellow of The English Concert. Her numerous awards include the inaugural Lillian and Maurice Barbash J.S. Bach Competition Grand Prize, among others. She performs on a baroque violin from the school of Joachim Tielke, and on a modern violin by Carlo de March.