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.
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.
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.
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.
Praised for her “eloquent artistry and rich, vibrant sound” (Gainesville Times), Canadian cellist and gambist Caroline Nicolas enjoys an active career as a soloist, chamber and ensemble musician, teacher and lecturer. She specializes in performing music from the Renaissance to the 19th century, and has appeared around North America, Europe and Asia with such eminent musicians as Monica Huggett, Andrea Marcon, Amandine Beyer, Kristian Bezuidenhout, Jordi Savall, Masaaki Suzuki, William Christie, Nicholas McGegan, and Rachel Podger.
Awards include having been selected as a fellow of The English Concert in America, an award given to young musicians “who appear likely to make significant contributions to the field of early music.” As the winner of The Juilliard School’s Historical Performance concerto competition, she made her solo debut in Alice Tully Hall, New York City. Ensembles she has worked with include Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Mercury Baroque Orchestra, Ars Lyrica, Juilliard Baroque, Kammerorchester Basel and Sinfonieorchester Liechtenstein.
Caroline grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and was first introduced to the cello by her mother, an elementary school music teacher. After falling in love with the world of historical instruments, she studied with Phoebe Carrai at The Juilliard School and Christophe Coin and Paolo Pandolfo at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. She recently moved to Seattle, and will be making appearances with Pacific MusicWorks, Victoria Baroque and Byron Schenkman & Friends. She looks forward to exploring the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
William Chapman Nyaho
Dr. William Chapman Nyaho grew up in Ghana, West Africa where he attended Achimota School. He later earned his degrees from St. Peter’s College, Oxford University, the Eastman School of Music and the University of Texas at Austin. He also studied at the Conservatoire de Musique de Genève, Switzerland. He currently serves on the piano faculty at Pacific Lutheran University as well as on the summer faculty of Interlochen Center for the Arts. He also has his private piano studio in Seattle, Washington and teaches students of all levels and ages. His students have been prizewinners at competitions and have been well placed in universities and colleges.
Chapman Nyaho is an active solo recitalist and chamber musician giving recitals and concerts in Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean and in cities across the United States where he advocates music by composers of African descent. He also regularly performs with Susanna Garcia as the Nyaho/Garcia Duo where they promote new works. They have recorded the complete two piano music of Aaron Copland.
As an advocate for music of Africa and its diaspora, Chapman Nyaho’s publications include a five-volume anthology Piano Music of Africa and the African Diaspora published by Oxford University Press. His recordings include Aaron Copland: Music for Two Pianos, Senku:Piano Music by Composers of African Descent, Asa:Piano Music by Composers of African Descent and Kete:Piano Music of Africa and the African Diaspora.
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.
Joe Williams is a celebrator, artistic director, producer, teacher, advocate, pianist and coach. With the support of Lakewold Gardens, Williams founded Music from Home in 2019. The mission of this concert series is to celebrate the live musical expression of womxn and people of color. As artistic director, he is intent on supporting the work of numerous living composers, under-resourced performing artists, and arts institutions authentically committed to anti-racism, equity and belonging. Last summer, Music from Home proudly sponsored mezzo-soprano J’nai Bridges’ appearance at a fundraising event for Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center. T.U.P.A.C.’s goal is to provide our most deserving racially and socioeconomically diverse youth with world class opportunities to achieve Artistic Excellence in the performing arts. He recently provided musical performances for a fundraising event on behalf of the International Florence Price Festival.
In 2018 he founded Tukwila Kids Make Music, a free after-school music instruction program situated in the most diverse zip code in the country. In addition to being a coach and pianist for Portland Opera’s Resident Artist Program, he also assists with curation and teaches a course focusing entirely on operas and art songs written by Black composers. In 2017, he was invited to perform at Gateways Music Festival in Rochester, NY. This beautiful organization connects and supports professional classical musicians of African descent and enlightens and inspires communities through the power of performance. He is a member of the International Society for Black Musicians.
In 2020, Williams was honored to produce a docu-concert featuring pianist and scholar Dr. William Chapman Nyaho. This film explores Nyaho’s most recent album “Kete” as well as his monumental 5 volume anthology “Piano Music from Africa and the African Diaspora.” Featured contributors include Music Teachers National Association President Martha Hilley and distinguished scholar Dr. Kofi Agawu, among others. He then served as creative director for “A Long Way from Home,” a docu-concert examining the subject of African-American spirituals in an art song context. He appears in “Still Dreaming: Frances Walker at 93,” a documentary which chronicles the life of his beloved late mentor, legendary pianist Frances Walker-Slocum. His most recent film project synthesizes poetry, modern dance, guided meditation, somatics and solo piano pieces by 16 living composers. He is a juror for the 2021 Seattle Black Film Festival.
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.