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.
With a sound described as “beautifully warm” (Herald Times) and “sweet and agile” (New York Times), period clarinetist and instrument builder Thomas Carroll performs extensively throughout North America and Europe on historical instruments. He holds degrees from Oberlin Conservatory, Indiana University, and The Royal Conservatoire of The Hague, where his major teacher on early clarinets and chalumeaux was Eric Hoeprich.
Internationally, Thomas has performed under such directors as Christophe Coin, Richard Egarr, Philippe Herreweghe, Jos van Immerseel, Allessandro Moccia, and David Stern; and has performed at numerous festivals as an orchestral and chamber musician including Oude Muziek Utrecht, Muziekzomer Gelderland, Young Euro Classic, Festival de Saintes, and Musica Antiqua Brugge in venues ranging from the Kozerthaus in Berlin to the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. 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 and Handel and Haydn Societies, Sonoma Bach, Musica Angelica, and Boston Baroque. He has given faculty chamber recitals and guest lectures and masterclasses on both coasts and at the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival. Thomas is currently on the faculty of the Brookline Music School and maintains a private studio.
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. His instruments and mouthpieces are played throughout North America, Europe, and Australia.
Charles A. Enlow
Charles Enlow has been richly praised throughout the United States and in Europe for his sensitive and virtuosic solo piano performances. In the Pacific Northwest, he has appeared frequently as a solo recitalist and with chamber music ensembles.
Dr. Enlow studied at the Juilliard School, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the University of Texas at Austin, where he received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree. He is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards from the University of Texas, Music Teachers National Association, and the Federated Music Clubs. He has taught at the University of Texas at Austin, Texas State University, and the Austrian-American Mozart Academy in Salzburg. He is a member of the music faculty at Shoreline Community College, where he has directed and produced Shoreline Community College’s Opera Workshop and musical theater productions for the past twelve years.
Charles Enlow’s solo and collaborative performance repertoire spans three centuries, from Bach, Scarlatti, and Mozart to Rachmaninov, Mompou, and contemporary works by American composers. Dr. Enlow has a special passion for piano music of Spain and France, with a particular interest in the solo piano music of Gabriel Fauré.
Principal violist of Boston Baroque since 2015, Jason 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.
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.
Susan Gulkis Assadi
Principal Violist of the Seattle Symphony since the 1992-1993 season, Susan Gulkis Assadi enjoys a varied career as an orchestral player, chamber musician, soloist and teacher. After playing in numerous chamber orchestras, including The Brandenburg Ensemble, Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia and the European-based New American Chamber Orchestra, she began her orchestral career as the Principal Violist of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra before coming to Seattle.
Hailed by the Seattle Post Intelligencer for her “uncommon warmth and beauty of timbre,” Gulkis Assadi has appeared often as soloist with the Seattle Symphony. She helped inaugurate Seattle’s Benaroya Hall with Yo-Yo Ma in the Orchestra’s performance of R. Strauss’ Don Quixote. David Stock’s Viola Concerto, written for Susan Gulkis Assadi and the Seattle Symphony, was released on Innova Records to critical acclaim. Ms. Gulkis Assadi’s solo performances include the west coast premiere of Paul Schoenfield’s Viola Concerto, Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto (for viola),
Dittersdorf’s Sinfonia Concertante for Viola and Double Bass, Berlioz’s Harold in Italy and Flos Campi by Vaughan Williams.
Susan Gulkis Assadi also performs regularly with the Seattle Opera, the Seattle-based Music of Remembrance, and The Governor’s Chamber Music Series. She has happily spent the last twenty four summers performing with the Grand Teton Music Festival. She has coached and given master classes at the University of Washington, the New World Symphony in Miami, Florida and the National Orchestral Institute in College Park, Maryland.
Michele Kennedy is a versatile specialist in early classical and new music. Praised by The Washington Post as “a fine young soprano with a lovely voice” possessing “a graceful tonal clarity that is a wonder to hear” (SF Chronicle), Michele’s recent venues include Carnegie Hall, Davies Symphony Hall, Getty Museum, Lincoln Center, Powell Symphony Hall, and Washington National Cathedral.
Michele’s been thrilled to sing the Bach Magnificat and St. John Passion, Charpentier In Nativitatem, Handel Messiah & Dixit Dominus, Mozart C Minor Mass, and Smith Moore’s Scenes from the Life of a Martyr in recent seasons. She’s presented The Monteverdi Vespers with Dark Horse Consort & Voices of Ascension, Bach Cantatas with American Classical Orchestra, and works of Caccini/Strozzi with The Folger Consort. Last season she debuted with Bach Society of Saint Louis (Poulenc Gloria), Trinity Wall Street (Messiah), and The SF Ballet (Mendelssohn’s Midsummer), and this season she’s debuted with Cleveland’s Les Délices and Washington DC’s Opera Lafayette in trailblazing digital forums.
Michele’s new music adventures include Aaron Siegel’s I Will Tell You The Truth About This at NYC’s Schomburg Center and songs by Florence Price in recital with Mimesis Ensemble at Carnegie Hall. After debuting Julia Wolfe’s Fire In My Mouth with The New York Philharmonic & The Crossing in 2019, Michele will tour with Lorelei Ensemble next year in the world premiere of Wolfe’s Her Story with the Nashville, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and National Symphony Orchestras.
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.
Winner of the 2019 Concerto Competition at Bard College Conservatory, mezzo-soprano Hailey McAvoy is a versatile performer of opera, song, and cabaret who uses her voice to connect with audiences and amplify voices of living and lesser-known composers.
Recently, McAvoy has also appeared in cabaret-style performances. In January 2020, she appeared in opera-rock drag show Blythely Ever After alongside Stephanie Blythe at the Appel Room at Lincoln Center; in Fall of 2018, she performed the title role of a cabaret operetta, The Polite Abductress, complete with dialogue in a cartoonish French accent and a man on a leash at the Rochester Fringe Festival.
As a performer, McAvoy is committed to amplifying the voices of lesser-known composers by lending support, onstage and off, to sharing their works. After appearing in The Polite Abductress in 2018, she copy-edited and engraved a new edition of the score for the opera’s west-coast premiere. Currently, she is working with Hub Miller’s estate to publish The Hub Miller Songbook and to oversee a recording of Miller’s complete songs. McAvoy has been awarded numerous grants and awards for her projects, including a Mentorship Grant from the Institute for Music Leadership at Eastman (2017), a year-long fellowship as a translation student and the German book award at the University of Rochester (2018), and the Cummins Prize in the Humanities (2018) at Eastman.
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.
Lutenist Kevin Payne is active as a recitalist, accompanist, and continuo player in the Seattle area. Recent ensemble work includes performances with Seattle Symphony, Boise Baroque, Tempesta di Mare, il Giardino d’Amore, New York City Opera, Sinfonieorchester Liechtenstein, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Spoleto Festival, and the Boston Early Music Festival, and he has worked with noted conductors including William Christie, Andrea Marcon, Richard Egarr, Monica Huggett, Jordi Savall, and Masaaki Suzuki. Performance venues include Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Benaroya Hall in Seattle, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the National Concert Hall in Taipei, Taiwan, and the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden, Germany. His playing has been broadcast on a number of national radio programs, including Sunday Baroque and Performance Today.
Elisabeth Reed teaches viola da gamba and Baroque cello at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she is also co-director of the Baroque Ensemble. Recent teaching highlights include master classes at the Juilliard School, the Shanghai Conservatory and Middle School, and the Royal Academy of Music. Her playing has been described as, “intense, graceful, suffused with heat and vigor” and “delicately nuanced and powerful” (Seattle Times). A soloist and chamber musician with Voices of Music, Archetti, and Wildcat Viols, she has also appeared with the Smithsonian Chamber Players, the Seattle, Portland, Pacific, and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestras, American Bach Soloists, Byron Schenkman and Friends, Gallery Concerts, and Pacific Musicworks. She has performed at the Boston Early Music Festival, the Berkeley Early Music Festival, the Ohai Festival, the Whidbey Island Music Festival, and the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival. She can be heard on the Virgin Classics, Focus, Plectra, and Magnatunes recording labels and has many HD videos on the Voices of Music Youtube channel. She also teaches viola da gamba and Baroque cello at the University of California at Berkeley. She is a Guild-certified practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method of Awareness Through Movement, with a focus on working with musicians and performers.
Praised for her “rococo gracefulness”, Lindsey Strand-Polyak is active throughout the West Coast as a baroque violinist and violist. Nationally, she performs with ensembles such as the American Bach Soloists, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Pacific MusicWorks and Bach Collegium San Diego, and Austin Baroque Orchestra; and has appeared at the Oregon Bach Festival, Twin Cities Early Music Festival, and the Fringe Series of both Boston and Berkeley Early Music Festivals. In her home base of Southern California, she can be heard with her own group, Ensemble Bizarria, as well as Musica Angelica, Con Gioia Early Music Ensemble, Tesserae, and Concordia Clarimontis. Dr. Strand-Polyak was the assistant director for the UCLA Early Music Ensemble from 2011-2015, and is artistic director of Los Angeles Baroque—Southern California’s first community Baroque orchestra. Lecture-recitals include McGill University, University of Texas at Austin, Northern State University of Louisiana, and national meetings of the American Musicological Society.
She has served on the faculty of the Colburn School and the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA, and was recently appointed adjunct professor of baroque violin and viola at Claremont Graduate University. She earned her PhD/MM in musicology and violin performance from UCLA, studying historical performance with Elisabeth LeGuin and modern violin with Guillaume Sutre and Movses Pogossian.
Mari Esabel Valverde
Award-winning composer and singer Mari Esabel Valverde (b. 1987) has been commissioned by the American Choral Directors Association, Texas Music Educators Association, Seattle Men’s and Women’s Choruses, and Boston Choral Ensemble among others and has appeared with Dallas Chamber Choir, Vox Humana, and EXIGENCE (Detroit). She was a featured composer at the 2016 Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses Festival, where her “Our Phoenix” was premièred by six collective ensembles from the United States and Canada. Her works are published by earthsongs and Walton Music and self-published.
Fluent in Spanish and French, she actively studies Brazilian Portuguese and Swedish. She has translated numerous vocal works and documents including a phonetic guide of Ravel’s opera L’Enfant et les Sortilèges. Based in North Texas, she taught voice at the high school level for over six years. Her former students have participated in All-State Choirs and State Solo Competition. She currently teaches singing and transgender voice training with TruVoice Lessons.
She holds degrees from St. Olaf College, the European American Musical Alliance in Paris, France, and San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, the American Composers Forum, and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers.
Paul "Che oke ten" Wagner
Native American Flute & Storyteller
Paul “Che oke ten” Wagner is an internationally performing presenter of traditional songs and stories of his Coast Salish tribal ancestors. Che oke ten is a member of the Wsaanich (Saanich) Tribe of southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. An award-winning Native American flutist, his songs have come to him with visions of healing and prayer for all relations (tree people, animal people and human people). In addition to his performing and recording work, he teaches workshops on drum making and flute playing. He also makes Coast Salish form wood carvings, and is a videographer and photographer of Nature’s phenomenal spiritual gifts.
Nature is where his art comes from – the deep silence and spirit that lives in the ancient waters and forests of the Salish Sea bioregion are a gift directly from Spirit to help us heal on this path we walk through life. Che oke ten’s art allows us to better understand and realize the ancient Coast Salish belief that we are a part of the Nature which Spirit placed on the lands and waters. We are helped to remember that we have come to this place, Mother Earth, to heal and to bring reciprocal relationships with all things around us.
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.
Bass-baritone Jonathan Woody is a sought-after performer of early and new music in New York and across North America. In increasing demand as a soloist, Jonathan has made appearances in recent seasons with historically-informed orchestras such as Boston Early Music Festival, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Bach Collegium San Diego, Portland Baroque Orchestra and New York Baroque Incorporated.
In the 2017/18 season, Jonathan appeared with Apollo’s Fire on a national tour of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo in the role of Caronte and participated in the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme in Aldeburgh, UK. Jonathan is also committed to ensemble singing at the highest level and is regularly featured as a member of the Grammy®-nominated Choir of Trinity Wall Street, where he has earned praise as “charismatic” and “riveting” from the New York Times for his solo work.
Jonathan’s musical pursuits extend beyond his voice, and in recent seasons he has been commissioned as a composer for groups including the Handel & Haydn Society and the Uncommon Music Festival. Jonathan enjoys a richly varied life in the arts based in Brooklyn, NY, and holds degrees from McGill University and the University of Maryland, College Park.