WIMF Festival Artists
Praised by critics for "a ripe, sensual lyric soprano" (Opera News) and a "captivating combination of skilled singing and magnetic acting" (Pioneer Press), soprano Tess Altiveros is in high demand on concert and operatic stages alike. 2016/2017 engagements include Clorinda in The Combat (Seattle Opera), Bach’s St. Matthew Passion semi-staged (Colorado Symphony), Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni (Skylark Opera Theatre), Musetta in La Bohème under the baton of Andrew Litton (Colorado Symphony), Vaughan Williams Dona Nobis Pacem (Seattle Pro Musica), the Midwest premiere and recording of Emerson Eads’s Mass for the Oppressed (Notre Dame University), and Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro (Angels & Demons Entertainment), a performance described as “transcendent” and “luminous” by the Twin Cities Arts Reader. Other recent credits include Pamina in Die Zauberflöte (Tacoma Opera), Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw (Eugene Opera), Donna Anna in Don Giovanni (Juneau Lyric Opera), Adele in Die Fledermaus (Opera Coeur d’Alene), Elle in La Voix Humaine (Vespertine Opera Theater), and the Queen in Rumplestiltskin (Opera Fairbanks). Upcoming engagements include Euridice in L’Orfeo under Grammy Award winning conductor Stephen Stubbs (Pacific MusicWorks), Violetta in La Traviata (City Opera Ballet), Messiah (Bremerton Symphony), and her ninth season singing for the Seattle Mariners.
Violist Vijay Chalasani is a Seattle-based performer, scholar, and teaching-artist whose work focuses on the performance practice of music of the last five centuries. Equally at home on both modern and historical violas, Chalasani was featured as a soloist in performances ranging from the Walton Viola Concerto, Mozart Sinfonia Concertante, and Hoffmeister Viola Concerto with modern orchestras, to Bach’s 6th Brandenburg concerto, the Telemann Viola Concerto, and the Telemann Concerto for Two Violettas with period orchestras. An avid advocate for contemporary music, Chalasani was the soloist in the US premiere of Vinko Globokar’s chamber-theater piece “Blinde Zeit” with members of the Callithumpian Consort, supervised by the composer. He has also performed with violist-composer Garth Knox, pianist-conductor Stephen Drury, and the Inverted Space Ensemble, coached with composer Brian Ferneyhough (on his “Adagissimo” for string quartet), and has collaborated with the Guerrilla Composers Guild and others to actively commission new works for the viola. Chalasani performs frequently on period instruments with ensembles such as the American Bach Soloists, Pacific MusicWorks, Early Music Vancouver, and the Albany Consort, as well as in chamber music performances of works from the classical and romantic eras on historical instruments. Chalasani currently studies in the Doctor of Musical Arts program at the University of Washington, where he studies viola with Melia Watras; as a Teaching Assistant at the UW, he works with the Modern Music Ensemble and Baroque Ensemble, and teaches Chamber Music Lab and String Techniques. Chalasani’s graduate studies were at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Don Ehrlich (modern viola), Elizabeth Blumenstock (baroque viola), and the late Mark Sokol (chamber music). His undergraduate studies were at CSU Sacramento, where he studied viola with Anna Kruger, chamber music with Ian Swensen and Andrew Luchansky, and pedagogy with Judy Bossuat. In addition to the concert stage, Chalasani often performs in less traditional venues such as bars, cafes, and house concerts, and has appeared in cross-genre performances with a wide range of artists including rock band Third Eye Blind, hip-hop orchestra Jazz Mafia, and indie-folk group Americana Orchestra.
Tekla Cunningham, baroque violin, viola and viola d'amore, leads an active and varied musical life. At home in Seattle, she is Orchestra Director and concertmaster of Pacific MusicWorks, and is an artist-in-residence at the University of Washington. She founded and directs the Whidbey Island Music Festival, now entering its twelfth season, producing and presenting vibrant period-instrument performances of repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to Stephen Foster, and plays regularly as concertmaster and principal player with the American Bach Soloists in California. Her concert performances have earned glowing praise from reviewers and have been described as "ravishingly beautiful" and "stellar". She has appeared as concertmaster/leader or soloist with the American Bach Soloists, Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Musica Angelica (Los Angeles) and Pacific Baroque Orchestra and has played with Apollo’s Fire, Los Angeles Opera, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and at the Berkeley, Carmel Bach, San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival, Indianapolis, Oregon Bach, Vancouver Bach, Savannah, Bloomington Festivals and Valley of the Moon festivals. Tekla received her musical training at Johns Hopkins University and Peabody Conservatory (where she studied History and German Literature in addition to violin), Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna, Austria, and at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Tekla plays on a violin made by Sanctus Seraphin in Venice, 1746.
Seattle based harpist Maxine Eilander plays on a range of specialized early harps: the Italian triple strung harp, the Spanish cross-strung harp, the German ‘Davidsharfe’, the Welsh triple harp for which Handel wrote his harp concerto, and the classical single action pedal harp. Maxine was born in The Netherlands and grew up in South Africa, where she earned her Bachelor of Music on the classical harp. Her special interest in early music led her to further study at the Hochschule für Kunste in Bremen, Germany, where she completed her post-graduate diploma in early harps and continuo practice. Since then she has appeared as a soloist with many leading ensembles including Tragicomedia and Tafelmusik. Maxine has performed at numerous opera houses and festivals including Boston Early Music Festival, Covent Garden Festival, Staatstheater Stuttgart and Netherlands Opera, playing continuo in productions of various baroque operas and chamber music. In 2012 Maxine was invited to perform Handel’s Harp Concerto at the World Harp Congress in Vancouver, B.C.. From 2005 to 2012, Maxine managed the Accademia d’Amore baroque opera workshops in Seattle. As an administrator, Maxine was the Director of Education for Pacific MusicWorks since 2007, and in 2013 became PMW’s Managing Director. There is an increasing list of recordings featuring Maxine as a soloist. She has recorded Handel’s Harp, released on ATMA in 2009, with all of Handel’s obligato music written for the harp, including his famous harp concerto, which she has also recorded with Tafelmusik (A Baroque Feast, Analekta, 2002). The 2008 release of William Lawes’ Harp Consorts on ATMA garnered much favorable press, including five stars from Goldberg Magazine. Other recordings include: Sonata al Pizzico, a recording of Italian music for harp and baroque guitar with duo partner Stephen Stubbs (ATMA 2004), and Teatro Lirico released on the ECM label in 2006, Ay que si, Spanish 17th century music with Les Voix Humaines (ATMA, 2002), Scarlatti’s oratorio Hagar and Ishmael, with Seattle Baroque (Centaur, 2003), and Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Vergine, with Tragicomedia (ATMA, 2002), and 2005 Grammy nominated Conradi’s Ariadne for the Boston Early Music Festival (CPO, 2005).
Adam LaMotte is well known to audiences throughout the country as a leader of both period and modern ensembles. He has appeared as soloist, concertmaster, and conductor of numerous orchestras throughout the country, including the Northwest Sinfonietta in Seattle, String Orchestra of the Rockies, Astoria Festival Orchestra, Portland Baroque Orchestra, the Maggini String Orchestra, Ars Lyrica, Mercury in Houston, and most recently, The Orchestra, in his home town of Portland, Oregon. As part of the baroque ensemble El Mundo Adam was nominated for a 2012 Grammy Award. Mr. LaMotte has been hailed by critics as an "especially compelling" musician with "exceptional talent," whose performances are "energetic and exquisite." As Artistic Director of the Montana Baroque Festival, he brings world-class period instrument performances to the rural Montana community. He has co-founded two critically-acclaimed ensembles, in Portland and in Houston, and continues to produce many chamber music and chamber orchestra performances.
Hailed by The Miami Herald for his “superb continuo… brilliantly improvised and ornamented,” Henry Lebedinsky performs on historical keyboards across the United States and the United Kingdom, both as a soloist and as a member of Agave Baroque, Pacific MusicWorks, The Vivaldi Project, and The Live Oak Baroque Orchestra. He has also played with The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, The Charlotte Symphony, Seraphic Fire, and Boston Revels, among others. He has taught master classes and workshops on historical repertoire and performance practice at the University of Edinburgh and at colleges and universities across the USA. An avid composer of sacred music for choir and organ, his works are published by Paraclete Press, Carus-Verlag Stuttgart, and CanticaNOVA. He is the founder and director of the Pacific MusicWorks Underground Concerts (formerly Early Music Underground), which brings old music to new audiences in brewpubs, wineries, and fun unconventional venues across the greater Seattle metropolitan area. Mr. Lebedinsky holds degrees from Bowdoin College and the Longy School of Music, where he studied with Peter Sykes. He currently serves as Organist and Choirmaster at Seattle’s historic Christ Episcopal Church.
A native of San Francisco, Peter Maund studied percussion at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and music, folklore, and ethnomusicology at the University of California, Berkeley. A founding member of Ensemble Alcatraz and Alasdair Fraser’s Skyedance, he has performed with early and contemporary music ensembles including American Bach Soloists, Anonymous 4, Chanticleer, The Harp Consort, Hesperion XX, Kitka, Musica Pacifica, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, the Texas Early Music Project, and Voices of Music, among others. He is the author of “Percussion” in A Performers Guide to Medieval Music, Indiana University Press, 2000. He has served on the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley as well as in workshops sponsored by Amherst Early Music, the San Francisco Early Music Society, the Texas Toot, the American Recorder Society and the American Orff-Schulwerk Association. Described by the Glasgow Herald as “the most considerate and imaginative of percussionists” he can be heard on over 60 recordings.
Corentin Pokorny is a baroque and modern violinist based in Seattle, Washington. He has been a member of many chamber ensembles, most recently, the Daana String Quartet, the SCREE! Ensemble, and the Rocoempo Trio with his two brothers. He has also played with Pacific MusicWorks among other orchestras. He was born and raised in France, where he studied violin, piano, and voice from a very young age. He studied in the Boulogne Conservatory of Music, followed by several years in the Aulnay-Sous-Bois Conservatory of Music, under the teaching of violinist José Alvarez, former principal second of the Paris Opera, and assistant violin teacher at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris. After moving to the United States in 2008, Corentin eagerly joined the musical scene of the Seattle area, performing three years in the Seattle Youth Symphony, as well as taking part in the chamber music program of the Seattle Conservatory of Music. He also performed many times, as soloist and as part of ensembles, in concert series at the Daniels Recital Hall in downtown Seattle. He is actively playing with Pacific Musicworks, including their Underground concerts, which bring early music concerts to bars and wine tastings. Corentin received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Washington in 2016, where he studied with Ron Patterson, violin professor at the University. During his years at the University, Corentin won the University of Washington's concerto competition, and was the concertmaster of the University Symphony Orchestra for the 2014-15 year. He also was a member of the UW Scholarship string quartet, the Daana String Quartet, for the 2015-16 year .
Romaric Pokorny, viola, is an avid chamber music player. Based out of Seattle, he has been a member in several chamber music ensembles in the Puget Sound area, most notably the Oceana String Quartet, SCREE! String Quintet, and especially the Rocoempo Trio, alongside his brothers. He also enjoys performing with Seattle’s Pacific MusicWorks, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, SeattleMusic, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and various other ensembles. A native of France, he received his early musical training there, studying violin, piano, composition and music theory at the Conservatoire a Rayonnement Regional de Boulogne-Billancourt and later at the Conservatoire d'Aulnay-sous-Bois under violinist Jose Alvarez, and earning a Diplome Superieur de Solfege. After moving to the United States, he finished his studies with a degree in Viola Performance from the University of Washington. His interests also grew to include some experience in pipe organ building and restoration, working for an organ supply and restoration company for several years, and is currently working with The Harpsichord Shop. His other current music interests include genre-crossing musical exploration (with the Rocoempo Trio) and the promotion of classical and early music performances to include a broader audience, with Pacific MusicWorks Underground.
Danielle Sampson is an avid performer of baroque, classical, and contemporary music. Highlights of her last season included a performance of Spanish, Cuban, and Guatemalan music with Pacific MusicWorks, Bach’s Magnificat and Wachet Auf with Early Music Vancouver, and her debut with SF Soundbox performing in Ashley Fure’s Shiver Lung. In 2015 Danielle performed with the Boston Early Music Festival in Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria (Melanto) and L’incoronazione di Poppea (La Virtù, Pallade), and with Early Music Vancouver in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (the Sorceress) and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater. She performed as Ruggiero in Handel’s Alcina with Black Box Baroque last April, and appeared with Liaison, Nash Baroque Ensemble, and Jarring Sounds for the 2016 Berkeley Early Music Festival.
Danielle has appeared with Amaranth String Quartet, Seattle Opera, Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado, American Bach Soloists, and California Bach Society, among others. She is a founding member of the guitar/voice duo Jarring Sounds (with Adam Cockerham), and performs with Cappella SF, the new bay area octet Gaude, and Seattle’s Byrd Ensemble. She earned her BM at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, and her MM at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Danielle currently resides in Seattle.
Stephen Stubbs, who won the GRAMMY Award as conductor for Best Opera Recording 2015, spent a 30-year career in Europe. He returned to his native Seattle in 2006 as one of the world’s most respected lutenists, conductors, and baroque opera specialists and in 2014 was awarded the Mayor’s Arts Award for ‘Raising the Bar’ in Seattle. Before his return, he was based in Bremen, Germany, where he was Professor at the Hochschule für Künste. In 2007 Stephen established his new production company, Pacific MusicWorks, based in Seattle, reflecting his lifelong interest in both early music and contemporary performance. The company’s inaugural presentation was a production of South African artist William Kentridge’s acclaimed multimedia staging of Claudio Monteverdi’s opera The Return of Ulysses in a co-production with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. PMW’s performances of the Monteverdi Vespers were described in the press as “utterly thrilling” and “of a quality you are unlikely to encounter anywhere else in the world”. Stephen is also the Boston Early Music Festival’s permanent artistic co-director along with his long time colleague Paul O’Dette. Stephen and Paul are also the musical directors of all BEMF operas, recordings of which were nominated for three GRAMMY awards, and won the GRAMMY for Best Opera Recording 2015. In addition to his ongoing commitments to PMW and BEMF, other recent appearances have included Handels’ Giulio Cesare and Gluck’s Orfeo in Bilbao, Mozart’s Magic Flute and Cosi fan Tutte for the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival and Handel’s Agrippina for Opera Omaha. In recent years he has conducted Handel’s Messiah with the Seattle, Edmonton, and Birmingham Symphony orchestras. Stephen will make his debut Messiah performance with Houston Symphony this December. His extensive discography as conductor and solo lutenist include well over 100 CDs, many of which have received international acclaim and awards.
Nathan Whittaker, violoncello, enjoys a unique and diverse career as a concert soloist, chamber musician, recitalist, teacher, and historical cello specialist. He plays regularly with the Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Pacific Baroque Orchestra, Portland Baroque Orchestra, and is a founding member of the Op. 20 String Quartet. Recent concert appearances have included the Indianapolis Early Music Festival, Vancouver Early Music Festival, and Pacific Baroque Festival (Victoria, B.C.), as well as other concert stops ranging from Seattle to New York to Dubai. He also composed and recorded an original score for the Emmy nominated documentary "When Seattle Invented the Future". He can be heard on recordings by ATMA Musique and Harmonia and broadcasts by NPR, CBC, and KING FM. An active pedagogue, he maintains a dynamic private studio and is faculty at the Cornish College of the Arts and the founder and director of the Seattle Chamber Music Coaching Sessions (SCMCS). Along with his busy performance and teaching schedule, he completed a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Washington in 2012. Dr. Whittaker also holds degrees from Indiana University.