The vocal ensemble Blue Heron has been acclaimed by The Boston Globe as “one of the Boston music community’s indispensables” and hailed by Alex Ross in The New Yorker for the “expressive intensity” of its interpretations. Combining a commitment to vivid live performance with the study of original source materials and historical performance practice, Blue Heron ranges over a wide and fascinating repertoire, including 15th-century English and Franco-Flemish polyphony, Spanish music between 1500 and 1600, and neglected early 16th-century English music, especially the rich and unique repertory of the Peterhouse partbooks, copied c. 1540 for Canterbury Cathedral. Blue Heron’s first CD, featuring music by Guillaume Du Fay, was released in 2007. In 2010 the ensemble inaugurated a 5-CD series of Music from the Peterhouse Partbooks; three discs have been released so far, of music by Hugh Aston, Robert Jones, Nicholas Ludford, John Mason, and Richard Pygott, including many world premiere recordings; volume four will recorded this fall for release in 2014. All of Blue Heron’s recordings have received international critical acclaim and the first Peterhouse CD made the Billboard charts.
Blue Heron presents a concert series in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The ensemble has appeared at the Boston Early Music Festival; in New York City at The Cloisters (Metropolitan Museum of Art), the 92nd Street Y, and Music Before 1800; at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., at Festival Mozaic in San Luis Obispo, California, and at the Berkeley Early Music Festival. In 2012-13 Blue Heron took up a new position as ensemble in residence at the new Center for Early Music Studies at Boston University and performed for the visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Highlights of the 2013-14 season are a return to The Cloisters and debut appearances at the Library of Congress, at Yale University, and in Seattle, Kansas City, and Cleveland.
Mustering up “rock solid technique” and “the kind of vocal velvet you don’t often hear in contemporary music” (Boston Phoenix), soprano Jennifer Ashe has been praised for performances that are “pure bravura…riveting the audience with a radiant and opulent voice” (The Boston Globe). A strong advocate of new works, she frequently performs on series such as Harvard Group for New Music, New Music Brandeis, New Gallery Concert Series, and the Fromm Festival at Harvard, and is a senior member of the Callithumpian Consort and the soprano for the Boston Microtonal Society’s chamber ensemble NotaRiotous. She created the role of Sarah Palin in Guerilla Opera’s premiere of Say It Ain’t So, Joe by Curtis Hughes and was a semi-finalist at the 2007 Gaudeamus Interpreters Competition. Recent projects include Lukas Foss’s Time Cycle with Boston Musica Viva, and this fall she will sing Phillipe Leroux’s Voi(Rex) with Sound Icon. She also sings with Boston Baroque and the Handel & Haydn Society. Ashe holds a DMA in Vocal Performance and an MM in Vocal Pedagogy from New England Conservatory, and a BM from the Hartt School of Music. Formerly on the faculties of the College of the Holy Cross and Eastern Connecticut State University, she currently teaches for the Community Music Center of Boston, Music and Movement of Newton, and Music Together Arlington.
Michael Barrett has collaborated with the Boston Camerata, Huelgas Ensemble, Blue Heron, the Netherlands Bach Society, L’Académie, Seven Times Salt, and Exsultemus, and has performed in several recent operas produced by the Boston Early Music Festival. He can be heard on harmonia mundi and Blue Heron record labels. Mr. Barrett directs the Renaissance choir Convivium Musicum and the professional vocal ensemble Sprezzatura, and he serves on the advisory board of L’Académie, a professional ensemble for Baroque music. Mr. Barrett has worked as a conductor and music theory teacher at Harvard University, is a faculty member of IMC, a New York-based company for music curriculum and instruction, and has served as a workshop leader for professional development courses. He also maintains a studio for private instruction in voice, piano, and music theory. Mr. Barrett earned an AB in music from Harvard University, an MM in choir conducting from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and First Phase Diploma in Baroque and Classical singing from the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. In the fall of 2010 he began doctoral studies in choral conducting at Boston University.
Pamela Dellal, mezzo-soprano, is an acclaimed soloist and recitalist whose singing has been praised for her “exquisite vocal color,” “musical sensitivity,” and “eloquent phrasing.” She has been featured in leading roles in operas of Purcell, Mozart, Britten, and others. With Sequentia, Ms. Dellal has recorded the music of Hildegard von Bingen and toured the US, Europe, and Australia. Passionate about chamber music, early music, and contemporary music, she performs frequently with Dinosaur Annex, Boston Musica Viva, Ensemble Chaconne, Blue Heron, and the Musicians of the Old Post Road. She has been a regular soloist in the Emmanuel Music Bach Cantata series for twenty-five years and has performed almost all 200 of Bach’s extant sacred cantatas. Recent appearances include the premiere of a new John Harbison work, The Seven Ages, at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City, followed by performances in San Francisco, Boston and London.
Bass-baritone Paul Guttry has performed throughout the USA and internationally with Sequentia, Chanticleer, the Boston Camerata, and New York’s Ensemble for Early Music. A founding member of Blue Heron, he has also appeared in and around Boston as soloist with Emmanuel Music, the Handel & Haydn Society, the Boston Early Music Festival, the Tanglewood Music Center, Cantata Singers, Boston Cecilia, Prism Opera, Boston Revels, Collage, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and Intermezzo. Paul can be heard on all Blue Heron's recordings, on discs of medieval music by Sequentia, Kurt Weill’s Johnny Johnson and French airs de cour with the Boston Camerata, and on Emmanuel Music’s Bach CDs.
Steven Hrycelak, bass, is in wide demand as an operatic, concert, and ensemble performer. He has performed with the New York Virtuoso Singers, Toby Twining Music, ekmeles, Early Music New York, Vox, TENET, Meridionalis, Seraphic Fire, and the vocal jazz quintet West Side 5. He has also been a frequent soloist at Trinity Church Wall Street, as well as with NYS Baroque, Pegasus, Musica Sacra, 4x4, the Waverly Consort, the American Symphony Orchestra, Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, Union Avenue Opera, and the Collegiate Chorale. His performance in the role of Monteverdi’s Seneca with Opera Omnia was hailed by The New York Times as having “a graceful bearing and depth.” He has traveled the US, Canada, and Europe singing in Frank London’s Klezmer musical A Night in the Old Marketplace. Mr. Hrycelak has degrees from Indiana University and Yale University, where he sang with the world-renowned Yale Whiffenpoofs. He is also a coach and accompanimental pianist.
Praised by The New York Times for his “appealingly textured sound,” baritone David McFerrin is achieving critical acclaim in a wide variety of repertoire. Featured for a second season as an Emerging Artist with Boston Lyric Opera, this year he appears as Captain MacFarlane in Jack Beeson’s Lizzie Borden. Other upcoming roles include Noah in Britten’s Noye’s Fludde with Boston’s Trinity Church, and Will Hutchinson in the premiere of Dan Shore’s Anne Hutchinson for Intermezzo Opera. Past opera credits include Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Boston Midsummer Opera, and the Rossini Festival in Germany, in roles such as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Sam in Trouble in Tahiti andTaddeo in L’Italiana in Algeri. Concert engagements this season include his soloist debut with the Handel & Haydn Society in Bach’s B Minor Mass, an all-Purcell program at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, and performances around the country with Blue Heron. Past concert highlights include a Carnegie Hall debut with Gustavo Dudamel and the Israel Philharmonic, a performance of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 at St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, and appearances with the Boston Pops. Mr. McFerrin has also performed at the Blossom, Caramoor and Ravinia Festivals, and completed three summer residencies at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont.
Heralded by critics as “stylistically impeccable,” tenor Owen McIntosh “sings with vocal energy and rhythmic bite” and his “strong yet sweet tenor voice” produces the “clearest lines and most nuanced performances.” Recent performances include the title role in Helios Early Opera’s production of David et Jonathas by Charpentier, Bach’s B Minor Mass with Tucson Chamber Artists, the Evangelist in Telemann’s St. Luke and St. John Passions, Coprimario soloist in Opera Boston’s production of The Nose, and a Jordan Hall performance of Benjamin Britten’s Serenade for Tenor and Horn. Mr. McIntosh is also a member of various ensembles, including Blue Heron, Exsultemus, Emmanuel Music, Boston Baroque, the Handel & Haydn Society, Harvard Baroque, Tucson Chamber Artists, and Seraphic Fire.
Described by critics as “a gifted young tenor with wonderful comedic talents,” an “alluring tenor voice,” and “bright, clear and fully-fledged tenor sonority,” Jason McStoots has performed around the world and the US. His recent appearances include the role of Tabarco in the Boston Early Music Festival’s production of Handel’s Almira, his European debut in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and a Japanese tour of the St. Matthew Passion, both under the direction of Joshua Rifkin, Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers in New York City and Cambridge with the Green Mountain Project, and in Seattle and Portland under Stephen Stubbs, and Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio. He has also performed with Boston Lyric Opera, Pacific MusicWorks, Boston Camerata, New Haven Symphony, Tragicomedia, and the Tanglewood Music Center. He joined Blue Heron in 2005 and can be heard on all of the ensemble’s CDs, as well as on the Grammy-nominated recording of Lully's Pysché and on discs of Charpentier, Blow, and Handel with the Boston Early Music Festival, on the CPO label.
Scott Metcalfe has gained wide recognition as one of North America’s leading specialists in music from the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries and beyond. Musical and artistic director of Blue Heron, he is also music director of New York City’s Green Mountain Project (Jolle Greenleaf, artistic director), whose performances of Claudio Monteverdi’s Vespersof 1610 and a “1640 Vespers” of Metcalfe’s own devising with music by Monteverdi and others, have been hailed by The New York Times as “quite simply terrific” and by The Boston Globe as “stupendous.” Metcalfe has been a guest director of TENET (New York), Emmanuel Music (Boston), the Tudor Choir and Seattle Baroque, Pacific Baroque Orchestra (Vancouver, BC), Quire Cleveland, and the Dryden Ensemble (Princeton, NJ), and he conducted Early Music America’s Young Performers Festival Ensemble in its inaugural performance at the 2011 Boston Early Music Festival. In December 2013 he will make a debut directing Boston’s Handel & Haydn Society. Metcalfe also enjoys a career as a baroque violinist, playing with with Les Délices (dir. Debra Nagy), L’Harmonie des Saisons (dir. Eric Milnes), and other ensembles in Boston, Montreal, and elsewhere. He teaches vocal ensemble repertoire and performance practice at Boston University and is co-director (with Victor Coelho) of BU’s Center for Early Music Studies. In his spare time he is at work on a new edition of the songs of Gilles Binchois (c. 1400-1460). Metcalfe received a bachelor’s degree in 1985 from Brown University, where he majored in biology (perhaps uniquely in the early music world, he was lead author of an article published in the Annals of Botany), and in 2005 he completed a master’s degree in historical performance practice at Harvard.
Countertenor Martin Near began his professional singing life at age ten in the choir of men and boys at Saint Thomas Fifth Avenue in New York City, advancing to Head Chorister. He now enjoys a varied career, exploring his twin passions for early music and new music. This past April Mr. Near sang in the Evangelist quartet of Arvo Pärt’s Passio with Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and together with soprano Margot Rood was noted for producing “an ear-boggling array of close-harmony sonorities...seemingly generating overtones and wave-interference patterns that not even dogs could hear.” In November 2011 he was countertenor soloist in the premiere performance of Dominick DiOrio’s Stabat mater with Juventas New Music Ensemble. In March 2011 Mr. Near took the role of Hamor in Handel’s Jephtha with Boston Cecilia, and was noted for his “fine work” in Buxtehude’s Heut triumphieret Gottes Sohn with Boston Baroque. He also relishes ensemble work and sings regularly with Emmanuel Music, Boston Baroque, and the Handel & Haydn Society. Mr. Near served as a producer for Cut Circle’s CD, “De Orto and Josquin: Music in the Sistine Chapel around 1490,” and as Music Director of Exsultemus from 2009 to 2012.
Tenor Mark Sprinkle’s singing has been described as “expressive,” “very rewarding,” “outstanding,” “vivid,” and “supremely stylish.” He has collaborated with the Boston Early Music Festival, the Boston Camerata, the Mark Morris Dance Group, Emmanuel Music, Boston Baroque, the Handel & Haydn Society, and many others, performed at festivals in Bergen (Norway), Vancouver, Edinburgh, and Aldeburgh (UK), and worked as a soloist and ensemble singer with Seiji Ozawa, Christopher Hogwood, William Christie, Roger Norrington, John Nelson, Andrew Parrott, Grant Llewellyn, and Craig Smith. He has appeared as a soloist with Concerto Palatino, with the Handel & Haydn Society in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers, and in concerts of Handel’s Chandos Anthems with Christopher Hogwood in Jordan Hall. Mr. Sprinkle has sung the Evangelist in Bach Passions with the Handel & Haydn Society, the Boulder Bach Festival, the Oriana Singers of Vermont, Seraphim Singers, Boston’s Chorus Pro Musica, and the Andover Choral Society, among others. This season he will appear in concerts with Exsultemus and as the tenor soloist in Bach’s Cantata 106 and in Handel’s Chandos Anthem O Come let us sing unto the Lord with Boston Baroque in Jordan Hall. Mr. Sprinkle was a member of the Cambridge Bach Ensemble and a fellow of the Britten-Pears School and has recorded for Dorian, Koch, Harmonia Mundi, Decca, Arabesque, and Telarc.
Soprano Julia Steinbok’s versatility and unique musical presence have made her increasingly sought after on the concert, recital, and operatic stage, and her recent performances of Shostakovitch’s Seven Romances of Alexandr Blok were described as “absolutely stunning.” Her operatic roles have included Diane in Charpentier’s Actéon, Rowan in Britten’s Let’s Make an Opera, Virtù and Proserpina in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea and L’Orfeo, the title role in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, both Dido and the Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with American Opera Theater, and the title role in excerpts from Steven Jobes’ new opera The Fairy Melusine. Ms. Steinbok has paid particular attention to women composers past and present and has given lecture-recitals for the Emily Dickinson International Society and concert programs of works by Barbara Strozzi, Francesca Caccini, and others. She has performed with the Folger Consort, Arcadia Players, Baltimore Concert Artists, and as part of the Boston Early Music Fringe and Society for Historically Informed Performance (SoHIP) series. Recent projects included performances with Blue Heron, Exsultemus and Newton Baroque, the International Rachmaninoff Russian Music Festival, La Donna Musicale, Cappella Clausura, Saltarello, and Stranieri Qui, as well as vocal recitals throughout New England. Born in Moscow, Ms. Steinbok pursued graduate studies at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and now makes her home in Boston. She is the soprano soloist with the Second Church in Newton.
Praised for his "elegant style" (Boston Globe), Sumner Thompson is one of today's most sought-after tenors. His appearances on the operatic stage include roles in the Boston Early Music Festival's productions of Conradi's Ariadne (2003) and Lully's Psyché (2007) and several European tours with Contemporary Opera Denmark as Orfeo in Monteverdi's L'Orfeo. He has performed across North America as a soloist with Concerto Palatino, Tafelmusik, Apollo's Fire, Les Boréades de Montréal, Les Voix Baroques, Pacific Baroque Orchestra, the King's Noyse, Mercury Baroque, and the symphony orchestras of Charlotte, Memphis, and Phoenix. Recent highlights include Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 and the new Vespers of 1640 with the Green Mountain Project, Buxtehude's Membra Jesu Nostri with Les Voix Baroques and Houston's Mercury Baroque, Mozart's Requiem at St. Thomas Church in New York City, a tour of Japan with Joshua Rifkin and the Cambridge Concentus, a return to the Carmel Bach Festival, and Britten's War Requiem with the New England Philharmonic and several guest choruses.
Praised by The Boston Globe for her “crystalline tone and graceful musicality,” soprano Sonja DuToit Tengblad is a versatile performer with credits spanning the Renaissance era through the composers of our time. Recent highlights include Cupid in Purcell’s King Arthur with the Handel & Haydn Society, Knussen’s Symphony No. 2 with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro as Susanna, Haydn’s Die Schöpfung as Eva, and appearances as the soprano soloist for Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem with the National Lutheran Choir, Bach’s B Minor Mass with Boston’s Back Bay Chorale, John Rutter’s Requiem at Carnegie Hall, and Poulenc’s Gloria at Lincoln Center. She recently performed in the Boston premiere of Kati Agocs’s Vessel with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and premiered the role of Maria in Diego Luzuriaga’s El Niño de los Andes with VocalEssence of Minnesota. This summer, she premiered This House of Peace by Ralph M. Johnson at the Oregon Bach Festival. Ms. Tengblad also performs with the Grammy-nominated ensemble Conspirare (Austin), the Yale Choral Artists, the Oregon Bach Festival, Vox Humana (Nashville), the Lorelei Ensemble, and the Handel & Haydn Society.
Soprano Shari Alise Wilson is among the new generation of singers specializing in early and modern music, demonstrating great versatility and stylistic sensitivity. Recent highlights include performances at the Houston Early Music Festival with La Donna Musicale, Bach’sMagnificat with American Bach Soloists, Handel’s Messiah with Austin’s Ensemble VIII, David Lang’s Little Match Girl Passion with Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Haydn’s Creation (Angel) with Marsh Chapel Collegium, and the New York debut of Kile Smith’s Vespers with Piffaro and The Crossing Choir. She made her New York City solo debut in 2006 at Merkin Hall in the world premiere performance of Benjamin C.S. Boyle’s Cantata: To One in Paradise, and has travelled to the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, where she performed in choral concerts and operas, most notably working with Gian Carlo Menotti in Amahl and the Night Visitors. Engagements this season include concerts with Conspirare at the International Polyfollia Choral Music Festival in Saint-Lô, France, Haydn’s Theresienmesse with Cambridge Concentus, works by Bach and Monteverdi with Seraphic Fire (Miami), soprano soloist with the Boston Cecilia, and Handel’s Messiah with Ensemble VIII; she also joins Exsultemus for their 10th Anniversary season. She can be heard on Blue Heron’s recording of Nicholas Ludford’s Missa Regnum mundi and on Kile Smith’s Vespers with Piffaro and The Crossing Choir.