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Conversations With Performers

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Avi Avital

Avi Avital is a mandolin player and a composer with a broad repertory of music for his instrument from many different genres. Suzanne spoke with him about the mandolin and his 2015 recording of Vivaldi’s Mandolin Concertos with the Venice Baroque Orchestra. Listen to the interview

Richard Savino

Richard Savino

The visual arts and artists of the 17th century are much better known than the music and composers of that same time period, and guitarist Richard Savino wanted to address that oversight. He embarked on a comprehensive project to integrate the paintings of artists such as Artemisia Gentileschi and her contemporaries with music by composers such as Andrea Falconieri, Dario Castello, Giovanni Kapsberger and others. The result is the 2015 recording What Artemesia Heard featuring Richard Savino and his group El Mundo, and he spoke with Sunday Baroque host Suzanne Bona about it. Listen to the interview


Sharon Isbin

Guitarist Sharon Isbin is a passionate and articulate advocate for her instrument and for music in general. As an international performer, recording artist, teacher and mentor she is shaping the future of the popular instrument. Suzanne spoke with Sharon Isbin about her impressive career. Listen to the interview


Mark Cudek

The Indianapolis Early Music Festival is an annual event that brings together top early music specialists from across the country to celebrate the genre. Mark Cudek is a leader in the field – a talented instrumentalist and a passionate teacher and mentor to young musicians seeking training in the field. He is also Artistic Director of the Indianapolis Early Music Festival, and Suzanne had the opportunity to chat with him about the 2014 festival, future plans and his career in general. Listen to the interview


Yale Baroque Opera Project

The Yale Baroque Opera Project (YBOP) was founded in 2006 to introduce Yale students to historical and aesthetic studies related to Italian opera from the 17th and early 18th centuries. Grant Herreid is Artistic/Music Director YBOP, and he spoke with Suzanne about the May 2014 production of Claudio Monteverdi's opera The Coronation of Poppea. Listen to the interview


Masaaki Suzuki

Masaaki Suzuki is a leading expert on baroque music and Johann Sebastian Bach, and he directs performances all over the world of baroque masterpieces by Bach and his contemporaries. In April 2014 he led top students from Yale and Juilliard in NYC and New Haven concerts of Bach's St. John Passion. Professor Suzuki made time to stop by the Sunday Baroque studio between those performances to talk about his approach to Bach and music in general. Listen to the interview


John Hockenberry

John Hockenberry is well known for his impressive 30-plus year career in journalism, but he is also passionate about music, especially baroque music. Suzanne spoke with him about his personal connection to music and how his background in the arts, among other things, helps make him a better journalist. Listen to the interview


Michelle Makarski

Violinist Michelle Makarski has pursued a varied career as a performer; she's comfortable improvising and playing jazz, she is a champion of contemporary music, including works written especially for her, and she has a special place in her heart for JS Bach. Makarski and her friend Keith Jarrett collaborated on an appealing cd of Bach's Six Sonatas for violin and keyboard on the ECM recording label. She spoke with Suzanne Bona from ECM's offices in New York City. (Thanks to engineers Katherine Ariano and Rick Andress for their assistance.) Listen to the interview


Ellen Rosand

Yale Baroque Opera Project (YBOP) will present a production of Francesco Cavalli's mythological opera La Calisto on May 4 and 5, 2013 at University Theatre in New Haven. YBOP is part of a larger project to promote the study and performance of Baroque opera, both at Yale and beyond. Suzanne Bona spoke with Yale Professor and baroque opera expert, Ellen Rosand, who is Executive Director of the project. Listen to the interview


Matthias Maute

German-born musician Matthias Maute has achieved an international reputationas conductor, recorder and flute player and as a composer. He is artisticdirector of Ensemble Caprice in Canada, and performs all over the world atfestivals and with other ensembles. His many recordings are regularly featured on Sunday Baroque, and Suzanne had the chance to welcome him in the studio to discuss his creative approach to being a musician. Listen to the interview


Gut, Wind and Wire

Ronn McFarlane and Mark Cudek are among the most sought-after performers specializing in baroque and early music. The founding members of the Baltimore Consort spoke with Suzanne about their trio with Mindy Rosenfeld -- Gut, Wind and Wire. They explained the inside scoop on the group’s name, talked about some of the unusual instruments they play, and revealed of their surprising and diverse musical tastes. Listen to the interview


Yale Baroque Opera Project

Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) is often called the first great opera composer, and the opera Il ritorno d'Ulisse (The Return of Ulysses) was one of Monteverdi's late masterpieces. Unfortunately it’s not often performed, so The Yale Baroque Opera Project's production in early May 2012 marks its New Haven premiere. The semester-long preparations have brought together talented undergraduate and graduate students, and faculty from Yale's Music and Theatre departments as part of a larger project to promote the study and performance of Baroque opera. Three Yale professors who are working on YBOP, Ellen Rosand, Toni Dorfman and Grant Herreid, had a lively and informative discussion with Suzanne about this thrilling production and their ongoing baroque opera collaboration. Listen to the interview


Lara St. John and Marie-Pierre Langlamet

Canadian violinist Lara St. John and French harpist Marie-Pierre Langlamet are old friends who enjoy making music together for fun, and decided to share their enthusiasm and talent on an album featuring Sonatas by Johann Sebastian Bach. Since Bach didn't compose any violin and harp music, their collaboration features intriguing arrangements. Hear their conversation with Suzanne about adapting these lovely works, what is special to them about Bach's music, and which Sonata is their favorite. Listen to the interview


Rick Steves

Rick Steves is a tried and true expert on European travel, so Suzanne invited him to share his advice about hearing great, live music while you're on vacation in Europe. He talked about some of his favorite musical destinations, and gave suggestions for finding the kinds of venues and concerts to suit your tastes. (Make sure you listen for his insider's tip about getting the best seat in the house at Saint-Sulpice in Paris!) Listen to the interview

Richard Savino

Richard Savino

Guitarist Richard Savino and his group, El Mundo, were nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Small Ensemble Performance for their 2011 recording The Kingdoms of Castille. Sunday Baroque contributor Amanda Pond interviewed him about the interesting variety of music on the recording, special considerations for performing it, and what it’s like to receive a Grammy nomination. Amanda Pond grew up in England, where she began studying the recorder at the age of seven. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Boston Early Music Festival since 2003 and has been its Vice President since 2007. Listen to the interview


Dennis Keene

With its 6,183 pipes, 95 stops, 111 ranks, 2 consoles and 7 keyboards, installation of the new French organ at New York City's Church of the Ascension was completed in early 2011. Master builder Pascal Quoirin was chosen to design the instrument by the Church's Music Director, distinguished organist and conductor Dennis Keene. Suzanne Bona visited Dr. Keene to discuss the magnificent new instrument, what makes it so special and his plans to introduce it to the musical community. Listen to the interview


Simone Dinnerstein

Pianist Simone Dinnerstein made a big splash in 2007 with her recording of Johann Sebastian Bach's Goldberg Variations. Jan. 2011 brings her first recording for the Sony label, BACH: A Strange Beauty. The all-Bach recording includes the English Suite #3, transcriptions of three Chorale Preludes, and Keyboard Concertos #1 and #5. Once again, she demonstrates her artistry and her sensitivity to Bach's musical line and harmonic genius. Dinnerstein invited Suzanne Bona for a conversation in her parents' Brooklyn home, where she talked about her passion for Bach's music, her newest recording and her upcoming projects. Listen to the interview


Stile Antico

England has a rich choral tradition that dates back several centuries, and a group of young British singers formed Stile Antico to continue that tradition today. They focus on 16th century sacred music by composers such as John Sheppard, William Byrd, Giovanni Palestrina and Thomas Tallis, and their recordings and concerts have met with enthusiastic praise from audiences and critics all over the world. Two members of Stile Antico sat down with Suzanne Bona to talk about a few highlights of their career so far, including their 2010 debut at the BBC Proms and their tour with rock star Sting. Listen to the interview


Martin Pearlman

2010 marks the 400th anniversary of Claudio Monteverdi's VESPERS OF 1610. The monumental sacred work will be celebrated throughout the year, including a performance at New York City's Cathedral of St. John the Divine on March 6 by Boston Baroque. Their 1998 recording received a Grammy nomination for Best Performance of a Choral Work. The period instrument group's founder and director, Martin Pearlman, discusses Monteverdi's masterpiece. Listen to the interview


Nicholas McGegan

Nicholas McGegan is a man of many talents and interests: an art aficionado, avid gardener and epicure, to name just a few. He's also one of the most sought-after experts in baroque and early music -- a conductor, harpsichordist and scholar. His zest for life is evident in everything he does, especially when he's leading an ensemble in music he knows and loves as much as George Frideric Handel's oratorio Messiah. Nicholas McGegan guest conducted the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and May Festival Chorus in Handel's beloved masterpiece, and joined Sunday Baroque host Suzanne Bona in the studios of WGUC Cincinnati to discuss his work and Handel's genius. Listen to the interview


Jeannette Sorrell

Harpsichordist and conductor Jeannette Sorrell founded the successful period instrument ensemble Apollo's Fire – The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra in 1992 after an interview for a job as assistant to a famous conductor went terribly wrong. Sorrell spoke with Sunday Baroque host Suzanne Bona about how her passion for music drove her to finagle free piano lessons as a child, what it's like to work with some of the world's leading early music instrumentalists, and why she thinks baroque and early music resonate with so many people. Listen to the interview



Karen Marie Marmer and Jörg-Michael Schwarz are co-directors of Rebel, a baroque ensemble they formed in 1991. The group is named after Jean-Fery Rebel, a French baroque era musician who was a daring musical innovator. They talked with Suzanne about how they fell love with baroque music, and each other, and how their provocative performance practices have given the group's name a double meaning. Listen to the interview


Emmanuel Pahud

Swiss-French flutist Emmanuel Pahud was just 22 years old when he landed the job as principal flutist with the Berlin Philharmonic in 1993. A few years later, he also launched a solo performing career and has recorded flute music spanning several centuries, from contemporary works he has commissioned to baroque concertos and sonatas, and a little jazz music, too. Emmanuel Pahud sat down to chat with Suzanne about his remarkable career making music, including how it's possible to juggle international solo engagements while playing principal chair in a major orchestra. Listen to the interview


Nicholas McGegan

When renowned conductor Nicholas McGegan spoke with Suzanne Bona, he shared his thoughts about how and why artificial barriers went up between baroque & early music and other kinds of music, and he offered suggestions for making the concert-going experience more enjoyable and popular. He also shared his fondness for Oregon pinot noirs and advice on growing roses when one is always traveling, and he admitted to a naughty musical passion. Listen to the interview


Jose Serebrier

José Serebrier began his life long love affair with music as a child in Uruguay. He began composing as a teenager, and was just 17 when his first Symphony was premiered by the legendary Leopold Stokowski in New York. Soon after, Serebrier became Stokowski's assistant, and later learned from mentors and teachers including conductors George Szell and Antal Dorati, and composer Aaron Copland. José Serebrier has conducted many of the world's great orchestras, and recently released a recording of Stokowski's Orchestral Transcriptions with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (Naxos 8.572050). Suzanne spoke with him about his music, his new CD, and why he is optimistic about the future of classical music. Listen to the interview


Sebastian Zubieta

There's a wonderful world of baroque music from Latin America. Musicians such as Ignacio de Jerusalem and Manuel de Zumaya were talented, highly trained musicians in the tradition of Bach, Handel, and others. Unfortunately their music not as well known, but Sebastian Zubieta's job is to change that. He's a composer/conductor and Director of Music for the Americas Society, a non-profit organization with a mission that includes increasing public awareness and appreciation of the diverse cultural heritage of the Americas. Sebastian Zubieta recently spoke with Suzanne about some outstanding Latin American music and musicians, past and present, and how he gets the word out about them. Listen to the interview


Myron Rosenblum

The first use of the term "viol d'amore" is believed to be in John Evelyn's diary of 1679. He described it by saying of it, "I never heard a sweeter Instrument or more surprising..." Frequently heard in baroque music, viola d'amore resembles a violin or viola, but it has extra resonating strings - sympathetic strings - which give it a rich, sonorous and unusual tone. It's also very hard to play, which explains why the specialized instrument isn't more commonly heard. Suzanne Bona spoke with one of the world's viola d'amore experts, Myron Rosenblum, about the instrument, its history, and why he's such a passionate and enthusiastic advocate. Listen to the interview


Simone Dinnerstein

American pianist Simone Dinnerstein has fast been gaining international attention as a commanding and charismatic artist, and as one of the most compelling women pianists performing today. Suzanne talked with her about her new CD, her career and how motherhood has influenced her art. Listen to the interview


Frederic Chiu

Frederic Chiu's intriguing piano-playing and teaching springs from a diverse set of experiences and interests - his Asian/American/European background, his musical training, and an early and ongoing exploration of artificial intelligence and human psychology, especially the body-mind-heart connection. He spoke with Suzanne about his career and his non-traditional techniques. Listen to the interview


John Holloway

John Holloway plays “baroque violin” with gut strings and a special bow. He also prefers to use autograph manuscripts of the music he plays so he can learn from the composer’s notations and handwriting, and he researches the historic context so they will inform and influence his playing. He’s a fan and champion of music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Heinrich Biber, and other 17th and 18th century composers, and has made recordings of their music that are both enjoyable and illuminating. John Holloway chatted with Suzanne about his meticulous and scholarly approach. Listen to the interview


Sting and Edin Karamazov

Rock musician Sting has a fervent love and curiosity for a wide variety of musical genres. He practices his craft playing Johann Sebastian Bach's Cello Suites and he learned to play the lute when a friend gave him one as a gift. Sting was so haunted by the life and music of 16th century "alienated singer-songwriter" John Dowland that he finally heeded his friends' urging and recorded some of Dowland's lute songs. Suzanne spoke with Sting and lutenist Edin Karamazov about their collaboration on SONGS FROM THE LABYRINTH, which features Dowland's lute solos, songs, and readings from one of the composer's letters. Listen to the interview


Tim Barringer and Eleanor Hughes

Tim Barringer, Paul Mellon Professor of the History of Art at Yale University, and Eleanor Hughes, a Post-doctoral Research Associate at the Yale Center for British Art, collaborated on a comprehensive interdisciplinary project called ART & MUSIC IN BRITAIN: FOUR ENCOUNTERS 1730 TO 1900. The exhibition combines music, scores, instruments and paintings from various Yale collections, and is on view until Dec. 31 at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, CT. They talked with Suzanne about this unique project, and especially about the first of the four “encounters,” which deals with George Frideric Handel’s London from the 1730s to the 1750s. Listen to the interview


Robert Wiemken

Robert Wiemken is co-director of Piffaro Renaissance Band in Philadelphia. He sat down with Suzanne to talk about his group, including explaining where the name "Piffaro" comes from. He also talked about the people and instruments in the ensemble, what it takes to find 500-year-old music to play, and gave a surprising revelation that he's not strictly a "renaissance man" in his personal musical tastes. Listen to the interview


Matthias Maute

Recorder virtuoso Matthias Maute — who is featured prominently on many recordings you hear regularly on Sunday Baroque — is also a composer, arranger, conductor and music professor. He spoke with host Suzanne Bona about having to carry around a few dozen different types of recorders for every performance, how he tried (unsuccessfully) to quit playing recorder as a boy, and why being married to a fellow musician is just like running any other family business. Listen to the interview


Rolf Lislevand

Lutenist and music professor Rolf Lislevand talks with Suzanne about how he first became interested in music (including his early days playing electric guitar!) and his brilliant 2006 recording NUOVE MUSICHE, a Baroque music CD with thrilling improvisations that suggest jazz, Celtic and Latin music. Listen to the interview

Leon Fleisher

Leon Fleisher

After decades of dealing with a condition that impaired his ability to play piano with his right hand, pianist Leon Fleisher resumed his two-hand performing with a recording called TWO HANDS. Mr. Fleisher spoke with Suzanne about his life in music, his medical condition (dystonia), and why suffering from it may have actually been a blessing in disguise. Listen to the interview